We all hope that we’ll never need to use them, but disaster recovery and business continuity plans are a critical part of any organization’s strategy.
Without a plan, if anything happens to interrupt the conduct of business, whether it’s a fire, a flood, bad weather, criminal activity, or even a major event that makes it difficult for employees to get to the office, your company could be in big trouble.
Building those plans is a non-trivial task. There’s a lot to think about, a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. And they’re not just IT details. While technology is a large part of the exercise, people and facilities have to be considered as well.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of expertise around to help make sure we don’t miss any critical components of the plan. Best practices abound; it’s just a matter of finding them.
A good place to start is with a professional organization whose reason for being is disaster recovery: the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (DRIE).
DRIE’s stated objectives are:
- To provide a forum for the exchange of information among business continuity practitioners;
- To be an authoritative source of information relating to business continuity;
- To promote business continuity awareness within the business and government communities;
- To advance the professional standards of the business continuity discipline; and
- To engage with representatives from commercial, not for profit and government organizations in providing information to support the most effective and efficient business continuity schemes for the protection of life, health and safety of individuals, and the protection of the property of organizations and the environment in Canada.
Membership is open to people whose work is related to, or who are interested in, business continuity.
Another great resource comes from networking giant Cisco, whose comprehensive disaster recovery best practices white paper is based on a publication by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It walks through everything from risk analysis to document maintenance; a disaster recovery/business continuity plan is a living document that must be regularly revisited and tweaked to reflect the real world situation, and the Cisco white paper explains how to go about the task.
Forbes has also provided a good overview of best practices, as told by an industry pro, which includes the admonition “remember Murphy’s Law”, Data Source Solutions offers ten best practices, and CIO magazine’s executive council has chimed in with its eight best practices for disaster recovery.
If the expertise to build a disaster recovery plan doesn’t exist inside your company, and you don’t have the time or resources to acquire it, you can contract with companies like Rogers, whose services organizations contain specialists in disaster recovery and business continuity. They can help build the plan, as well as providing the necessary resources to test and implement it.