Today, disaster recovery plans encompass every type of automated system, including mainframes, midrange computers open systems, desktop devices, and perhaps even PDAs (personal digital assistants). I could go on all afternoon covering the changes just in the years since the first edition of Business Resumption Planning was published. The classical scenarios of fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, sabotage, and other disasters still apply.
At the 100,000-foot level we can split disasters into three categories: natural causes, human error, and intentional causes. I think it's safe to say that most of the people initially tasked with responsibility for a disaster recovery plan by their organizations will not really know where to start.
I have personally seen this type of plan utilize as few as three steps, and as many as six.
After completion of Phase I and Phase II (typically 90 to 120 days), you will finally begin writing the plan. In summary, often the most difficult part of the planning process is simply getting off square one, and starting. The key to solving the problem is not completely technology based; an IT department needs a good disaster recovery plan for when the worst happens.
A disaster recovery plan needs to cover cyber-attacks, hardware failures, user failure, sabotage and natural disasters. While a basic disaster recovery plan looks good on paper, it lacks a business process that covers what an IT department should do if something goes wrong and how that data can be restored to the business. It is not as if this plan is never going to be used; figures from Storage Sweden suggest that data needs to be restored about five to 10 percent of their backed up data on an annual basis. This forward planning will reveal previously unidentified technology problems, and allow for effective counter measure. The DRP plan called for older data to be purged to save space, which meant that back-ups were not actually being completed. Finally, it is recommended that IT departments organize disaster drills similar to those carried out by civil defense organizations in earthquake zones, such as San Francisco. While this sounds gloomy, when people are ready for the worst, it is more likely that when disaster strikes, the IT department can fix the problem quickly.
A disaster recovery plan, or DRP, in a business context is a set of procedures mapped out to enable a business to ensure that its technology infrastructure can continue to operate, after the occurrence of either a natural or a human-induced disaster.
The importance of putting in place at least a generic disaster recovery plan can hardly be over-estimated in today’s industrial world.
The vast majority of businesses are placing increasing emphasis on the importance of their communication and IT functions, either for managing supply chains, or for dealing with customer transactions and customer service.
When considering how to set up a generic disaster recovery plan, it is important to ensure it is applicable to every possible disaster. It is preferable to keep the generic disaster recovery plan concise, focusing on the most essential information required when a disaster strikes.
The issue of data safety is of course one of the most crucial elements of a generic disaster recovery plan. If you are a business owner considering setting up a generic disaster recovery plan, you may find that one of the most difficult elements is knowing when to start. Those with on-premises infrastructure will often invest in additional disaster-recovery tools, such as remote backups, archives, etc.


If you have drawn the short straw and been tasked with producing a plan for your organization, then I am both happy and sad for you.
All of these play a role in the conduct of today's business, and all of them will have to be considered in your plan. There are portions of this task that can be shared between departments, spreading the workload over more people, the objective being to hopefully come up with a superior plan faster.
Indeed, the responsibility to maintain the integrity of the business in the event of a natural disaster, catastrophic human error, major system failure, or even a terrorist attack can be a daunting task at first glance. You will need to define your goals and expectations, set clear objectives, and have a measurement in place to gauge your progress. There are career advantages from the visibility you will receive; after all, for many companies disaster recovery planning is a board-of-directors-level issue. As networking bandwidth improved this basic back-up plan included wiring the data to a specialist software vendor who has data center sites in other regions. While that might not sound like much, it is the equivalent of 18- 36 days of a business year recovering from some disaster or another. The standard says that any plan should define a response to an incident and lay out an action plan. Arranging a drill soon after a disaster recovery plan is developed is vital, particularly if a company has recruited a new data backup provider. Organizations often set up plans for fires, floods and earthquakes, yet omit to include arrangements for server or power outages, or application failures. These include the recovery time objective, which refers to how long the business can continue to operate without the essential IT services. However, for small businesses, disaster recovery may be deemed costly or an unnecessary expense.Disaster recovery is an important aspect of business continuity. These and other events have changed and colored our definition of disasters to the point where they have perhaps permanently altered our very psychology as a nation. The impact of such disasters, however, is intensified today when they take enabling technologies with them and potentially affect millions of people. A fourth category can also be added called acts of God as a catch-all for disasters that defy classification (the legal term for this is force majeure). That fact needs to be reflected in our recovery plans today, because routers, for example, now do more than only data. It's not the platform that's important, it's the application the platform supports, and how long the company can survive without it. In fact, count the number of times you have chanted ad infinitum that "this must be a priority," only to have Ernst & Young come in and play a round of golf with your CEO.
In the meantime, learn everything you can from the consultant, first and foremost because it broadens your skill set and makes you more valuable, even on other non-disaster-recovery-related projects and, second, so that you can become the flag bearer for the disaster recovery project in Phase II - not the expensive consultant.
That's why even though we have laid out a thumbnail sketch of a plan and how to implement it, the remaining several hundred pages will dive right into the details.
That means that up to 304 man-hours can be allocated every year to disaster recovery and the added workload could push back other IT projects and deployments.
This plan should be so detailed and everyone is trained to know what to do at the right time. Most experts believe that a good disaster recovery back-up plan should include some form of automation and testing to eliminate such errors.


It is possible either to develop a generic disaster recovery plan, which can be adapted to any situation, or to develop customized disaster recovery plans, to deal with individual industries, or specific risk and disaster scenarios. It has been estimated that 20% of companies which experience a disaster go out of business within about five years of the event. The effects of these can be just as serious as the effects of natural disasters, and they occur much more frequently. They also include the recovery point objective, which estimates how much data the business can afford to lose—for instance, no data at all, or data from the last back-up, or more.
The plan must provide for making frequent back-ups of all important records and data, in both hard and digital form, and storing them remotely in a secure location. At the same time, we are reintroducing tried and tested disaster recovery planning fundamentals. For the remainder of this chapter, we will provide some basic information about what your planning objectives should be, what it should cost, where to get resources, and where you should start. The consultants will make the compelling point that disaster recovery is important, presenting all the reasons management needs to fund and endorse the project. If you expect to have people, money, and resources to complete a plan, there are some steps to take first. Management never gets off the dime in supporting the plan and the organization "studies" it forever. As most experienced managers have dealt first hand with projects of equal or greater complexity, most are up to the task of producing a plan.
We will cover that fact in this book as well, as it will save you a lot of legwork as you write your plan. You have to phase out what you have and replace it with equipment having fault-tolerant or disaster-resistant characteristics. Naturally, from a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense to build disaster recovery into your organization's budget, and with monthly subscriptions that range from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars for a cloud-based DR solution, it’s more affordable than you may realize.Disaster Recovery Concepts to Implement in Your BusinessOne reason why many small businesses skip over disaster recovery is a lack of understanding of its basic concepts. The concepts of disaster recovery may have a technical nature, but aren’t as complex as one may believe.The recovery time objective, or RTO, is the maximum desired length of time between an unexpected failure or disaster and the resumption of normal operations and service levels. The RTO defines the length of time that is allowed to pass between system failure and repair before the consequences of the service interruption become unacceptable.The recovery point objective, or RPO, is the maximum amount of data allowed to be lost, measured in time. It will outline several disaster scenarios, define the detailed responses to each while aiming to keep impact to a minimum.
If you’re maintaining a data center, maintain an off-site failover device to monitor your system health and reroute traffic in real-time, to another data center if your data center experiences failure.ConclusionIn the end, businesses are far safer implementing disaster recovery plans in their operations. It ensures synchronization of data and backups across distributed infrastructure to keep your business continually running smoothly in the event of hard drive failure, or any other number of IT disasters.
The benefit of a investing either in infrastructure or a monthly subscription – in the case of SME-oriented cloud services – to protect yourself from disaster is definitely worth the investment compared to the potential loss of revenue and the damage to your reputation as a result of downtime or online security issues.



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