by January 7, 2004 0 comments





Cut to today, and think of what could happen if the same were to be repeated? There might still be organizations for which all data can be saved on to local hard disks. But, for most of us that is not the case, what with most enterprise applications, including e-mail running off servers. If one or more of those servers come down, and we cannot recover the data, then we have at hand a major disaster. DR (Disaster Recovery) planning is nothing but being ready for such an eventuality, to be able to recover data and applications from various backups if the live version gets corrupted or becomes unavailable due to what ever reason.

Business Continuity Planning
Equating BCP with disaster recovery or disk storage is a common fallacy. In fact, business continuity is a larger superset of activities and processes, of which DR site or backup disks are just a couple of issues
DR Planning and Strategies
Some macro-level planning and strategy considerations
Disaster Recovery in a Call Center
DR plan here calls for building redundancy into it 
Disaster Recovery for SMEs
Using a normal tape drive, backup software and some other settings, you can easily and safely recover failed systems in no time 

Obviously, a major component of a DR plan is data backups, that you make. A lot of time and effort should naturally go into deciding what to back up, at what frequency and where? How frequently to test back ups, and so on. But a full DR plan will not only look at just the data and applications, but also at other infrastructure. It also looks at issues other than the purely technological. Is your data center anywhere near a seismically active zone? 

Going a step beyond DR planning is BCP (Business Continuity Planning). It is one thing to somehow get your data back. But it is an altogether different thing to ensure that your business is not down while your tech staff is trying its best to recover the data. Business continuity requirements will mandate the window that you have to recover lost data, and more importantly to bring back systems that have gone down (or more likely their backups or standbys) online. Your BCP has to take into account the maximum duration for which your business can afford to be down (or be without the data) without getting into serious trouble. And a simple rule of the thumb is that the amount of money that you will invest into DR or business continuity systems is that amount that you can afford to loose in case disaster strikes.

Obviously, a lot of technological infrastructure and processes go into planning for DR and business continuity. But, it is not just the IT department that has to bear the burden of DR and BCP. Every employee is a link in the chain and has to play his/her role if the situation happens. The best way to ensure that you have fighting chance, should disaster strike,is to follow five basic steps.

Formulate a plan and outline the processes and the steps involved

Ensure that the key players, particularly the seniors in the other departments have been brought in and have accepted the plan. 

Ensure that everyone knows what they are expected to do, should disaster strike. For this, ensure that there are regular drills and instructions are prominently displayed

Keep updating your DR processes as technologies, equipment and work processes change

Finally, pray to God every day that disaster never strikes and that you are not required to put your plans into practice!

Krishna Kumar

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