05 Apr Key Essentials to Consider when Designing and Executing a BC/DR Strategy
Defining disaster recovery tactics and responses to maintain business continuity will help you master the art of responding to potentially disruptive IT scenarios and ensure that your stakeholders continue getting access to valuable IT, data, and information resources.
The typical BC/DR planning stage involves three key steps
- Drawing up BIA plan
- Carrying out risk assessment
- Developing BC/DR strategy and implementation plan
You will develop an idea about the process flow from the following graphical depiction. This tip will present the conventional and common examples of responses and strategies, thus demonstrating the manner of converting strategies into particular actions.
BC/DR Response Process and Strategy
Certain mission critical business processes can cause severe damage to your enterprise if they face outage or disruptions. And the BIA or Business Impact Analysis report lets you focus your attention and efforts on precisely these systems in the order of priority. The outcomes of a well-thought out risk assessment helps you to find and identify scenarios that have the highest potential of impacting your organization.
When you get down to developing a BC/DR strategy you are essentially planning for two key things:
- Determining which events will result in what kind of impact (taken from the BIA report)
- Determining what actions to take in case these events occur
Instances and examples of these strategies
Check out the below DR and BC strategies that are usually implemented in the real world scenario:
1. Business continuity tactics
- Vacate the existing workplace and relocate your business to a pre-arranged alternative work location
- The substitute area is completely ready to be occupied, or can be arranged for occupancy within a short span.
- New arrangements will depend on Recovery Times Objectives (RTO)
- New arrangements will also depend the availability of transportation.
- Work from Home
- Pre-installed broadband connection to ensure Virtual / VPN based workplace
- There should be adequate number of network points to ensure that higher usage requirement are met without glitches
- Shift key staff to hot site
- A well-defined hot site program is factored into the BC planning
- This site is ready for use at short notice.
- Have a succession planning tactic in place. This helps to make sure that business practices and operations aren’t disrupted when a specialist or senior person is no longer available to carry out his responsibilities.
- Shift your existing staff to nearby place of accommodation and arrange a temporary workplace
- Have a pre-determined and pre-agreed contract with a hotel to ensure that this can be done when disaster actually strikes
- Shift your to a new office branch/ location
- Organizations having multiple office locations can choose to house employees temporarily.
- These individual offices must have proper access to the company’s network.
2. Disaster Recovery Tactics
2.1 Turn on a pre-designed secondary center for recovery and shift production there
- The secondary data center will have enough resources such as server hardware, storage capacity for accommodating additional processing needs.
2.2 Subscribe to a cloud based recovery service, transfer mission critical IT systems there and commence production.
- Make sure that your contract with the cloud service provider factors in the flexibility to move in quickly and deploy the resources
- Also make sure that security measures are in place to maintain data integrity and client confidence
2.3 Get your assets, resources and key personnel to a hot sire and ensure continuous running of operations
- Assess your declaration fees and agreement with the hot site owner
- Check for last moment readiness of the site
2.4 Get spare components and replace damaged instruments with these spares
- Ensure that these components are available at the least
- spare systems,
- circuit boards,
- power supplies,
- soft and hard copies of critical documentation,
- backup system software disks.
2.5 Get virtual machines installed and operating at alternate sites
- Develop VM clones at these alternate site
- Make sure they are kept in sync with primary servers so that VMs can replicate the primary servers at a moment’s notice
2.6 Turn on a pre-configured substitute network route. Re-route voice and data to this substitute route in case of disaster
- Make sure the network infrastructure can accommodate diversely routed local access channels
- Set up and configure high-capacity circuit routing.
The Key to Strategy is Right Implementation
As strategies get incorporated into BC and DR plans, strategy definition happens to be a highly critical aspect of the BC/DR process. No matter what strategies you devise, they will be translated into logical series of actions. These action responses will prove to be highly beneficial in achieving your goal, which happens to be the resumption and recovery of your business venture.
Let’s get down to finding how these strategies work. Suppose, you choose to make your staff work from their homes, in response to a severe calamity such as winter storms. The below table will offer you a gamut of response steps worth taking in this context.
|a. Monitoring the weather reports and updates on the winter storm.
b. Monitoring status of highways as well as public transports.
c. Emergency response teams must find out the exact conditions, by conducting periodic conference calls.
d. Create and send messages to the entire workforce, asking them to work from home. You must also call their supervisors immediately.
e. Under the assumption that commuting will be risky, the emergency team asks staff to work from home.
f. The emergency team also enquires about the availability of resources from IT workforces, thus ensuring they have sufficient resources as well as remote network support for employees working from homes.
g. Based on the assumptions that resources can be arranged for within short time, emergency team suggests working from home.
h. Emergency team broadcasts messages asking workers to work from their respective residences along with contacting their supervisors.
i. The emergency team seeks assistance from local television and radio channels to broadcast ‘remain-at-home’ messages.
j. The team posts the same message on Twitter or Facebook.
k. Emergency response group monitors the activities of the storm and keeps staff and other organizations updated on the matter.
To Sign off
- At time of BC/DR strategizing, make sure that its design aligns with the highly critical operational issues of your business
- The design stage also needs to guarantee reduction of risks outlined in the BIA and RA reports
- The implementation of the strategy needs to make sure that they fulfil your response goals.
- Lastly, take care to ensure that these responses and strategies are still relevant to mitigate operational risks, even at the time of performance reviews within the department and organization.