Most companies struggle with disaster planning as it is an expensive resource and requires a lot of attention to maintain.
The people involved in these projects also find it difficult to get collaboration. All disaster planning projects must have direct and public support from the CEO in order to encourage participation by all parties.
Unfortunately, due to the dynamics of organisational structure most divisions of a company are far more preoccupied with their own deadlines and milestones to pay some time to disaster planning. Employees are often mistaken when they think their data is being backed up somewhere in the office. There is always the quick remark “oh we’re alright, if anything should happen to us, our team can just work from home”. Really? A bit hard to progress when the rest of the company is at a standstill and the future of any organisation is not guaranteed after a disaster.
The best way to avoid your worst nightmares coming true?
- Invest in a Disaster Recovery Plan, if one exists then review or update it. You might need a whole new plan.
- Allocate resources for a disaster recovery analysis project. If done properly this should take from six months to a year. There needs to be a team at work here as one person will not be adequate.
- Educate employees of new procedures for Business Continuity and recovery stages. The damage of a disaster can be drastically reduced if everybody knows what they should be doing.
- Any plans, new protocols or procedures must be tested and rehearsed on an ongoing basis. Once a month might be too much but keep in mind, a lot of changes occur in a year.
- Once you have achieved a satisfactory level of preparedness the job isn’t over yet. Disaster Planning is a topic that will always require review and attention.
A satisfactory state is met when:
- All critical data is backed up and held offsite
- An offsite office is secured and can be setup and functioning within hours of an major incident
- Customers and suppliers can be contacted and reassured that things are under control and no orders have been lost
- All employees are familiar with the procedures outlined in the Business Continuity Plan
- When employees and managers are aware of who the team leaders in charge of recovery are
So in Summary. The important aspects of Disaster Recovery Planning are: risk assessment, disaster planning and backup procedures, disaster recovery plan, plan testing and maintenance.
This is such a complex topic so I have decided to revisit this issue in future blogs outlining how to address this in phases.