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Top Imperatives for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Your business can’t go on if your IT department can’t go on. You need to be ready to provide continuous access to data services as soon after a disaster as needed by critical business units. If that’s going to happen – if your company is going to survive a major disaster – there are some specific priorities you need to follow.

Here are the top 5 areas your IT department must focus on in order to recover from a disaster and provide business continuity:

1.    IT disaster recovery must be informed by and inform the overall business continuity plan of your company. This means dialogue. You need to have key business units identify which resources are mission critical. From there, you can allocate specific planning and disaster preparation activities, based on the idea of providing services as rapidly as possible after a disaster. Likewise, IT needs to be able to give the other business units a reasonable estimate of how long it will take to restore services and under what circumstances they will be restored.

2.    IT disaster recovery must be explicit in its recovery point objectives and recovery timeframe objectives. For some firms, that might mean zero data loss. For others, it may be start of business or end of the previous business day. For less mission-critical applications, it might mean period ending, or a weekly or monthly backup. The same holds true for how long it will take to get back up and running. The plan needs to provide the other business units with a reliable estimate of how long it’s going to take before they can be back in business.

3.     IT disaster recovery plans must detail specific activities needed to restore business critical IT services. This includes step-by-step methodology for switching over to a failsafe data center, for example, or detailed instructions on how to restore from backup. While there’s some disagreement as to what level of detail is necessary, the most effective IT disaster recovery plans will have enough detail that even someone not entirely familiar with the particular environment could accomplish the tasks.

4.    IT disaster recovery plans must include a communications structure. It’s going to be necessary for IT personnel to communicate with one another, as well as with key individuals in various business units across the enterprise. The specific lines of communication should be defined within the disaster recovery plan.

5.    IT disaster recovery plans should include a detailed description of the specific roles and responsibilities of anyone involved in the recovery process. That way, anyone that is assigned to a specific role within the recovery process team will have a clear expectation. If at all possible, the plan should refer to position titles rather than names, in order to make the disaster recovery plan workable beyond the confines of the immediate future.

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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.