Alternate Processing Strategy - Plan "B"

Ever lock yourself out of the house or car? If you're like most of us, it doesn't have to happen twice before you develop an alternate plan.

Just as important as having an alternate way of gaining access to your home or car, you need to have an alternate processing strategy, a planned method of performing your job functions after a disaster. Every one of us should consider what alternate processing strategies we could use, or need to create, if our normal processing were halted. Below are some questions that may help you create your own alternate processes:

• Are there alternate methods or individuals to perform the same function?
• Can the process be performed manually until service is restored?
• Can you perform a down-scaled version of the process with alternate technology?
• Can the restoration of processes be done at an alternate site?

You need to decide which of your processes are most important. Identify must-run services, and maximum downtime for the services you provide. And don't forget to document (preferably within your Disaster Recovery Plan) and test your alternate processing strategy, and keep a copy off-site. An alternate process that doesn't work, or is not found in your Disaster Recovery Plan or off-site when needed, is like having only a single set of keys.