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The primary objective of a Business regarding the IT Disaster recovery Plan is to enable an organization to survive a disaster and to re-establish normal business operations the fastest and with the less impact in the organization. In order to survive, the organization must assure that critical operations can resume normal processing within a reasonable time frame. Therefore, the goals of the Business Resumption Plan should be to:
- Identify weaknesses and implement a disaster prevention program.
- Minimize the duration of a serious disruption to business operations.
- Facilitate effective co-ordination of recovery tasks.
- Reduce the complexity of the recovery effort.
Historically, the data processing function alone has been assigned the responsibility for providing contingency planning. Frequently, this has led to the development of recovery plans to restore computer resources in a manner that is not fully responsive to the needs of the business supported by those resources. Contingency planning is a business issue rather than a data processing issue. In today's environment, the effects of long-term operations outage may have a catastrophic impact. The development of a viable recovery strategy must, therefore, be a product not only of the provider's of the organization's data processing, communications and operations centre services, but also the users of those services and management personnel who have responsibility for the protection of the organization's assets.
The methodology used to develop the plans, emphasize the following key points:
- Providing management with a comprehensive understanding of the total effort required to develop and maintain an effective recovery plan;
- Obtaining commitment from appropriate management to support and participate in the effort;
- Defining recovery requirements from the perspective of business functions;
- Documenting the impact of an extended loss to operations and key business functions;
- Focusing appropriately on disaster prevention and impact minimization, as well as orderly recovery;
- Selecting project teams that ensure the proper balance required for plan development;
- Developing a contingency plan that is understandable, easy to use and easy to maintain; and
- Defining how contingency-planning considerations must be integrated into ongoing business planning and system development processes in order for the plan to remain viable over time.
The successful and cost effective completion of such a project requires the close cooperation of management from all areas of Information Systems as well as business areas supported by Information Systems. Senior personnel from Information Systems and user areas must be significantly involved throughout the project for the planning process to be successful.
In closing, it is important to keep in mind that the aim of the planning process is to:
- Assess existing vulnerabilities
- Implement disaster avoidance and prevention procedures;
- Develop a comprehensive plan that will enable the organization to react appropriately and in a timely manner if disaster strikes.
Garry IT will maximize the flexibility needed to deal with the implementation of a plan in the most efficient manner possible. Recovery plans should be treated as living documents. Both the information processing and the business environments are constantly changing and becoming more integrated and complex. Recovery plans must keep pace with these changes. Continuous testing/exercising of plans is essential if the organization wants to ensure that recovery capability is maintained in such an environment. The organization also must ensure that staff with recovery responsibilities are prepared to execute the plans.
The successful development and implementation of recovery and resumption programs in other organizations is the goal for Garry IT and dedication of a full-time resource to recovery/business continuity planning.