The time required to return to normal business operations after a disaster depends on a number of factors. Some are fixed (for example, the time needed to restore data from storage media), others are outside of your control (for example, hardware components might need to be repaired or replaced).

You should determine the recovery time that you business can afford. This is the time your business can function without access to the key systems and applications.

It is very important to set user expectations realistically during the planning stage so that everyone understands and agrees on the estimated time it will take to recover a system after a disaster occurs.

Below are some actions you can take to reduce the recovery time:

  • Proactively manage, document and backup system configuration and critical corporate files.
  • Prepare and document data recovery procedures. Estimate the time required to execute these procedures. This should include the time required to identify the problem and find the solution; and the time to restore the data from the storage media.
  • Prioritize the data recovery procedures. To perform their duties, users usually require access to the recent data (e.g. last emails, recent documents), so it is wise to restore this data first. Users can then start using recent data, while the rest of the data is recovered.
  • Prepare and keep records of recovery procedures for different situations.
  • Develop a strategy that focuses on the right balance between the cost of backup and the required speed of recovery.