Management Consultancy

Disaster Recovery

Ensuring the business can continue in the event of a disaster is a business wide concern, with the responsibility falling on senior operations management. It is not just a technical matter for the IT function. Our approach is split into three phases.

Phase 1 – Determine the Policies

Before the detailed Disaster Recovery (DR) plans and Buisness Continuity Planning (BCP) can be developed, a series of high-level policies need to be determined:

  • Perform a high-level business impact analysis to establish the criticality of data, systems, processes and people.
  • Clarify the scope of the DR plans and BCP. Identify scenarios for disasters that are to be catered for and the areas of the business that are covered. For example, unlikely and unquantifiable scenarios, such as war, may be considered outside the scope.
  • Agree how to identify a disaster and how to invoke the BCP.
  • Document and categorise potential disasters to determine appropriate courses of action.
  • Determine a procedure for resuming normal business. This requires as much careful planning as the original disaster recovery.

Identify the high-level roles and responsibilities of individuals in a disaster.

Phase 2 – Develop a Plan for Head Office and Central Services Building

Typically a central or Head Office supplies a variety of services to other regional offices, such as IT, HR, Finance and payroll and the disaster recovery plan should concentrate on this.

  • Develop and document a detailed yet concise plan. The plan should include invocation procedures and all the key information required to support rapid action. It must be easy to read, up to date and accessible.
  • Ensure all facilities are in place to support the agreed plan. It may be necessary to implement new facilities, procedures and technology, such as space and access (distance, capacity, etc), support (off-site backups, support contracts), business functions (do you move staff or transfer function?), IT and so on. Don’t forget utilities, stationery, redirecting post, telephone directories!
  • Communicate and test the disaster recovery plans.

Phase 3 – Develop a plan for the regional offices

  • Develop a template plan that can be applied to all regional offices. The template must be consistent with the head office plans.
  • Pilot the template by developing the detail plans for a selected office.
  • Train staff in the production of plans for all other offices using the developed template.
  • Review the plans produced.
  • Ensure that local facilities are in place to support the agreed plan. It may be necessary to implement new facilities, procedures and technology to support the plan.
  • Test all (or a sample) of the disaster recovery/business continuity plans.

The Deliverables:

  • A DR/BCP policy document. This is maintained in line with the business strategy.
  • DR/BCP plans and templates. These are maintained in line with systems and procedures, and exist to fulfil the policy document.
  • Testing procedures, documentation and results, which support bi-annual testing.