Posted By Industry Perspectives On July 3, 2012 @ 11:38 am In Industry Perspectives | 4 Comments
Richard Dolewski, Disaster Recovery SME and Vice President Business Continuity Services for Velocity Technology Solutions .
It’s that time again. Hurricane season is upon us, which should always trigger a very important question in the world of IT: “Does our current Disaster Recovery (DR) plan demonstrate confidence to our business that we can recover if needed?” Last summer, Hurricane Irene  wreaked havoc along the East Coast, leaving many businesses, employees and families with irreversible damages and loss. Irene was certainly no “lady.” Irene taught, or should have taught, IT a few very important lessons.
First and foremost, all companies must have a fully-tested DR plan in place. You can’t afford not to, when disasters can have such a dramatic impact on the overall health of the business. What’s more, it’s critical that the plan supports your current business requirements. IT and business units must communicate and coordinate. IT must recognize that their plans need to be integrated across the enterprise to mitigate vulnerability and minimize data loss. Companies should also make sure they have an infrastructure they can recover to, by maintaining a recovery facility in an alternate FEMA geographic region outside the disaster zone.
Many DR plans fail in these five categories:
So, how can you ensure that your DR plan will not fail? First of all, it’s important to make sure that you have skilled technical resources that are available to perform the recovery. After all, during a disaster like Hurricane Irene, you can’t predict the availability of key IT staff. The DR plan should designate team members, either internal or from a service provider, who reside outside the disaster zone and have the expertise to manage the recovery for you.
It’s important to implicitly understand that a DR plan must be tested regularly to ensure that both systems and staff are capable should the plan need to be activated. You must always ask yourself, “If I were to invoke the plan, am I 100 percent confident I can recover the business within stated objectives?”
So, what should your plan look like? And, how should you test it? Here are my 10 suggestions to consider when creating and testing your DR plan:
The bottom line: companies rely on technology to run their businesses, so downtime is a business issue, not just a technology issue. Any disaster, whether natural (hurricane, flood or earthquake) or related to equipment/hardware failure, will undoubtedly cause downtime or, even worse, negatively affect a company’s bottom line. Time and time again, I have seen companies in the midst of a DR nightmare wishing they had been better prepared. And, all these companies have one thing in common: they never thought it would happen to them.
My advice is to assume that disaster will affect you at some point. Forrester research shows that 60 percent of businesses have invoked their DR Plans in the past five years. Internalize the important lessons learned from Hurricane Irene and use the onset of the 2012 hurricane season to kick start your DR planning and testing. I promise you won’t regret it.
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URLs in this post:
 Velocity Technology Solutions: http://www.velocity.cc/
 Hurricane Irene: http://www.weather.com/weather/hurricanecentral/article/tropical-depression-nine-storm-hurricane-irene_2011-08-20
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