With hurricane season right around the corner, many Gulf Coast-based companies are revamping their disaster recovery procedures and testing their BC plans. The unfortunate truth is many of them will wait until the last minute and key elements will be missed. In a five part series, we discuss the essential pieces of an effective and affordable DR/BC plan – RPO/RTO, Communications, People, Data and Testing.

Recovery Time Objective & Recovery Point Objective

The first step to designing or reworking your DR plans is considering the amount of time and at which point recovery of operations is necessary for sustainability. RTO describes the total amount of time an organization can experience interrupted operations. RPO is the total amount of data loss tolerable in terms of time. Understanding these levels creates a foundation from which to design your plan. They play a significant role in determining where your people will go and how to communicate with them, from where to access your data, where to harbor your applications and storage area network, and how quickly these steps need to happen.

Communications

Restoring communication with key employees is a major step after a disaster. Whether you’re a large corporation or small organization, many options exist to reconnecting after an event. Internet-based social networking applications like Twitter and Facebook are not usually affected by Gulf Coast storms and may be a good way to send updates to displaced employees. Small organizations can implement text messaging check-in for employees. Coordinating these procedures in advance ensures constant communication before, during and after a storm.

People

Securing the safety of your people is crucial to not only continuing operations, but ensuring employees and their families are away from harm. If relocating key employees to an offsite hot-site is an option, have you considered bringing their families along and where they’ll stay? If you have employees working from home, how will you address connectivity and communications? People are the most important asset of any organization and should be properly cared for and considered in procedure planning.

Data & Applications

Proper storage, connectivity and power are essential to resuming operations after a disruptive event. For small organizations, managed hosting options ensure business continuance. Where is your hosting provider located? What kind of procedures do they have in place for disaster recovery?

For large corporations, evaluating whether to host your data center internally or outsource to a colocation provider is a major decision. If you plan to “hunker down,” where are your data and applications stored to ensure connectivity, power and uninterrupted data backup?

Testing

No plan is guaranteed without first testing and testing and testing. Are your people properly tested in communication and travel options? Is your data backup method guaranteed to deliver 100% uptime? Will you have uninterrupted connectivity; how can you be sure?

Seasoned IT professionals understand the significant elements of a successful BC plan and DR procedures. In course of this series, we’ll break down each of these elements and introduce new technologies and considerations. Stay tuned!

Check out Part 1: How Much Downtime Can Your Business Afford? (RPO and RTO)

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