All personnel involved in the disaster recovery plan must be trained in the execution of the disaster recovery plan. According to some estimates, up to 40% of small businesses, which experience a disaster, never reopen their doors.
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. Hopefully, this will cause those who have not thought about the possibility and effect of a natural or man-made disaster to start working on such plans for their court institution.Although this article is intended to provide a few initial thoughts to the concerned chief judicial officer and court administrators about what is needed, all readers are cautioned to understand that the creation of an IT disaster recovery plan is an extremely complex, detailed, and technical exercise. As implied by the name, this phase involves activating the preestablished plan and notifying the disaster recovery team. This plan is designed to restore operability of one or more information systems at an alternate site after an emergency. Although the subject of this discussion is disaster recovery planning, the reader should understand that a DRP is composed of one or more contingency recovery plans for individual systems.Develop a Contingency Planning Policy StatementThe first step requires court officials to create a Contingency Planning Policy Statement.
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. And, of course, the backup contingency strategy must include consideration of an offsite location that is unlikely to be affected by the local disaster.Alternative SiteAdmittedly, a major long-term disruption is a rare event, but facing a major disaster without a preestablished recovery plan would exponentially exacerbate the situation.
Imagine the disastrous results if numerous local institutions made arrangements with the same alternative facility that is unable to accommodate all customers if that catastrophe affects enough of those customers simultaneously.
This is the type of foreseeable problem that contingency planning is intended to mitigate.Hardware and Software Acquisition and ReplacementA disaster in traditional terms means that onsite equipment is probably destroyed or unusable. This process may include accessing equipment that was either stored in remote locations as a part of the disaster planning process or in active use in locations unaffected by the disaster.
There should be sufficient geographic diversity among potential vendors to have a choice of vendors that are unlikely to be impacted by the same disaster, be it storm, earthquake, civil disturbance, or pandemic.
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.
Testing of the systems should occur at regular, predefined intervals to ensure that the plan is not deficient or outdated and to confirm the accuracy of the process needed to recover each system that has suffered from the disaster disruption.


Indeed, the disaster recovery implementation team must test the various systems after recovery to ensure that a DRP has performed as expected. In this regard, end-to-end disaster recovery exercises should be considered to provide a realistic readiness status and bring out any complexities, intricacies, or imperfections in the plans for recovering multiple systems in the case of a widespread catastrophe.6 Thorough preparation and coordination involve a great deal of planning from all the participating teams. 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.



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