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Disaster recovery checklists for a successful DR program

In part two of this series, look at DR checklists on governance, HR materials, legal materials and more to help you organize a successful DR program.

There are countless activities in disaster recovery (DR)/business continuity (BC) programs. Disaster recovery documentation plays a vital role. Disaster recovery plans, exercises and a variety of analytical reports are likely to be documented. But what other important documents should you include in your DR/BC operation? Below are some useful disaster recovery checklists to help keep you organized.


Assuming your organization has a structured governance process in place, there will be various documents that need to be retained by your organization. A list of these follows. Perhaps your organization adheres to a governance, risk, compliance (GRC) framework. Compilation, storage and maintenance of these documents and others are essential for future disaster recovery audits and reviews by other companies considering a business relationship with your firm.

Audit reports
Strategy reports
BC/DR metrics
Audit control statements
Key performance indicators


Human resource materials

Company policy may dictate the need for HR documents, forms and other materials. Be sure to maintain a secure storage arrangement for job descriptions, resumes, job applications and other HR-mandated documents.

Performance appraisals
Job descriptions
Hiring guidelines
Emergency policies


Financial reports

Regardless of the size of your business continuity/disaster recovery activity, you will have various financial issues to address. Disaster recovery budgets will need to be prepared, approved and regularly reviewed. Funding requests and their associated justifications should be retained in case you plan to apply for additional funding in the future.

Funding requests
Funding justifications


Legal materials

Depending on how rigorous your BC/DR activity is, you may need to contract out for various products and services. Each of these will probably have associated contractual documents. As with other critical documentation, these should be stored securely, with backup copies in an alternate location.

Hot/cold recovery site contracts
Vital records storage contracts
Backup data storage contracts
Alternate site contracts
Equipment/software contracts
Equipment/software maintenance contracts
Service-level agreements (SLAs)
Consulting contracts


Education, training and awareness

No business continuity/disaster recovery initiative will be successful without comprehensive and ongoing training and education. This applies to both emergency teams and employees. In addition to the obvious slide presentations and handouts, information about BC/DR activities can be added to employee handbooks. Wallet-sized laminated cards can be provided to all employees with critical emergency information. In addition, all documentation used to promote awareness of the BC/DR effort should be documented and securely stored.

Training materials
Job aids
Slide shows
Employee handbooks
Emergency wallet cards for staff
Promotional materials


Reports and general information

The following list reminds us how many different kinds of reports may be needed in a BC/DR function. Ensure that the most critical reports are duplicated and the backup copies stored in a secure location.

Minutes of meetings
Case studies
Consultant reports
Requests for proposals
Supplier documentation
News articles
Press releases
Internet-based content


Technical information

Assuming your organization uses a variety of information systems, applications and devices, user guides are essential. Vendors that offer disaster recovery services for their products may have additional documentation on those activities.

Hardware/software user guides
Hardware/software operation manuals
Hardware/software recovery manuals


Business information

The following list suggests additional documents that will be a useful part of your business continuity/disaster recovery initiatives. These items may also be included with other documents, such as checklists and templates with BC/DR plans.

Business plans


Other documentation

Finally, additional documents, such as glossaries, may be useful, especially if you are preparing plans, policies, procedures or other operational documents. It's always a good idea to have the most current and accepted definitions for key activities.



As you can see, it's not enough to simply have just disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Much more disaster recovery documentation is necessary in a properly equipped BC/DR activity, especially if you have an organized and funded BC/DR department.

About this author: Paul F. Kirvan, FBCI, CBCP, CISSP, has more than 20 years experience in business continuity management as a consultant, author and educator. He is also secretary of the Business Continuity Institute USA Chapter.

For more disaster recovery checklists relating to governance and human resources in your DR program, go to part one in our series on disaster recovery checklists and documentation.


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