Disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) are crucial steps in the development of a disaster recovery plan.
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. Learn how to develop disaster recovery strategies as well as how to write a disaster recovery plan with these step-by-step instructions. Formulating a detailed recovery plan is the main aim of the entire IT disaster recovery planning project.
Once you have identified your critical systems, RTOs, RPOs, etc, create a table, as shown below, to help you formulate the disaster recovery strategies you will use to protect them. In addition to using the strategies previously developed, IT disaster recovery plans should form part of an incident response process that addresses the initial stages of the incident and the steps to be taken. Located at the end of the plan, these can include systems inventories, application inventories, network asset inventories, contracts and service-level agreements, supplier contact data, and any additional documentation that will facilitate recovery.
We take main topics like storage networking, backup and disaster recovery and break them down to targeted topics like SSD applications, data deduplication and off-site replication. There are more than 9,000 articles on disaster recovery planning in our storage network, and users take more than 907,316 actions on the topic in 12 months.
Here we can see the critical system and associated threat, the response strategy and (new) response action steps, as well as the recovery strategy and (new) recovery action steps. Included within this part of the plan should be assembly areas for staff (primary and alternates), procedures for notifying and activating DR team members, and procedures for standing down the plan if management determines the DR plan response is not needed.
Check with your vendors while developing your DR plans to see what they have in terms of emergency recovery documentation. Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text VersionWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money. Once this work is out of the way, you’re ready to move on to developing disaster recovery strategies, followed by the actual plans. Once your disaster recovery strategies have been developed, you’re ready to translate them into disaster recovery plans.
The following section details the elements in a DR plan in the sequence defined by ISO 27031 and ISO 24762. Important: Best-in-class DR plans should begin with a few pages that summarise key action steps (such as where to assemble employees if forced to evacuate the building) and lists of key contacts and their contact information for ease of authorising and launching the plan. In disaster recovery (DR) planning, once you've completed a business impact analysis (BIA), the next step is to perform a risk assessment.
This chart identifies natural and man-made disasters that could adversely impact an organization. Having established our mission, and assuming we have management approval and funding for a disaster recovery initiative, we can establish a project plan.
As you can see from The IT Disaster Recovery Lifecycle illustration, the IT disaster recovery process has a standard process flow.
It is in these plans that you will set out the detailed steps needed to recover your IT systems to a state in which they can support the business after a disaster. These are essential in that they ensure employees are fully aware of DR plans and their responsibilities in a disaster, and DR team members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities as defined in the plans.

This is a serious business and one that companies integrate into their disaster recovery (DR) strategies for one very simple reason: survival. This section should specify who has approved the plan, who is authorised to activate it and a list of linkages to other relevant plans and documents. In the trade, the upshot of this risk management process is referred to as Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Then, you’ll need to establish recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). Here we’ll explain how to write a disaster recovery plan as well as how to develop disaster recovery strategies. Procedures should ensure an easy-to-use and repeatable process for recovering damaged IT assets and returning them to normal operation as quickly as possible. This process can be seen as a timeline, such as in Figure 2, in which incident response actions precede disaster recovery actions. The next section should define roles and responsibilities of DR recovery team members, their contact details, spending limits (for example, if equipment has to be purchased) and the limits of their authority in a disaster situation. Based on the findings from incident response activities, the next step is to determine if disaster recovery plans should be launched, and which ones in particular should be invoked. A section on plan document dates and revisions is essential, and should include dates of revisions, what was revised and who approved the revisions.
Once the plan has been launched, DR teams take the materials assigned to them and proceed with response and recovery activities as specified in the plans.
Read our guide on how to prepare a risk assessment, and then download our free risk assessment template. Read our guide, and then download our free risk assessment template, which is available as a Word doc or PDF. This includes potential damage the events could cause, the amount of time needed to recover or restore operations, and preventive measures or controls that can mitigate the likelihood of the event occurring. Once a specific threat and its associated vulnerability have been identified, it becomes easier to plan the most effective defensive strategy. By contrast, man-made events are those in which an individual or multiple persons may be held accountable for contributing to the event(s) that caused the disaster.
A disaster recovery project has a fairly consistent structure, which makes it easy to organise and conduct plan development activity.
If DR plans are to be invoked, incident response activities can be scaled back or terminated, depending on the incident, allowing for launch of the DR plans.
Then define step-by-step procedures to, for example, initiate data backup to secure alternate locations, relocate operations to an alternate space, recover systems and data at the alternate sites, and resume operations at either the original site or at a new location. The more detailed the plan is, the more likely the affected IT asset will be recovered and returned to normal operation. And since DR planning generates a significant amount of documentation, records management (and change management) activities should also be initiated. An example may be the increased risk of virus attacks by not using the most current antivirus software.
The strategies you define for risks can next be used to help design business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.

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. Our unmatched topical depth outlined below matches the very specific information needs of storage pros from Backup Software to Disaster Recovery Planning to Continuous Data Protection and more. This section defines the criteria for launching the plan, what data is needed and who makes the determination. Technology DR plans can be enhanced with relevant recovery information and procedures obtained from system vendors. If your organisation already has records management and change management programmes, use them in your DR planning. Use our risk analysis template to list and organize potential threats to your organization. In our risk analysis template, you will find columns that allow you to assign qualitative terms to each of the risks to your organization. As we've been talking to customers at the start of the year, the majority of you are in various states of your event planning for 2013. This event brings IT professionals together with industry experts, analysts and vendors who can help them plan, implement and maximize the best storage initiatives today and well into the future. Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business.
Those events with the highest risk factor are the ones your disaster recovery plan should primarily aim to address. 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.
The point in time when a function or process must be recovered, before unacceptable consequences could occur, is often referred to as the “Recovery Time Objective.”Resource Required to Support Recovery StrategiesRecovery of a critical or time-sensitive process requires resources.
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. Completed worksheets are used to determine the resource requirements for recovery strategies.Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations. 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. 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.
An analysis of the resources required to execute recovery strategies should be conducted to identify gaps. Equipping converted space with furnishings, equipment, power, connectivity and other resources would be required to meet the needs of workers.Partnership or reciprocal agreements can be arranged with other businesses or organizations that can support each other in the event of a disaster.
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.
The availability and cost of these options can be affected when a regional disaster results in competition for these resources.There are multiple strategies for recovery of manufacturing operations.

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