Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What are DR and BCP? (Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning).

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Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery must take into account how a business is run and the different elements required keeping the business going. These needs vary from business to business, and a good disaster recovery plan should be designed for the individual business’s needs. Using a generic disaster recovery strategy is better than nothing, but it may stress elements that are less important to your business, or worse, leave out critical aspects.

Data safety is perhaps one of the most crucial and overlooked aspects of disaster recovery. Data disaster recovery often includes making frequent backups of all critical data and records, both digital and hard copies, and storing them in a secure, remote location.

It is also important to keep in mind the time frame for disaster recovery. If your company needs to be able to recover almost instantly from a disaster, much more complex and redundant steps must be taken than if you have the ability to spend more time recovering. If your company works in a real time, online environment, you need multiple backup systems standing by so that, in the event of a disaster, they can instantly come online. If your company works in longer time frames, then allowing for several hours or days to recover records, organize documents, and resume work may be acceptable.

Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning is the process whereby organizations ensure the maintenance of critical operations when confronted with adverse events such as natural disasters, technology failures, human errors, or unexpected incidents.  The objectives of a business continuity plan are to minimize loss to the organization, continue to serve customers, and maintain administrative operations.

After an incident resulting in physical property damage occurs, a proper and thorough site/damage assessment must be performed, not only to determine the extent of the damage, potential recovery time frames and costs, but to ensure the safe and healthful entry requirements for personnel entering into the damaged environment.

BCP explains the risk assessment for the damages causes due to fire, water, hazardous material contamination or Network cable break outs, in case of IT. A well designed and maintained site and damage assessment plan that includes pre-loss site safety audits, along with disaster avoidance, mitigation and good loss control and waste management practices should be an integral part of an organization’s business and service continuity planning effort.

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