Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices

Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices every organization needs to follow

Disaster Recovery Plan

DR / BC planning requires a robust program that is constantly updated and monitored

Top 10 Disaster Recovery Best Practices as defined by over three decades of DR and BC practice by Janco Associates.  Experience is based on having operated in earthquake zones, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks.

Janco’s principles created the Disaster Recovery Plan that was implemented by Merrill Lynch (ML) on 911.  The plan was activated within minutes of the attack and only 52 seconds of transactions were lost.  The top 10 best practices that are followed in all DR/BC plans that have been created by us are.

  1. Focus on operations – people and process that drive the enterprise are the primary issues that DR and BC are controllable. Implementing a planning and recovery environment is an ideal time to define an approach based on best practices that address the process and people issues effectively.  In the case of ML the plan was activated in the computer room while the CIO was on a plane over the Atlantic.
  2. Have at least one recovery site in place – Before an event there need to be plans in place for not only operation of computer but also for location of operations staff. Cloud managed computer operations can work when a disaster is in a limited ares.  However it is is wide ranged like a hurricane the issues can be problematic.
  3. Train everyone on how to execute the DR and BC – People are the front line when it comes to supporting the enterprise. A staff that has not been properly trained in the use of the DR and BC when an event occurs will we hindrance. Everyone must have the knowledge and skills to provide the right support. The primary focus is to reduce downtime, it also delivers better performance and a faster ROI through better and wiser use of IT assets.
  4. Have a clear definition for declaring when a disaster or business interruption occurs that will set the DR and BC process into motion – There needs to be a clear processes for allocating resources based on their criticality and availability requirements. This will define the “rules of the road” for who does what and when while minimizing the factors that can negatively impact enterprise operations.
  5. Integrate DRP and BCP with change management – Changes are inevitable in any sizable environment. It is difficult to keep up with the flood of new applications, technologies, and new tools. That is why it is essential to design, implement, and continuously improve change and configuration management processes.
  6. Focus on addressing issues BEFORE they impact the enterprise – When you are aiming to operate at the speed of business, after-the-fact fixes do not make the grade. These days, you need to anticipate trouble and head it off before it happens. It is important to identify risks across people, process, and technology so that appropriate countermeasures can be implemented. You should also make sure that vendors provide an appropriate level of support including proactive features such as critical patch analysis and change management support.
  7. Have an Incident Communications Plan in place – The incident communication plan should cover all interested parties from customers to employees and investors.
  8. Validate that all technology is properly installed and configured right from the start – a technology solution that is properly implemented in terms of its hardware, firmware, and software will dramatically reduce problems and downtime in the future. Proper initial configuration can also save time and reduce issues with upgrades, hot patches, and other changes.
  9. Monitor the processes and people to know what critical – many of today’s enterprises are experiencing a capacity crisis as they reach the limits of reduced budgets, older facilities and legacy infrastructures. Space is tight. Power and cooling resources are over-burdened. Implementing new solutions in inefficient environments may limit their ability to recover from an event. An assessment that examines and analyzes the enterprises environment’s capabilities and requirements can provide valuable information to help improve efficiency.
  10. Test often – a DR BC plan is not a static document.  Things change and new individuals are involved as staff changes.

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Victor Janulaitis
M. Victor Janulaitis is the founder and CEO of Janco Associates. His focus and that of the firm is the management and support of IT professionals improving infrastructure. His expertise is in organizational infrastructure, security, cost control, disaster recovery business continuity; information privacy; and staff development.

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