What is a disaster recovery plan (DRP)? - Guide by Acronis (2023)

Disasters that affect your IT capabilities happen more often than you think, but only 6% are caused by natural events. The vast majority of disasters that cause significant IT downtime are from human error, hardware and software failure, and cyberattacks. There are even stories circulating that talk to how a newly hired IT technician inadvertently deleted all company data on his first day! During the past three years, 93% of businesses have been hit by a natural or man-made disaster – and many of these organizations could not recover.

Whether your organization is large or small, the only way to prepare for a disaster is to develop and exercise a disaster recovery plan.

What is an IT disaster recovery plan?

An IT disaster recovery (DR) plan is a written document that spells out the policies and step-by-step procedures and responsibilities to recover an organization’s IT systems and data and get IT operations back up and running when a disaster happens. This plan is a sub-component of the organization’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Once developed, the DR plan must be tested (or exercised) to ensure that the IT team can fully recover the organization’s IT systems regardless of the type of disaster.

Disasters arrive unannounced, which is why it is important to get an IT DR plan in place as soon as possible. A fully functioning plan will help you minimize risk exposure, reduce disruption, and ensure economic stability. It will also reduce insurance premiums and potential liability, and ensure your organization complies with regulatory requirements. Most importantly, a well-executed plan can save your organization thousands – even hundreds of thousands – of dollars in the event of a disaster.

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To determine how much a disaster can cost your organization, consider the cost of system downtime – the impact on employee productivity, the loss of billable hours, missed sales from a down e-commerce website, penalties for failure to meet regulatory compliance obligations. Data is a valuable asset: Customer data; financial, human resource, and R&D documents; and emails are all irreplaceable. Each document represents hours of work and the ability to retrieve it is essential. In a worst-case scenario, your disaster recovery plan may save your company.

What is a disaster recovery plan (DRP)? - Guide by Acronis (1)

Types of Disaster Recovery Plans

There are four types of disaster recovery plans.

Virtualized Disaster Recovery Plan. With a virtual DR plan, your IT organization creates a replica of the entire IT infrastructure and stores it on an offsite Virtual Machine (VM). Since VMs are hardware independent, you do not need the same hardware as the primary site, so you can easily backup your systems and data to dissimilar hardware. When a disaster happens, you can failover IT operations to the offsite VM and recover from a disaster in just a few minutes.

Network Disaster Recovery Plan. A network disaster recovery plan helps your IT team respond to an unplanned interruption of network services during a disaster, including voice, data, internet, etc. The plan must include procedures for recovering an organization’s network operations, including local area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs), and wireless networks. An unplanned interruption of network services can range from performance degradation to a complete outage.

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Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan. With this type of plan, your systems and data are backed up to a public cloud, that is located at least 150 miles from the primary site. When a disaster happens, IT can easily failover their operations to the secondary site and failback to the same or new hardware – even if that hardware is dissimilar. Public cloud DR services are available on a pay-as-you-go basis and can be accessed from anywhere.

Data Center Disaster Recovery Plan. This type of plan requires your organization to set up a separate facility that is only used when a disaster happens. There are three types of data center disaster recovery plans: cold, warm, and hot.

  • A cold disaster recovery site is an office or data center located away from the primary site that has power, heat, air conditioning, etc. but no running IT systems. Depending on the length of the disaster, an organization may install the necessary systems after the disaster hits.
  • A warm disaster recovery site offers office space and a technology infrastructure that is used when a disaster hits the primary site. A warm site has power, heat, air conditioning, etc., and network connectivity and redundant hardware/software already up and running. Backups from the primary to the warm site are performed on a daily or weekly basis, which can result in some data loss.
  • A hot disaster recovery site offers office space and a complete replica of the primary site’s IT infrastructure, systems, applications, and up-to-date data.

Disaster Recovery Plan Steps

Every business needs a disaster recovery plan that is as unique as its data requirements. To define the best approach for your business, you must weigh the value of your data, systems, and applications against the risk your organization can afford to assume. When you create a disaster recovery plan, be sure to include the following steps:

  1. Establish a planning group.
  2. Perform a risk assessment and define acceptable Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs).
  3. Prepare an inventory of IT assets.
  4. Identify dependencies and establish priorities.
  5. Develop recovery strategies.
  6. Develop a communication plan.
  7. Develop documentation, verification criteria, procedures, and responsibilities.
  8. Test, test, test the plan.
  9. Implement the plan.
  10. Maintain the IT infrastructure.

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The do’s and don’ts when creating a disaster recovery plan

When a disaster happens, it can cause chaos and create an environment where your DR team members make mistakes. To overcome this challenge, create your list of do’s and don’ts for plan development and to use before, during, and after the crisis.

Here is a quick synopsis of some of the most important “dos and don’ts.”

What not to do

  • Do not discount the importance of an IT disaster recovery plan because you have backupsor have implemented high availability. You need an IT disaster recovery plan no matter what!
  • Do not consider disaster recovery an expense. It is an investment.
  • Do not apply a single data protection strategy to all applications.
  • Do not assume that your network can handle the traffic during an emergency. Identify alternative forms of communication if you cannot use the network.
  • Do not create a disaster recovery plan just for the sake of having one or to simply satisfy executive management and your auditors.

What to do

  • Be sure to get sponsorship for the DR plan from the executive team.
  • Do look for disaster recovery plan examples to use as a template to speed the development and improve the accuracy of your plan.
  • Do include key contact members from various departments in your planning committee. Include decision-makers from a variety of departments as well as financial associates, customer service representatives, and IT personnel.
  • Safeguard data not stored centrally, including data stored on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Also consider the following:
  1. Virtual environments
  2. Application-specific agents
  3. Snapshot storage requirements
  4. Server activation and documentation
  5. Backup and recovery
  • Do create a disaster recovery plan checklist to use as a quick reference when developing the DR plan and during an actual disaster. A checklist helps your team work quickly and perform tasks accurately.
  • Do perform end-user acceptance testing.
  • Be sure to regularly test a broad range of disaster scenarios.
  • Update and test your disaster recovery plan regularly.
  • Choose a disaster recovery location that is not too close to your production site and can be remotely activated in the event of an emergency.
  • Plan frequent meetings to ensure that resources are still available in the event of a disaster.

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Disaster recovery plan templates

If you are a small- to medium-size business (SMB), consider using an IT disaster recovery plan template to help guide you and your team through the plan development process. There are many disaster recovery and business recovery plan templates available on the internet, including templates offered by Solutions Review, Smartsheet, and template.net. You can also find IT disaster recovery templates for small business at SupremusGroup.

If this is the first time your organization is developing a plan, using a DR plan template ensures you do not miss important steps in the process and eliminates the costs associated with engaging a consultant.

Testing your disaster recovery plan

It is critical that you test your disaster recovery plan and ensure you have all the elements in place for a successful test. This includes having a detailed script of test activities, ensuring that all IT components are in place and ready to use, documenting what happens during the test, and preparing a post-DR-test, after-action review.

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Finding the right DR solution

Implementing your disaster recovery plan means you’ll need to find a DR solution that fits your IT requirements and is realistic about managing and testing. Many SMBs now work with managed service providers (MSPs) who deliver and administer their IT needs – outsourcing the expense of that mission-critical expertise. Many of those MSPs offer managed DR services that are built on Acronis’ disaster recovery solution. That’s because, with Acronis, an MSP can add disaster recovery to your backup in a matter of minutes – so not only will you have backups that protect your data, applications, and systems, when disaster strikes you can spin up your IT systems in the cloud to keep your organization running. After the disaster passes, you’ll be able to easily recover to the same, new, or dissimilar hardware.

If your organization prefers to keep IT administration in-house, Acronis Cyber Disaster Recovery puts the power in your hands, ensuring business continuity with fast failover of critical workloads to the cloud. You gain instant data availability of your systems, making your infrastructure more resilient so your team can continue to be productive, regardless of the disaster you all face.


What is DRP in disaster recovery? ›

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a formal document created by an organization that contains detailed instructions on how to respond to unplanned incidents such as natural disasters, power outages, cyber attacks and any other disruptive events.

What is disaster recovery Acronis? ›

Acronis' Advanced Disaster Recovery enables you to restore operations in a few clicks, without any upfront investments, so you can rapidly recover client workloads or services in the event of ransomware, hardware failure, and any other disruption.

What is DRP and its purpose? ›

What is a disaster recovery plan (DRP)? A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident. A DRP is an essential part of a business continuity plan (BCP).

What does DRP mean in cyber security? ›

Disaster recovery plans (DRP) seek to quickly redirect available resources into restoring data and information systems following a disaster.

What should be included in a DRP? ›

10 Things You Must Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) ...
  • Hardware and Software Inventory. ...
  • Identify Personnel Roles. ...
  • List of Disaster Recovery Sites. ...
  • Remote Storage of Physical Documents and Storage Media. ...
  • Disaster Response Procedures.

Can Acronis wipe a hard drive? ›

Power User Insights: Acronis Drive Cleanser

Acronis is known for protecting the data on your hard drive. But did you know they are also experts at wiping your hard drive clean?

Will Acronis Backup a NAS? ›

With the Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup) software, you can easily perform a NAS data backup on a second storage location. Since you can only backup files or folders from a NAS, you should first go to the folder or switch file display.

Who is responsible for DRP? ›

In the event of a disaster natural or otherwise covered Entities and their business associates must create and document their disaster recoveries plan (DRP) to recover information systems.

Why a disaster recovery plan is important? ›

Disaster Recovery Plan Benefits

Minimize recovery time & possible delays. Prevent potential legal liability. Improve security. Avoid potentially damaging last-second decision-making during a disaster.

What is disaster recovery with example? ›

Disaster recovery is an organization's method of regaining access and functionality to its IT infrastructure after events like a natural disaster, cyber attack, or even business disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A variety of disaster recovery (DR) methods can be part of a disaster recovery plan.

What are the 5 phases in a disaster recovery plan? ›

Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery are the five steps of Emergency Management.

What is the first step in DRP? ›

The first stage in any disaster recovery project should be to assess the risks facing the organisation. Managers should link risk assessments to a business impact analysis.

Is Acronis free for cloning? ›

Is there a free version of Acronis? The answer is NO, Acronis now only provides 30-day free trial version for users. You can test most of its features, such as, backup, but you cannot execute the cloning feature until you upgrade to its advanced version.

How long does it take Acronis to clone a drive? ›

Using an external drive and Acronis True Image 2020, you can typically create an initial disk image in less than 90 minutes – while updates to that image can be made later in a matter of minutes.

Does Acronis have virus protection? ›

Acronis Active Protection is an advanced ransomware protection technology. Completely compatible with the most common anti-malware solutions, our technology actively protects all of the data on your systems, including documents, media files, programs, and more – even your Acronis Cyber Backup files.

Do you have to pay for Acronis True Image? ›

Unfortunately, Acronis True Image isn't free, as you must pay for a subscription/license in order to use it without restrictions. However, you can download and use a 30-day trial before deciding if you want to purchase a license or not.

What is Acronis True Image used for? ›

Not only can you create a full mirror image of your disk, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office (formerly Acronis True Image) allows you to back up individual files, folders and partitions, clone a system disk while it is in use (no rebooting needed), and you can archive files to the cloud to open space on your hard drive.

How many times can you use Acronis True Image? ›

Acronis True Image 2021 Standard (perpetual) *

Standard license is unlimited in time. Annual subscription means your license is limited for 1 year. You can renew your subscription and continue using the product.

Can Acronis clone HDD to SSD? ›

Absolutely. With the disk cloning included in Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, you have data migration software for HDD to HDD, SSD to SSD, or between HDDs and SSDs.

What is the best way to backup a NAS? ›

1. Backup to a Directly Attached USB Hard Disk. Some NAS device models provide ports that allow you to connect an external hard drive, via either USB or eSATA protocols. A simple backup method is to connect a hard drive to your NAS device and copy the files you want to protect.

Can Acronis backup to external hard drive? ›

The desktop version of Acronis True Image 2020 is 100% compatible with both Windows and Mac systems and lets you store backup data on just about any storage device or hardware you can imagine. Need to store backups on an external hard drive or USB pen drive? No problem.

Who is eligible for the DRP? ›

To be eligible, you must: be at least 16 years of age. be an Australian resident or the holder of an eligible visa. have been adversely affected by a major disaster.

Are DRP a good idea? ›

A DRP is a great tool to help investors achieve a range of investment outcomes, including: earning compounding returns. accumulating ETF units, typically for no commission, and. smoothing out cost price.

What are the three 3 types of recovery? ›

Name the three types of recovery? Self-recovery, Like-recovery, and Dedicated-recovery.

What is disaster recovery plan and its stages? ›

The four phases of disaster: 1) mitigation; 2) preparedness; 3) response; and 4) recovery. The model helps frame issues related to disaster preparedness as well as economic and business recovery after a disaster.

What are the the three phases of disaster recovery? ›

The three phases of disaster recovery include assessment, restoration, and recovery.

What is difference between DRP and BCP? ›

BCP: Business Continuity Planning deals with keeping business operations running — perhaps in another location or by using different tools and processes — after a disaster has struck. DRP: Disaster Recovery Planning deals with restoring normal business operations after the disaster takes place.

What is IRP and DRP? ›

Your incident response plan is for one incident. It is the immediate action you take to avoid having to go into disaster mode. Your DRP is a plan that goes into place if your operations have been halted or severely disabled.

Who is responsible for DRP? ›

In the event of a disaster natural or otherwise covered Entities and their business associates must create and document their disaster recoveries plan (DRP) to recover information systems.

What is the primary goal of a DRP BCP? ›

One of the primary goals in establishing a good DRP-BCP is therefore to define the exact scope of what is needed to keep the business running. This may be a list of physical servers, databases, software, an e-mail system, etc. Each company is unique in its operations and will therefore have different requirements.

How do you test for DRP? ›

Section 11. Testing the disaster recovery plan
  1. Select the purpose of the test. ...
  2. Describe the objectives of the test. ...
  3. Meet with management and explain the test and objectives. ...
  4. Have management announce the test and the expected completion time.
  5. Collect test results at the end of the test period.
  6. Evaluate results.

What is the purpose of the IRP? ›

What is IRP Used for? The main purpose of the International Registration Plan is to promote interstate commerce. It encourages the fullest possible use of the highway system. It allows registered motor carriers to travel through all IRP member jurisdictions.

Who is eligible for the DRP? ›

To be eligible, you must: be at least 16 years of age. be an Australian resident or the holder of an eligible visa. have been adversely affected by a major disaster.

How do you determine when to use the IR DR and BC plans? ›

How do you determine when to use the IR, DR, and BC plans? The Business Continuity plan is used concurrently with the DR plan and when the damage is major or ongoing, and requires more than simple restoration of information resources. The BC plan establishes critical business functions at an alternate site.

What are the 5 phases in a disaster recovery plan? ›

Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery are the five steps of Emergency Management.

Are DRP a good idea? ›

A DRP is a great tool to help investors achieve a range of investment outcomes, including: earning compounding returns. accumulating ETF units, typically for no commission, and. smoothing out cost price.

What is the main reason for testing a DRP? ›

Evaluating the DR plan helps ensure that an organization can recover data, restore business critical applications and continue operations after an interruption of services. In many organizations, DR testing is neglected because creating a plan for disaster recovery can tie up resources and become expensive.

What is the first step in DRP? ›

The first stage in any disaster recovery project should be to assess the risks facing the organisation. Managers should link risk assessments to a business impact analysis.

How often is a disaster recovery plan DRP tested? ›

Test regularly and thoroughly

Some large organizations do DR testing on a quarterly basis. Yet despite publicity around disaster recovery lessons learned, 23 percent of businesses never test disaster recovery, whereas about 33 percent test once or twice a year.


1. Webinar: 2019 09 24 11 01 All you need to know about Acronis Backup
(CMS Distribution)
2. Everything You Need to Know About Disaster Recovery
3. How IT Disaster Recovery is Done in Real Life - hear it from a customer
(nScaled an Acronis Company)
4. Runbook Configuration | Acronis Cyber Disaster Recovery Cloud | Acronis Cyber Cloud Demo Series
5. TSP Technology Back-up and Disaster Recovery Plan
(TSP Technology Group LLC)
6. Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 - Installation Guide
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