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Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning Basics

disaster recovery No matter how big or small your company is, you need to have plans in place for when something goes wrong. A single disruptive event , whether it’s drastic and dramatic like an earthquake or relatively small like a computer virus, can bring your company to its knees if you don’t know how to handle it ahead of time.

One aspect of disaster recovery is business continuity. Business continuity planning is a comprehensive approach to a disaster that helps to insure the business continues to operate, even after a disaster strikes.

Good disaster recovery and business continuity planning looks at potential points of failure, rather than at specific disasters. The question isn’t so much “what would happen if our datacenter was struck by a hurricane” as “what would happen if our Exchange cluster was physically damaged.”

A plan must include specific issues. It needs to cover how employees will communicate in the event of a disaster, where they will be located, and what they will need in order to keep doing their jobs. These details depend, to a large degree, on the size of a business as well as on its business processes.

Disaster recovery planning has to consider issues like the supply chain, as well. Certainly, one type of disaster is simply one in which a vital supplier cannot be reached, whether it is because of physical limitations or whether the business has just stopped operating.

A significant area of disaster recovery and business continuity planning has to do with information technology. IT is critical in a company’s ability to communicate and to do business. For example, a company may need to identify specific timeframes. A backup mainframe at an offsite location might need to be up within two days, or a mobile PBX system might be required for the remote operations center.

Unfortunately, many executives tend to ignore disaster recovery and business continuity planning. The best way to convince many executives of the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning is with a risk assessment. Risk assessment takes into account the damage to a company caused by a disaster, and compares it to the likelihood that the disaster will occur.

This risk assessment identifies the most crucial systems and processes in a business, and examines what effects their unavailability would have on the organization. Some systems aren’t critical, and can take a back seat to others. Some systems are vital, and may require the creation of redundant systems or processes as a part of the disaster recovery and business continuity planning process.

Finally, a disaster recovery plan is only as good as your company’s willingness and ability to implement it. An important part of the planning process is not only getting buy-in and full support from management, but also distributing the necessary procedures to key personnel. In some cases, training and/or disaster recovery walkthroughs may be useful, especially when it comes to the

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.