keyboard key that states 'disaster plan'A disaster recovery plan is a critical but hopefully little used part of your business. If you are just starting to consider creating your plan, we have some advice for getting started. If you have some parts of a plan in place, now is a great time to test that it’s working. Here are a few important things to consider when testing your plan.

Follow your documentation
If you have a written disaster recovery plan, try to follow along. A checklist is a great starting point to cover the basics, but be sure to have detailed instructions for some of the more complex tasks. Make sure there are a handful of people in your office who understand all the instructions and can run through the checklist if a disaster were to happen.

Treat it like a real disaster

It’s important that you run your test as if you were experiencing a disaster. Take some time off hours or notify your customers that you’re temporarily shutting down in order to truly mimic the conditions of a disaster. The more “normal” it seems in the office the less effective the test will be. The time to feel the stress and pain of a disaster is now during the test. If the real thing ever happens you want your employees to feel comfortable about what their roles will be.

Consider all scenarios

Disasters can strike in many forms, such as power outages, internet outages, phone outages, etc. Be sure to test as many potential disaster areas as possible so that you and your employees have a sense of what is required of them in each case. For instance, if you regularly use desktop computers and your disaster plan requires employees to use laptops, make sure that they know that and are comfortable using them before you start.

Designate employees and resources for critical tasks

During a disaster you don’t want everyone to be standing around asking what to do. During the test designate certain people to do certain jobs, such as checking a shared email account or answering forwarded phone calls. If there aren’t enough tasks for everyone, still be sure to assign something to each employee, that way when a real disaster happens everyone will be prepared to start working on the plan.

Document again

Chances are good that you learned a lot during the implementation and that your original documentation needs to be updated. Make the updates right away while the experience is fresh in your mind. Take a look at your documentation every few months and make updates if needed, for instance if you’ve changed any software and need to update screenshots.

A disaster recovery plan is easy to forget because it’s not something you use every day. But having one in place and making sure to test it regularly is critical to your business.

For more information on disaster recovery testing, please reach out to Genesis HR Solutions at or 800-367-8367.

Genesis HR Solutions is the premier PEO provider for Massachusetts based businesses.