Step 1: Understand the critical business functions that are required to run the business and establish a recovery-time objective for those. Step 2: Understand what critical information those business functions need, whether paper or electronic. Back up and store the data at an alternate facility. Step 3: Identify a place to go to affect recovery -- one that is close by for convenience but also far enough away for geographic separation to make sure that it isn't impacted by the same problem, such as 50 miles to 100 miles away. Step 4: Determine who does what when. Develop the recovery or continuity plan and assign duties. Step 5: Test. Structured walkthroughs or tests are vital to a plan's success. Test the backup computer systems or the backup workplace recovery areas. Go through a mock disaster to make sure that people understand what happens. This process helps flush out flaws in the plan. Based on an interview with John Jackson, vice president of IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services.