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How to Get Started with Business Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted by The Brain on Dec 1, 2020 4:29:12 PM

Most models of business recovery assume that the crisis itself has ended. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has proven far more durable than most major disasters. So, for businesses trying to get back to full, pre-crisis operations – the goal of recovery – what can be done to mitigate the logistical hurdles of business recovery from the COVID-19 crisis?

MKT-501 - Crisis Newsletter - 2 December 2020-01



You can start by treating recovery as its own crisis and continuity lifecycle stage. Sounds simple enough. But a persistent challenge of post-crisis recovery (generally) is that it’s poorly understood.

What does that mean? Well, according to the data, organisations overwhelmingly plan for crisis. Although they’re less likely to test those crisis plans, planning itself gives companies a leg up when it comes to executing a response.

However, organised crisis efforts seem to end there. Crisis management and business continuity plans (BCPs) might be prolific. But recovery plans are scanty: 73 percent of organisations lack recovery strategies, according to academic studies. It’s almost as if organisations think that preparedness and response measures alone are sufficient to produce a recovery.

The data, here, reveals the folly of this thinking. Recovery efforts eat up substantial staff time and productivity. Why it matters? A failure to plan is a plan to fail. And a staggering 90 percent of companies without a recovery plan fail after a disaster.

Instead, organisations need to get serious about post-COVID-19 recovery planning, if they haven’t yet.

That plan won’t look like the typical disaster recovery plan (DRP) but there will be some thematic continuities. The DRP helps organisations recover all their vital business processes during a disaster within a limited scope of time. Unlike the more holistic BCP, in which it’s often subsumed, the DRP includes all procedures required to handle the emergency situation, providing the most efficient methods (usually leaning heavily on digital technology) to be adopted after the disaster occurs. Here’s how the concepts differ:

Disaster Recovery Plan

Business Continuity Plan

Activities pre-planned to react to disasters

Mitigating risk to assets and business processes that will adversely impact the company, if a disaster happens

Starts with IT, because IT is easiest to recover

Not an IT process; includes all business units

Included in a strong business continuity plan

Includes a series of recovery plans


The appropriate recovery interventions are usually spelled out in the DRP. Each scenario (e.g. pandemic, IT outage, data breach, natural disaster, etc.) deserves its own set of recovery methods, outlined in that specific recovery scenario plan. Besides a checklist of tactics to execute the plan, the classic DRP includes the following:  

  • An inventory of hardware and software and a defined tolerance for their acceptable downtime(s)
  • The roles, responsibilities, and contact details of backup personnel
  • Communication plan and alternative communication platforms should main platforms be down
  • Backup work arrangements, including an operational place to work with the right equipment and means of communications
  • Detailed SLAs for critical third parties to provide service
  • Provisions for handling sensitive data
  • Provisions for regular recovery plan testing

Of course, generic recovery interventions, requirements, processes, and outputs won’t produce business recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. So as to shorten recovery time and minimise losses, a plan customised to the nuances of the situation will be needed. How to get the process started? Download our Guide to Developing an Effective Business Continuity Plan to learn more:

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Topics: Crisis Newsletter

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