When the BIA analysis has been completed, you will need to evaluate the methods to recover your data. There are different approaches that can be used in a recovery strategy, all of which are determined by time and costs. Some of the methods include mirroring, electronic storage, or tape backup.
Mirroring can be expensive, but it provides immediate resumption of processing, and this type of data backup is good for uninterruptible service. The banking industry is a good example of this.
Electronic storage costs less than mirroring, and provides an excellent means of data recovery.
Using this method for data recovery ensures that the data is at the recovery facility and ready for use. While the data will not be as current as with mirroring, costs will be substantially lower.
Tape backup is the cheapest method for restoring data. When the decision is made as to which method will be used, it will be up to you to incorporate this process into your disaster recovery plan.
After you sell the idea of a DRP to senior management, your next task is to develop the document. There is a myriad of software choices on the market to help you create your plan.
Whatever software you choose, getting participation from all departments is vital for the development of a comprehensive plan. Ensure that you discuss and explain the recovery process with all key personnel, and that they have an understanding of the recovery objectives.
When writing the plan, pay close attention to what constitutes critical processing for your organization. Remember, during the first days or weeks of a “disaster” your primary concern is to get the organization back on its feet. Decide where the recovery will take place, whether it will be a cold-site, warm-site, or hot-site facility. Again, it will be up to you to recommend the best options available. Include in the plan critical applications or processes, as well as organizational teams with names of members along with home telephone and beeper numbers.
The location of the rendezvous site to coordinate the recovery operation is also needed in the plan since your building or facility could be destroyed. In the event that personnel are incapacitated or unavailable, you will need to identify those who are in other locations who can perform similar functions at the recovery site. These personnel will be expected to participate in training and walk-through rehearsals and, in an emergency, travel to the hot-site facility.
Last, but not least, you may want to obtain your contingency planning credentials. Again, there are many choices available. The Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), at www.dr.org, offers three levels of contingency planning certification. For the entry level Planner, there is the Associate Business Continuity Planner (ABCP), followed by the Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP). For the top “gurus” the Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP) is available.
These certifications require a written test, meeting certain criteria, and an active involvement in contingency planning. Another company offering certification is Harris Disaster Recovery Associates (www.hdra.com). Completing the necessary requirements earns you a Certified Recovery Planner (CRP) designation.
Contingency planning can be a very rewarding and challenging career. There are many tools available on the Internet to help in developing the plan. The Disaster Recovery Journal has a site at www.drj.com that provides a chat room enabling an exchange of ideas and comments helpful for planning. It is an excellent learning tool, and a must visit for all contingency planners.
William R. Alvord, CBCP, project manager for contingency planning at DISA’s Defense Enterprise Computing Center - St. Louis, is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Disaster Recovery Journal and the Mid-America Contingency Planning Forum. He can be contacted at email@example.com.