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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. You will undoubtedly have financial constraints and probably will not have all the people you need for the project.
Consider Figure 2, which illustrates a four-step process to achieve the goals set forth earlier. Oh, and by the way, if you as the reader are a Big 4 consultant, there is something here for you too. For the moment, however, as this is only an overview, let's return to our four-step process defined previously. In summary, often the most difficult part of the planning process is simply getting off square one, and starting. This policy defines acceptable methods for disaster recovery planning, preparedness, management and mitigation of IT systems and services at Weill Cornell Medical College. 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 maintaining the Recovery Tier Chart , which defines the Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) of all ITS-managed systems. 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. Upon completion or update, DR plans must be sent to the Disaster Recovery Manager and ITS Change Manager for review.
Backup strategies must comply with predefined businesses continuity requirements, including defined recovery time and point objectives. Approved recovery strategies must be tested to ensure they meet required recovery time and recovery point objectives. 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.
Such plans provide a step-by-step process for responding to a disruptive event with steps designed to provide an easy-to-use and repeatable process for recovering damaged IT assets to normal operation as quickly as possible. Those events with the highest risk factor are the ones your disaster recovery plan should primarily aim to address. 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. 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.


This means that when properly utilized, consultants can be very useful for securing financial commitment from management. 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. 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. ITS is required to create disaster recovery plans for the IT portion - including services, systems, and assets - of critical business processes.
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. All Backup data must be labeled and logged, and are available for use during an emergency within stated recovery time objectives. Recovery strategies must be implemented within a previously agreed upon period of time, generally not more than 180 days after management approval.
Disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) are crucial steps in the development of a disaster recovery plan. During an outage, IT Managers may incur special recovery and restoration costs that are unbudgeted. For example, in the Lloyd's insurance market in London, all businesses depend on a firm called Xchanging to provide premiums and claims processing.
While NEC recommends fault tolerant solutions for local resilience in order to avoid switching of applications and processes for a simple hardware fault, NEC recommends the implementation of an inter-site DRP in order to protect oneself from threats to the main site.NEC solutions are based around Cluster solutions (ExpressCluster, Double-Take) ) which can replicate data from an asynchronous system through a WAN and switch from one site to another in case of damage to the main site. 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.
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. If, on the other hand, this prospect intimidates you, you will probably want to get someone to champion it for you. 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. To do that, let us remind ourselves of the overall goals of disaster recovery planning, which are to provide strategies and procedures that can help return IT operations to an acceptable level of performance as quickly as possible following a disruptive event.
Protecting your Information AssetsNetGain Networks provides disaster recovery & planning consulting services designed around the unique aspects of your organization. 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. On Monday, the CEO comes in with the enthusiasm of a revivalist preacher proclaiming the gospel that "this must be a priority!"- the same advice, incidentally, that you have been giving for the last two years. Nothing makes for a better and more satisfying consulting engagement than the sense from your client that they have truly learned from you.


The consultants will make the compelling point that disaster recovery is important, presenting all the reasons management needs to fund and endorse the project. Management never gets off the dime in supporting the plan and the organization "studies" it forever. 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.
The IT Disaster Recovery Manager should be part of the ITS representation within the institution's Emergency Management Team . Having established our mission, and assuming we have management approval and funding for a disaster recovery initiative, we can establish a project plan. But, before we look at them in detail, we need to locate disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact assessment in the overall planning process. Every disaster recovery plan starts with a complementary visit by a systems engineer to perform a preliminary site survey.
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A disaster recovery project has a fairly consistent structure, which makes it easy to organise and conduct plan development activity. During this time we discuss your organization's disaster recovery concerns, and how a disaster recovery plan can help your organization stay in business in the event of a disaster.
These all depend almost exclusively on one form of "value-added-sand" or another, whether these silicon chips are computer based or the telephone. As you can see from The IT Disaster Recovery Lifecycle illustration, the IT disaster recovery process has a standard process flow. You have to phase out what you have and replace it with equipment having fault-tolerant or disaster-resistant characteristics.
Following the BIA and risk assessment, the next steps are to define, build and test detailed disaster recovery plans that can be invoked in case disaster actually strikes the organisation’s critical IT assets. Things to ConsiderWhile the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, it may get put on the back-burner in the face of more immediate concerns. Detailed response planning and the other key parts of disaster recovery planning, such as plan maintenance, are, however, outside the scope of this article so let us get back to looking at disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact assessment in detail. For business owners and managers, being prepared can mean staying in business following a disaster. 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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