This paper discusses an approach for creating a good disaster recovery plan for a business enterprise.
The process of preparing a disaster recovery plan begins by identifying these causes and effects, analyzing their likelihood and severity, and ranking them in terms of their business priority.
When a disaster strikes, the normal operations of the enterprise are suspended and replaced with operations spelled out in the disaster recovery plan.
The disaster recovery plan does not stop at defining the resources or processes that need to be in place to recover from a disaster. The second section of this paper explains the methods and procedures involved in the disaster recovery planning process. The first step in planning recovery from unexpected disasters is to identify the threats or risks that can bring about disasters by doing risk analysis covering threats to business continuity. Human caused: These disasters include acts of terrorism, sabotage, virus attacks, operations mistakes, crimes, and so on. Supplier: These risks are tied to the capacity of suppliers to maintain their level of services in a disaster. Water: There are certain disaster scenarios where water outages must be considered very seriously, for instance the impact of a water cutoff on computer cooling systems. Once the disaster risks have been assessed and the decision has been made to cover the most critical risks, the next step is to determine and list the likely effects of each of the disasters. Simple "one cause multiple effects" diagrams (Figure 3) can be used as tools for specifying the effects of each of the disasters.
The intention of this exercise is to produce a list of entities affected by failure due to disasters, which need to be addressed by the disaster recovery plan. It may be noticed that two or more disasters may affect the same entities, and it can be determined which entities are affected most often.
Once the list of entities that possibly fail due to various types of disasters is prepared, the next step is to determine what is the downtime tolerance limit for each of the entities. The cost of downtime is the main key to calculate the investment needed in a disaster recovery plan. How the disaster affected entities depend upon each other is crucial information for preparing the recovery sequence in the disaster recovery plan. Once the list of affected entities is prepared and each entity's business criticality and failure tendency is assessed, it is time to analyze various recovery methods available for each entity and determine the best suitable recovery method for each.
In the case of data systems, for example, the recovery mechanism usually involves having the critical data systems replicated somewhere else in the network and putting them online with the latest backed up data available.
Considering multiple options and variations of disaster recovery mechanisms available, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the best suitable recovery mechanism for an affected entity in a particular organization. The roles, responsibilities, and reporting hierarchy of different committee members should be clearly defined both during normal operations and in the case of a disaster emergency. Note that not all the members of the Disaster Recovery Committee may actively participate in the actual disaster recovery.
Quick and precise detection of a disaster event and having an appropriate communication plan are the key for reducing the effects of the incoming emergency; in some cases it may give enough time to allow system personnel to implement actions gracefully, thus reducing the impact of the disaster. Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Template (WORD) - comes with the latest electronic forms and is fully compliant with all mandated US, EU, and ISO requirements. Included with the template are Electronic Forms which have been designed to lower the cost of maintenance of the plan. This policy defines acceptable methods for disaster recovery planning, preparedness, management and mitigation of IT systems and services at Weill Cornell Medical College. The ITS Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) addresses the protection and recovery of WCMC IT services so that critical operations and services are recovered in a timeframe that ensures the survivability of WCMC and is commensurate with customer obligations, business necessities, industry practices, and regulatory requirements. Plans must be developed, tested, and maintained to support the 2.a objectives of the Program, and those plans should include relevant IT infrastructure, computer systems, network elements, and applications.
The Disaster Recovery Manager is responsible for conducting Business Impact Analyses (BIA) to identify the critical business processes, determine standard recovery timeframes, and establish the criticality ratings for each; at least every other years. A Risk Assessment must be conducted at least every other year to determine threats to disaster recovery and their likelihood of impacting the IT infrastructure.
The IT Disaster Recovery Manager should be part of the ITS representation within the institution's Emergency Management Team .


Each IT division must develop and maintain a documented emergency plan including notification procedures. IT DR plans must provide information on Business Impact Analysis, Data Backup, Recovery, Business Resumption, Administration, Organization Responsibilities, Emergency Response & Operations, Training and Awareness and Testing.
ITS must maintain a single, comprehensive electronic inventory of all servers, network equipment, relevant configuration, and model information, and the applications they support. Upon completion or update, DR plans must be sent to the Disaster Recovery Manager and ITS Change Manager for review. The ITS Disaster Recovery Manager is required to provide DR training and awareness activities at least twice per year. IT managers are responsible for briefing staff on their roles and responsibilities related to DR planning, including developing, updating, and testing plans. Traditional disaster recovery is a complex endeavour, involving expensive capacity planning and cutover (switch-over) systems that meet the demands of business.
During an outage, IT Managers may incur special recovery and restoration costs that are unbudgeted. With our cloud based disaster recovery services, the DR site is up and running immediately, whereas the physical DR site may take much longer time (even a few hours) to take over from the main site in the event of a disaster.
The best strategy is to have some kind of disaster recovery plan in place, to return to normal after the disaster has struck.
Though both concepts are related to business continuity, high availability is about providing undisrupted continuity of operations whereas disaster recovery involves some amount of downtime, typically measured in days. The ultimate results are a formal assessment of risk, a disaster recovery plan that includes all available recovery mechanisms, and a formalized Disaster Recovery Committee that has responsibility for rehearsing, carrying out, and improving the disaster recovery plan.
Figure 1 depicts the cycle of stages that lead through a disaster back to a state of normalcy. Only when these are assessed and the affected systems are identified can a recovery process begin.
The plan should also define how to restore operations to a normal state once the disaster's effects are mitigated.
An effective disaster recovery plan plays its role in all stages of the operations as depicted above, and it is continuously improved by disaster recovery mock drills and feedback capture processes.
The effects of a disaster that strikes the entire enterprise are different from the effects of a disaster affecting a specific area, office, or utility within the company.
A key factor in evaluating risks associated with telephone systems is to study the telephone architecture and determine if any additional infrastructure is required to mitigate the risk of losing the entire telecommunication service during a disaster. The likelihood that something happens should be considered in a long plan period, such as 5 years. A higher value would mean longer restoration time hence the priority of having a Disaster Recovery mechanism for this risk is higher. In Figure 3, the entities that fail due to the earthquake disaster are office facility, power system, operations staff, data systems, and telephone system.
This information becomes crucial for preparing the recovery sequence in the disaster recovery plan.
This committee should have representation from all the different company agencies with a role in the disaster recovery process, typically management, finance, IT (multiple technology leads), electrical department, security department, human resources, vendor management, and so on. During a disaster, this committee ensures that there is proper coordination between different agencies and that the recovery processes are executed successfully and in proper sequence.
Execution Phase: In this phase, the actual procedures to recover each of the disaster affected entities are executed.
A hurricane affecting a specific geographic area, or a virus spread expected on a certain date are examples of disasters with advance notice.
At the end of this phase, recovery staff will be ready to execute contingency actions to restore system functions on a temporary basis. The disaster recovery standards in this policy provide a systematic approach for safeguarding the vital technology and data managed by the Information Technologies and Services Department. The Disaster Recovery Manager is responsible for conducting Capability Analyses (CA) to determine ITS's capacity to recover critical IT services that support defined critical business processes and recovery objectives; at least every other years. IT Managers are responsible for tracking and reporting on planned and unplanned outage spending related to the recovery and restoration effort.


Technological solutions for data availability, data protection, and application recovery must be considered by data gathered by the BIA and CA. All Backup data must be labeled and logged, and are available for use during an emergency within stated recovery time objectives. Plans must identify risk exposure and either accept the risk or propose mitigation solution(s). Disaster Recovery traditionally relates to preserving the technology and information critical to an organization by setting up a remote Disaster Recovery location that takes regular backups, This alternate location can then ensure your business's continuity and support business function when calamity strikes. Also, since our DR site is up and running within minutes of the main site being hit by a disaster, chances of data loss are significantly reduced. For an enterprise, a disaster means abrupt disruption of all or part of its business operations, which may directly result in revenue loss. Effects of disasters range from small interruptions to total business shutdown for days or months, even fatal damage to the business. The disaster recovery system cannot replace the normal working system forever, but only supports it for a short period of time. Finally, ongoing procedures for testing and improving the effectiveness of the disaster recovery system are part of a good disaster recovery plan. And the fourth section explains what information the disaster recovery plan should contain and how to maintain the disaster recovery plan. To mitigate the risk of disruption of business operations, a recovery solution should involve disaster recovery facilities in a location away from the affected area.
Recovery from this type of failure may be lengthy and expensive due to the need to replace or update software and equipment and retrain personnel. The entities with less downtime tolerance limit should be assigned higher priorities for recovery. Depending on the data system, there may be options of autorecovery or manual recovery, and the cost and recovery time factors of each mechanism vary. It should have trusted information sources in the different agencies to forestall false alarms or overreactions to hoaxes. Procedures should contain the process to alert recovery personnel during business and nonbusiness hours.
The Disaster Recovery Manager is responsible for maintaining the Recovery Tier Chart , which defines the Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) of all ITS-managed systems. Backup strategies must comply with predefined businesses continuity requirements, including defined recovery time and point objectives. Once your original site has been restored after the disaster, you can simply stop paying for the cloud servers. This process turns out to be not only expensive, but also time consuming and recovery time going upto days.
To minimize disaster losses, it is very important to have a good disaster recovery plan for every business subsystem and operation within an enterprise. At the earliest possible time, the disaster recovery process must be decommissioned and the business should return to normalcy.
Nowadays most of the meteorological threats can be forecasted, hence the chances to mitigate effects of some natural disasters are considerable. After the disaster detection, a notification should be sent to the damage assessment team, so that they can assess the real damage occurred and implement subsequent actions. ITS is required to create disaster recovery plans for the IT portion - including services, systems, and assets - of critical business processes.
Approved recovery strategies must be tested to ensure they meet required recovery time and recovery point objectives. Recovery strategies must be implemented within a previously agreed upon period of time, generally not more than 180 days after management approval.



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