A tutorial on disaster recovery and business continuity planning strategies for SMBs

In recent years, even smaller organizations can no longer to afford to be without a DR plan. Learn DR and business continuity planning strategies for SMBs in this tutorial.

SMBs once viewed disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning as an expensive luxury, but all of that is changing. In recent years, even smaller organizations can no longer to afford to be without a disaster recovery plan. But SMBs often have less technical expertise and tighter budgets than larger enterprise shops, and this makes their disaster recovery needs unique.

To help you address these problems, we've collected our best tips on disaster recovery and business continuity for SMBs. Learn about how to put a disaster recovery plan together, conduct a risk assessment, the pros and cons of outsourcing DR, and more in this tutorial.

DISASTER RECOVERY STRATEGIES FOR SMBs: Table of contents

What you need in a disaster recovery plan
How to have a successful DR test
How to establish a recovery time objective
Conducting a risk assessment for SMBs
Outsourcing disaster recovery services
More disaster recovery and business continuity resources


What you need in a disaster recovery plan

Recent reports indicate that as many as half of all SMBs lack a business continuity or disaster recovery plan. Those who do formulate plans often discover they lack critical information or coverage when a disaster strikes. Learn about what you need in a disaster recovery plan.

How to have a successful disaster recovery test

Besides making sure your disaster recovery plan will actually work when needed, regular DR testing offers other benefits, including:

  • An opportunity to maintain and update the plan as the environment changes
  • A great DR training opportunity
  • A raise in the profile of your DR program and a heightened awareness within the company
  • Test results that can be available for auditors to review

In this tip, learn how to have a successful DR test in an SMB environment.

How to establish a recovery time objective for SMBs

What does recovery time objective (RTO) exactly mean? The RTO is the specific amount of time before your business is negatively impacted by the interruption of a system or application supporting one or many critical business processes. It is generally accepted that an outage exceeding the RTO set by a company can be considered a disaster. We find this acronym in just about every discussion, brochure or writeup about disaster recovery. Understand how to establish an RTO in this article.

Conducting a risk assessment for SMBs

Gaining an understanding of the kind of impact an unplanned outage or disaster can have on an IT environment is crucial to selecting which technology must be deployed to reduce or mitigate that impact. This is usually done through a business impact analysis (BIA). Learn the importance of conducting a risk assessment for SMBs and how to determine risk in disaster recovery planning in this tip.

Outsourcing business continuity and disaster recovery

Large companies may have their own business continuity/disaster recovery function, especially if they are regulated (e.g., banks, investment firms, utilities, etc.) and must have BC/DR in place. SMBs are less likely to have a business continuity/disaster recovery function and may therefore be candidates for outsourcing. Learn who should outsource DR services, vendors in the DR/BC space, and how to choose a provider in this article on outsourcing business continuity and disaster recovery.

More disaster recovery and business continuity resources

If you want to learn even more about disaster recovery and business continuity for SMBs, bookmark our special section on disaster recovery for SMBs and check out our sister site SearchDisasterRecovery.com for the latest disaster recovery news, tutorial and advice.

This was first published in June 2009

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