Consultant's Notebook
Practical Business Recovery/Disaster Planning
 
 


Three Principles of Practical Business Recovery

  • Build it in – don’t add it on
  • Adopt business recovery – don’t implement it
  • Test, test, test – don’t just plan, plan, plan

Build It In – During Design Phase

  • Redundancy
    • Equipment (hardware and software)
    • Connectivity
    • Data
    • Facility
    • People
  • Capacity
    • Excess isn’t excessive
  • Utilization Solution
    • Dual uses for as much as possible
      • Development
      • Testing
      • Training

Adopt – Don’t Just Implement

  • Processes
    • Automatic synchronization
    • Server based software
  • People
    • Keep knowledge spread among many
  • Mindset
    • People hate change – but they will do it when it makes sense to them
    • Duplicate all critical material ( Yes, all  )
  • Small costs can have big impact
    • E.g. home connectivity for critical users

Testing is Better Than Planning

  • Usual Proposal from Recovery Consulting Vendors:
    • Massive, complex plan – many books (that sit on a shelf, unread and unused)
    • Test (when you can)
  • Better Method
    • Have many smaller distributed plans.
    • Test often – very often.
    • Test using the actual people who will (or may) recover.

Plans Are Necessary

  • Better to have a tested plan that has been used
       than to have a more robust plan that no one reads
  • Many small plans are better
    • Like the Internet
      • More resilient
      • More redundant
    • Coordination is an issue
      • Testing is the solution

Testing is Absolutely Necessary

  • Critical Success Factors
    • Realistic: actual people doing actual tasks
    • Repeated: at least annual; semi-annual is better
    • Partnerships: not adversarial
    • Non-judgmental: errors are good in tests
  • People gain confidence
    • Not a map – I’ve been there
    • I know the server works – I use it every week
    • I know how to use server based systems – I did it last month

Testing The Site

  • Test at least once annually
    • Twice when there are major changes
  • Real people do real tasks: e.g.
    • Payroll
    • Purchasing
    • Accounts Payable
    • Customer Service
    • Electronic Mail

Basic Concepts

  • Build it in
  • Adopt the mindset
  • Test, test, test

Moving Forward

  • Backup critical people
  • Better documentation of critical processes
  • More cross training to reduce “failure” points
  • Geographic dispersion of trained people
    • Temporal separation helps, but it’s not sufficient

Next Steps

This Consultant Note is a summary of the approach we use to help improve the implementation and effectiveness of business recovery / disaster planning initiatives. To help you achieve better payoff from your business recovery operation, contact us or email to info@christophertechnology.com.

Some of the material in this Note was originally presented at the annual meeting of the Information Systems Management Forum in Tampa, Florida, December 2001.

© Copyright 2002-2003, Christopher Technology Consulting LLC

 

 
Home     Services     Case Studies     Biography     Contact Us
Christopher Technology Consulting, 1552 Lakeport Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Voice: 757-373-1454 Fax: 810-885-5312 email: info@christophertechnology.com