Thinking About the Unthinkable
Earthquake, flood, hurricane and terrorist acts-all of these natural and man-made disasters have all too recently proven the need for reliable disaster-recovery planning.
Most iSeries customers have some form of a disaster-recovery plan. But how good is it? Does it cover all forms of business disruption? Has it been tested? While many IT organizations have some form of disaster-recovery plan, most are limited to restoring the company's iSeries server to either a company-owned remote system or a system owned by a disaster-recovery firm. There's much more to the nasty business of disaster recovery.
A good disaster-recovery plan must be a business-recovery plan and not just an IT plan. For example, if your iSeries server is up and running at your disaster-recovery site but your company is unable to conduct business, are you successful?
Disaster-recovery planning affects the way your company does business. While getting your computers up and running is important, it's just one aspect of a well-devised plan that incorporates procedures to protect business resources throughout the company during periods of normal operations. Case in point: an insurance company had a fire that totally destroyed one of its branch offices where paper claim files were stored. The paper files were, of course, destroyed. Fortunately, the company's computer system contained enough data to allow the company to continue operating without the paper files.
A successful disaster-recovery plan must address all types of operation disruption and not just the major natural or man-made disasters that make a location unavailable. Disruptions can include power outages, telephone system outages, temporary loss of access to a facility due to bomb threats, a "possible fire" or a low-impact non-destructive fire, flood or other event.
To develop your plan, I recommend forming a disaster-recovery planning team with representatives from every major area of the company. It should have an executive sponsor who is part of the senior management team of your organization. This executive must be able to take issues to the other senior executives during the planning process and obtain decisions on key strategic issues.
Disaster-recovery planning involves risk analysis and assessment of the costs and benefits to restore operations in the event of a disaster. Planning involves presenting a list of threats to management with recovery alternatives for financial assessment.
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