With another “Storm of the Century” banging down the door of
the Northeast, the typical buy-out of all of the
generators/batteries/flashlights/power inverters, etc., has occurred and
families are exercising their emergency plans.
Visits to websites like ready.gov list out all of the different items
that a family might need for a prolonged power outage, or disaster event. But while people prepare their personal lives
for yet another disaster, how about business recovery plans? While disasters tend to highlight weaknesses
in personal recovery plans driving the need for generators and flashlights,
what do businesses need to check off of the list in preparation for this type
of event? Just thinking about the list,
I’ve come up with the suggestions below.
Feel free to comment on them below, or submit any additions:
A typical exercise during recovery planning is to identify
the contacts list of all individuals identified to participate in a DR
scenario, but has this list been updated?
How about if e-mail is not an available form of communication? Maintaining a list of cell phone numbers, and
SMS contact information can be the deciding factor between being able to notify
individuals of an event, and going forward with a limited set of people because
they can’t be contacted. A quick note to
all recovery resources prior to the event can sometimes be the difference
between a successful fully-staffed recovery, and the alternative.
Identify a point-person for
In addition, having a person identified to update and
maintain this contact list as well as to communicate and correspond with resources
during the recovery can make a world of difference. This person can be contacted in the event
that a resource needs to identify a new means of communication (a land-line
perhaps) when the event is occurring. Be
mindful however of who is selected for this task, as this might need to be
someone with a more resilient personal disaster plan, or someone who can spend
additional time in the office during an event in order to protect business
Accessible location for
As cliché as it may sound, we have to re-iterate the need for an off-site
location to store recovery plans. Cloud-storage,
or a redundant internal solution can often times be the difference between
knowing what to do in the event of a disaster, or wasting time remembering and
re-creating the recovery plan due to lack of availability.
E-Mail out to recovery personnel
re-iterating recovery plans
Once these recovery plans are identified and stored in the remote
location, it can’t hurt to send an e-mail to the recovery team to re-iterate
their location, and a brief overview of tasks involved (i.e. – recovery
location, high-level expectations, contingency plans for unavailable personnel.) Keeping the recovery team in the loop and
prepared is one key to a successful recovery.
Knowledge of recovery personnel
geography and potential for long-term displacement
Often-times individuals who are close to the office, or the
recovery center, cannot get access due to a major barrier such as a rising
river or flooded bridge. Knowing about
these barriers and suggesting replacements, or relocating people to closer
non-obstructed areas prior to the disaster can ensure resource availability if
Ability to identify when a
Whoever (board or individual) is responsible for initiating
the disaster recovery plan must be aware of the IT infrastructure in place at
all times during the disaster. In some
cases, this involves a third-party monitoring service. In others, a carefully monitored
infrastructure from another location will suffice. In either event, there are cases where time
is lost during a disaster based upon the determination of whether the
datacenter is still “up” and the person is just having issues accessing it, or
if there is truly a disaster. Having
fail-safes in place to make this determination quickly and accurately can avoid
costly time spent determining datacenter conditions rather than acting.
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure, and in my opinion this holds true for disaster recovery. While businesses spend large amounts on
preparation and plans, sometimes simple communication is the last determining
factor on how much the business is protected during times like these.
Labels: BCP, Business Continuity, Checklist, Disaster Recovery, DR, Hurricane Sandy