The Disaster Recovery Handbook

A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets

The Disaster Recovery Handbook

Authors: Michael Wallace, Lawrence Webber
Pub Date: December 2017
Print Edition: $65.00
Print ISBN: 9780814438763
Page Count: 544
Format: Hardback
Edition: Third Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814438770

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

GETTING STARTED: Overview of the Project

Nothing is impossible for the man 
who doesn't have to do it himself.

--A. H. Weiler

INTRODUCTION

The job of a business executive requires coordination of the many activities necessary to create a successful business. Markets must be analyzed, potential customers identified, strategies for creating and delivering products and services must be developed, financial goals established and reported, legislative mandates followed, and many different stakeholders satisfied. To ensure that these objectives are met, businesses eventually develop a series of processes designed to produce the desired result. But the world is a dangerous place. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, pandemics, snowstorms, fire, and other natural disasters can strike at any time and interrupt these important processes. Terrorism, riots, arson, sabotage, and other human-created disasters can also damage your business. Accidents and equipment failures are guaranteed to happen. As an executive responsible for the well-being of your organization, it is critical that you have a plan in place to ensure that your business can continue its operations after such a disaster and to protect vital operations, facilities, and assets.

You do this just like you do any other important task; you analyze the situation and create a plan. A disaster recovery plan keeps you in business after a disaster by helping to minimize the damage and allowing your organization to recover as quickly as possible. While you can't prevent every disaster, you can with proper planning mitigate the damage and get back to work quickly and efficiently. The key is having a well-thought-out and up-to-date disaster recovery plan. This chapter will lead you through the creation and implementation of a project plan for creating an effective disaster recovery plan.

Disaster recovery is to recover from a significant disaster, such as a roof collapse in the computer room or a fire in a significant portion of the offices. A disaster almost always requires rebuilding a portion of the business in a recovery area in a very short time. Business continuity, also known as business resilience, involves identifying and mitigating critical machines that may fail. For example, a failure of the database server may close down online customer orders, so a second server is clustered and the disk storage is mirrored to provide redundancy.

THE DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN PROJECT

Building a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is much like any other business project. A formal project management process is necessary to coordinate the various players and company disciplines required to successfully deliver the desired results of the project. This chapter will give you a high-level roadmap of what you should expect as you prepare to lead or manage a disaster recovery project. A sample project plan is included in the companion url accompanying this book. Adapt this chapter and the project plan to fit your business goals, company timeline, and scope of project.

Most projects tend to run in a well-defined sequence. For example, to build a new house, first you clear the land, then build the foundation, then build a floor, and so on. Many things cannot begin until the previous step is completed. A business continuity plan (BCP) project is a bit different. In the project's early stages, most actions logically follow each other. However, once the basic elements are in place, the project bursts out onto parallel tracks, as each department documents its own area. How you proceed in your company is, of course, determined by your corporate culture, the resources available to work with to complete the process, and the level of visible support from the project's sponsor. Most business continuity projects follow these steps:

1. An executive within the organization decides that a business continuity plan is needed. This might be due to an auditor's report or the result of a business disruption that was more financially painful than it would have been if a plan had been in place. Or it could be that an alert employee realized that a good plan did not exist and brought this to the executive's attention. This executive usually becomes the sponsor for the project.

2. The first (and most important) step that the sponsor takes is to select someone to lead the project. This person is most often called the Business Continuity Manager and is responsible for the successful completion of the project.

3. The project sponsor and the Business Continuity Manager meet to clearly define the scope of the project, the project timeline, and expectations. The Business Continuity Manager must be comfortable that the resources available are adequate to meet all the objectives of the project.

4. The Business Continuity Manager selects the team that will work together to complete the project. Both technical and political considerations are important in selecting a team that can successfully develop a workable business continuity plan.

5. The Business Continuity Manager together with the team now develops the project plan to be used in managing the project. Tasks are identified and assigned, task durations calculated, and activities are sequenced as the project plans are developed.

6. The project plans are executed. The Business Continuity Manager oversees the project as the plan unfolds, keeping everyone focused on completing their tasks and ensuring that milestones are met and that important stakeholders are kept informed as to the project's progress. It is here where the actual continuity plans for the organization are created.

7. Once the business continuity plans have been developed and tested, the Business Continuity Manager closes the project by making sure that everything was documented properly and handing the project results over to the individual(s) responsible for keeping the plan up to date. Each affected department will usually have someone responsible for keeping their portion of the plan current. A report is also generated for the sponsor recapping the project and documenting lessons learned.

In many organizations, the job of Business Continuity Manager is not taken as seriously as it should be. Management in these organizations only wants you to write something, anything to make the auditors go away. That's okay because as you build the plan, and as they begin to see the benefits, their interest and support will grow.

A project plan organizes the team so members focus their skills on specific actions to get the job done. This respects their time and brings the project to a prompt, but successful, solution.

Excerpted from THE DISASTER RECOVERY HANDBOOK, Third Edition: A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets by Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber. Copyright © 2018 Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved. http://www.amacombooks.org.

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