Disaster Recovery Planning, Seven simple step
Step 1 – Admit the possibility of disaster
Just as the first step to personal recovery is admitting one has a problem, so the first step in BCDR planning is to admit the organization faces tangible threats that could jeopardize its prosperity – or its survival. Until this first step is taken at a senior leadership level, go no further.
Step 2 – List and categorize likely threats to the organization
The nature of the business and its physical and social environment will influence the types of threats an organization might face. Once the threats are listed, they should be categorized according to their likely impact on various systems. The cost of the response should be balanced against the tolerance for system downtime -- the less downtime that can be tolerated, the more it will cost to create an appropriate response. Some systems must be functioning again within minutes or seconds, while others can be down a few hours, and still others can be down for a few days without serious consequences.
Step 3 – Outline the organization’s BCDR technology infrastructure
The key technology elements of a BCDR infrastructure consist of a main data center, a remote site that duplicates the resources in that primary location, and high-bandwidth network connections. The best BCDR strategies follow a “redundant everything” philosophy throughout the data center. Multiple mainframes and servers should run in the production and backup data facilities. Then if a component in the production system encounters problems, it immediately fails over to the local backup as a first line of defense.
Step 4 – Inventory the organization’s IT assets
Once organizations have sketched out the topology of their BCDR infrastructure, the next step is to develop an accurate inventory of IT assets. This enables the organization to understand the resources and business processes that need to be protected.
A range of enterprise management tools are available to help organizations develop and maintain accurate inventories of IT resources. Vendors of these tools offer modules that use software agents to scour the IT infrastructure, storing details about hardware and software assets and their configuration parameters in configuration management databases (CMDB).
Step 5 – Set service-level expectations and define contingency policies
CMDBs store not only the details about the organization’s software and hardware assets but also information about service-level agreements that define the uptime and recovery parameters for those assets. Recalling Step 2, it is important that senior management buy into service-level expectations, because these will determine (among other things) whether a particular asset must be up and running within 5 minutes or 5 hours of an outage. This determination directly influences BCDR expenditures that senior management will later be asked to support.
Step 6 – Develop a BCDR contingency plan
Flowing directly out of contingency policies, the contingency plan details the roles and responsibilities of departments and individuals in keeping technology systems available, as well as the procedures for restoring IT systems during an emergency. Key elements of contingency planning also include resource requirements, training needs, the frequency of training exercises and testing, maintenance schedules, and data-backup schedules.
Step 7 – Test the BCDR contingency plan
Disaster-recovery experts say one of the most important yet frequently overlooked aspects of disaster-recovery planning comes after the formal policies and procedures are delineated. Plans must be tested initially for their completeness and effectiveness, and then retested on an ongoing basis to make sure that any subsequent changes to the IT infrastructure and business processes haven’t created a need for policy modifications.
*Seven step to Disaster Recovery Planning