For many larger businesses, emergency and disaster recovery planning is a widely accepted and understood requirement. Continuity plans must be regularly tested, as unforeseen emergency situations can arise at any time. This information will be used to develop recovery strategies.Recovery StrategiesIf a facility is damaged, production machinery breaks down, a supplier fails to deliver or information technology is disrupted, business is impacted and the financial losses can begin to grow.
Disasters can happen anywhere, and with data multiplying by the day, businesses increasingly rely heavily on email, instant messages, social media, and other electronically generated information. Having a system that accommodates both day-to-day group communications as well as emergency messaging and can reach people via voice messages, SMS texts, emails or even social media sites can change the game: from not prepared in emergency situations, to business running as normal even in the event of factors that would normally threaten business continuity. To read the third article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 3: Continuity Planning. The continuity plan must include communication with stakeholders for all such emergencies, even when the risk to the business has been avoided.
Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level following a business disruption and are prioritized by the recovery time objectives (RTO) developed during the business impact analysis.Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. Under the rule of law, people rely very heavily on the courts and on courthouses, all of which are subject to various natural, technological, or humanly caused disasters or catastrophes.
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Periodic review of the agreement is needed to determine if there is a change in the ability of each party to support the other.There are many vendors that support business continuity and information technology recovery strategies. Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. To read the 4th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 4: Disaster prevention and avoidance. Emergency planning and disaster recovery is not simply about preparing for a terrorist attack or earthquake, being prepared for a power outage or unexpected staff absence or incident can equally help in ensuring business continuity. Meetings with individual managers should be held to clarify information and obtain missing information.After all worksheets have been completed and validated, the priorities for restoration of business processes should be identified. This is why the continuity plan needs to be a living document that takes account of feedback from tests and genuine emergencies. To read the second article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 2: Risk Assessment. This plan is designed to restore operability of one or more information systems at an alternate site after an emergency. However, recent technological and information advances mean that no business, large or small, has an excuse not to be prepared. Another aspect of step one is an inventory of IT hardware (including servers, computers, tablets, and smartphones), software and other applications, and digital information (especially case files involving active litigation, judgments, etc.).

Furthermore, with respect to ongoing operations, the planners must establish resource and training requirements for a disaster recovery implementation team, testing and maintenance schedules for existing and replacement equipment, and the frequency of data and other information backups and storage. Additionally, as part of the contingency planning, service agreements should be considered with vendors for lease or purchase of software, replacement equipment, and emergency installations and maintenance.
And, assuming the occasion for activating the team is a disaster that disrupts communications through normal office channels, the disaster recovery team coordinators must have alternative means to contact members of their teams, such as home address, cell phone, personal e-mail, and contact information for a close friend or relative that is likely to have access to the member.Testing and TrainingEach discrete part of the DRP should be maintained in a state of readiness.
Each part of the plan, for each system, must be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that new information is documented and that up-to-date contingency measures are in place. Also note that the plan, or parts of it, may contain sensitive operational and personnel information, in which case the planning process should ensure the protection of that sensitive information.ConclusionAs mentioned at the beginning of this article, the creation of an IT disaster recovery plan is an extremely complex, detailed, and technical exercise.
Schneider, Emergency Management in the Courts: Trends After September 11 and Hurricane Katrina, 28 Nat’l Ctr.

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