Data Recovery Plan - This is Your Office Building... What's Your Plan?

Since the 9/11/2001 terrorist actions, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery have a more prominent place in chief executive officer planning strategies. In addition to terrorist threats, weather happens. Occurrences like hurricanes, tornadoes, spring storms, summer heat, autumn winds, and winter freezes are always lurking around the corner.

The most important step in dealing with a disaster is to develop a plan in advance. Immediately on the heels of developing the plan, is testing it.

The purpose of a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is to ensure that, when the unexpected happens, the business, division, department, site, or individual can continue to do business smoothly (business continuity), with minimum disruption to normal operations. Unfortunately, the unexpected happens more often than some might think.

Contingency management is a business issue, to be addressed through a well-defined and thoroughly tested DRP. The plan must be built on an examination of all categories of risk that can be reasonably anticipated. The plan must cover all aspects of concern to the business: its staff, its customers, its suppliers, and its assets.

It is each manager's responsibility to have a well-defined, tested plan to execute if disaster strikes; and it is each employee's responsibility to be prepared for and respond to a disaster in a professional manner.

Many of us think that disaster recovery planning is something that management handles for us. However, it is the individual employee's responsibility to do his or her part, such as ensuring that critical data on personal computers is backed up on a frequency commensurate with its sensitivity / criticality, storing back-up CD's and/or diskettes off-site, etc., in order to be prepared on an individual basis.

As we become more and more dependent on desktop computer power as well as local and wide-area networks, more and more responsibility will be placed on the individual to have an individual plan that dovetails with the higher-level business units plan, or site plan.

We usually think of disasters as major fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, but disasters can begin very small and become catastrophic by our own failure to properly prepare.

Know your plan!