Disaster Recovery Planning | RouteOne Blog

Disaster Recovery Planning


There may not be much your dealership can do to avoid disasters altogether, but there are steps that can be taken to minimize damage should an event occur. Take a moment to think about your workplace, do you know what disasters might befall you? If disaster struck do you know what to do? How to contact important resources? Or what systems are important to keep doing business? Disaster recovery planning involves putting together a plan for responding to a disaster so that you can get your dealership back up and running as quickly as possible, while minimizing disruption.  Here are some basic steps for developing a disaster recovery plan for your dealership’s systems.

Determine the Potential Impact

It is important to first understand how a disaster could impact the operations of your dealership. The following are some exercises that can help conceptualize what those events might be, and how they might affect you. It may be helpful to create a chart or list as you progress. This will come in handy during the documentation phase later on.

  • Identify what disasters could occur in your area, such as:
    • Fire
    • Floods
    • Tornado or hurricane
    • Earthquake
    • Power outage or surges
    • Proximity to industrial or manufacturing facilities
    • Supply chain disruption
    • Pandemic
  • Think about the assets or systems you have in place.
    • Do you know what you have?
    • Where they are?
    • Which ones are critical for business?
  • Classify these events that could cause impact to your systems and how each scenario might affect your business. Which events would be:
    • Catastrophic?
    • Major?
    • Minor?
  • How long could each system be unavailable before it starts affecting your dealership?
  • How much information could you lose, or later recreate, without seriously disrupting operations?

Understand the Risk

At this point you should have an understanding of the assets and systems you have, what events could occur, and a knowledge of how resilient you might be to downtime or loss. Now what? Now we can perform an assessment of the risks that have been uncovered in the previous exercise.       

  • Conduct a risk assessment on each area of the business to determine what steps must be taken to restore the business from a catastrophic event.
  • Utilize the steps identified for a catastrophic event to appropriately define the process for major and minor events. 

Develop a Recovery Plan

Once a full risk assessment is performed the development of a Business Continuity Plan can begin.

  • Define the scope, objectives and assumptions;
  • Define roles and responsibilities;
  • Address interaction with external contractors and vendors.

Document the Recovery Plan

The Recovery Plan document should outline the priorities for recovering critical functions, recovery procedures, and supporting information.

  • Avoid technical jargon or uncommon terminology, be clear and concise;
  • Include information that may not be readily available in a disaster, like phone and email lists for customers, employees, suppliers, or emergency responders;
  • Keep copies of the plan at readily available secure offsite locations, for example with key employees.
  • Identify offsite meeting locations for use during a catastrophic event;
  • Maintain an active inventory of all equipment and maintain copies in a secure location offsite;
  • Create prioritized task lists to aide in the recovery effort.

Test the Recovery Plan

Once documented, it is important to test the plan no less than annually. This will ensure that the information contained within is accurate and up to date.  Use different disaster scenarios, so that all parts of the plan get tested. A common method is to perform a “table top” exercise, typically consisting of a moderator and members of a group or team seated together at a table. The moderator will propose a scenario tailored to the responsibilities and potential disasters that they might face. The outcome being that the team will walk the moderator through what they would do and how systems would be recovered and the plan can be updated accordingly.


Developing a disaster recovery plan can be a substantial continuous effort, but it does not have to be intimidating.  Start simple. Document everything as you go. Test the plan, and revise as needed. Hopefully you will never find yourself faced with a disaster, but if you do, the disaster recovery plan you develop today may just make all the difference tomorrow.

From this, we hope that you better understand how big of an impact a disaster can have on your dealership. You cannot be too cautious when it comes to protecting your dealership. Take the extra step and better protect your dealership with the complimentary compliance and security tools RouteOne has available for your dealership. To learn more about these compliance tools, click here, or contact your RouteOne Business Development Manager.