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Disaster Recovery Planning - Minimizing Business Interruptions During Disasters


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Disaster Recovery Planning

Minimizing Business Interruptions


Disaster Recovery Planning
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Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) is not just about computer system availability.  While this was the original concept, today, the definition of disaster recovery has been broadened to mean: "The ability to respond to an interruption in services by implementing a disaster recovery plan to restore an organization's critical business functions."   Business continuity planning includes disaster recovery for computer systems and services as one component while stressing continuous availability of all critical services.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster recovery planning is the technological aspect of business continuity planning. This is meant to include the plans and preparations which are necessary to minimize loss and ensure continuity of the critical business functions of an organization in the event of disaster. 

Disaster recovery (DR) has taken on a new sense of urgency in recent years.  Emerging issues like terrorism, hackers, computer viruses, an increased reliance on computers, and the increasing occurrence of emergencies and disasters have all led to increase our focus on preparing for disasters.  

Disaster recovery planning is a crucial component of enterprise risk management and business continuity planning. It is essential for ensuring continuity of operations.  Prior to the creation of a disaster recovery plan, it is essential to review the entire business continuity plan and to consider the potential impacts of disasters.  A business impact analysis must be performed so that you can understand the underlying risks.  This comprehensive planning process is the foundation upon which a sound disaster recovery plan should be built. 

In today's interconnected economy, organizations are more vulnerable than ever to the possibility of technical difficulties disrupting business.  Any disaster, from floods and fires to viruses and cyber terrorism, can affect the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of critical business resources and leave an organization virtually dead in the water.  In our wired economy, these business interruptions can quickly lead to losses in the millions.

Disaster recovery strategies include the use of alternate sites (hot, warm, and cold sites); redundant data centers; disaster insurance; business impact analyses; and legal liabilities. 

The Disaster Recovery Process

The first step in the disaster recovery process is to perform a business impact analysis that considers all of the the potential impacts from each type of disaster.  Disaster Recovery Plans should consider how to deal with these possible events:

  • Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Fire, Flood, Storms)
  • Terrorist Acts (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
  • Power Disruptions, Power Failure
  • Computer Software or Hardware Failures
  • Computer Shutdowns due to Hackers, Viruses, etc.
  • Processing Shutdowns
  • Labor Strife (Walkouts, Shutdowns)

Having determined the potential events you must next look at the impacts of each event and the magnitude of the resulting disruptions.  This critical activity will determine which scenarios are most likely to occur and what recovery processes are needed.


Your disaster recovery plan must be integrated with your overall enterprise continuity management approach and must be tested through drills and exercises that test your plans, your people, and your tools.


Business Continuity Management

Emergency Management


What Now? - Best-Laid Plans

Disaster Planning....Who Needs It? Part One - Part Two


Disaster Recovery Journal - includes a disaster recovery glossary

The Disaster Recovery Guide - business continuity planning information, guidance, tips, and links to a range of resources.

Disaster Information Resources Program - Volunteers in Technical Assistance

The Disaster Resource Guide 

Sample Disaster Recovery Plans

Disaster Recovery Sample Plans

Disaster Recovery Plan Model 

Contingency Plan Outline 

DR Project Plan Outline 

Sample DRP

Other Resources

Disaster Resources

The Disaster Center

Hard Drive Recovery Group - Data Recovery - Offers worldwide RAID, disk, and hard drive data recovery services.

Internet Disaster Information Network

Emergency Preparedness Information Exchange

University of Wisconsin - Disaster Management Center

Disaster Recovery Planning - this book examines the causes of computer system failures, and explains how to create a disaster recovery plan to prevent disasters or minimize the impact of disasters that cannot be avoided. It provides a detailed analysis of disaster avoidance systems and also covers the politics of disaster recovery planning.

See other Continuity Management Books

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DavisLogic, operating as All Hands Consulting, provides homeland security consulting, business continuity planning and comprehensive emergency management program support.

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Last updated: Sunday, October 30, 2005 09:49 AM

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