DR BC – Planning concerns for CIOs and all impacted managers

DR BC planning issues for everyone

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning requires much detailed work on IT applications, infrastructure, processes and people. There are two areas that many seemingly prepared organizations overlook in this process. CIOs and DR and BC managers should look to:

  1. Minimise both technical and human single points of failureThe failure of one link in the chain is all your planning can fall apart. CIOs need to evaluate their infrastructure and equipment to identify, and then fix, single points of failure in their design. These fixes will include ensuring the failure of single servers or network switches won’t make systems unavailable or result in data loss.Remember people can also be single points of failure. Ensure you have multiple people trained for and designated to the same roles on your disaster recovery team in case one of them can’t react or fulfill the duty when an actual disaster happens. It’s ideal if these individuals are geographically dispersed so a disaster in one location doesn’t affect all the related personnel.
  2. Document, test, update and repeatYou are undertaking DR BC process to minimize risk, but if your plan isn’t tested, documented and corrected, you actually increase risk. Good IT disaster recovery planning includes the full range of disaster recovery TLC, including design, backup and recovery, testing, monitoring, documenting gaps and corrective actions.

Every step of recovery planning needs to be documented (and be available) to ensure the DR team can execute on the plan when the time comes. And all documents need to be stored in multiple locations — universally accessible — so they can be retrieved regardless of a disaster’s location. Tests of the entire disaster recovery plan need to be conducted every six months to a year so it can be tweaked if needed. A good disaster recovery provider will be able to conduct these annual tests, in addition to smaller recovery processes related to the plan monthly or quarterly. Plans should be updated depending on the results of these tests and when new systems and critical software are incorporated into the organisation.

Remember that your plan will be a living, breathing document that will change as your business needs shift. Continue to go over your plan in detail, testing and revising with the help of everyone involved

Author: Victor Janulaitis

M. Victor Janulaitis is the CEO of Janco Associates. He has taught at the USC Graduate School of Business, been a guest lecturer at the UCLA's Anderson School of Business, a Graduate School at Harvard University, and several other universities in various programs.