Ten Commandments of Disaster Recovery

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10 Commandments of Disaster Recovery According to Janco Associates, Inc.

How much can a flawed disaster recovery and business continuity plan cost you? Try an average of $90,000 for every hour of downtime among corporations, according to Strategic Research. Whether we're talking a hurricane, flood, terrorism or simply a loss of power, CIOs must consider every worst-case scenario and come up with a comprehensive failover and response strategy. In fact, the survival rate for companies without a disaster recovery plan is less than 10 percent, according to a study from Touche Ross. To lend proper guidance, Janco Associates has come up with the following "Ten Commandments of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity" list of best practices. They cover a comprehensive range of needs, including proper documentation, information accountability and multiple-testing processes. In other research from Janco in which more than 180 enterprises were surveyed, nearly 67 percent reported that errors in planning accounted for disaster-recovery failures—the top reason cited. The next highest are outdated plans (51 percent), inability to find passwords (37 percent) and insufficient backup power (24 percent). For more about Janco's Ten Commandments list, click here. For more about the survey, click here.

  1. "Thou Shalt Analyze Single Points of Failure."  A single point of failure in a critical component can disrupt any redundancies and resilience within the rest of the system.
  2. "Thou Shalt Keep Updated Notification Trees."  You need cohesive communications to make sure everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan.
  3. "Thou Shalt Remain Aware of Current Events."  Always stay on top of any weather—or sporting or political events—that can impact your enterprise operations.
  4. "Thou Shalt Consider Every Possible Disruption."  Beyond natural and civic events, there are instances of operator error, component failure, software failure, power outages and even planned downtime.
  5. "Thou Shalt Document the Recovery Process."  Write up all of the steps for failover in a clear, concise but detailed way so secondary staffers can manage if the primary team members are unavailable.
  6. "Thou Shalt Centralize Information."  Whether located via SharePoint, a portal or a cloud platform, everyone involved in the recovery must know where the playbook is kept.
  7. "Thou Shalt Create Test Plans and Scripts."  Scripts must include integration testing, as silo testing alone does not accurately reflect multiple applications going down at once.
  8. "Thou Shalt Retest Regularly."  Especially when there are new releases, code changes and upgrades. Look to do retesting at least once a year.
  9. "Thou Shalt Perform Comprehensive Recovery and Business Continuity Testing."  Practice the master recovery plan, not just app failover. This includes disaster-reporting strategies and the establishment of a command center and conference bridges.
  10. "Thou Shalt Define Metrics and Distribute 'Scores.' "  Grade the recovery compliance of each application, along with who is testing and when. This will help increase audit scores.

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