With the end of the year looming larger and larger, it’s time for a review of trends that have marked BC in 2012 so far, and that will likely continue to do so into the next year. Four important ones are rooted in information technology: cloud computing, mobile devices in the workforce, social networking and virtualisation. However, their usefulness in business continuity plans is not necessarily restricted to the continuity of an organisation’s IT, as the use of mobile devices and social networking in particular both show.
Posts Tagged ‘IT Disaster Recovery’
Now that people in many organisations expect to be able to use their own mobile computing devices at work, it may be time to update business continuity plan best practices. At the moment, the BYOD (Bring Your own Device) challenge seems to have caught enterprises on the hop. Managing the use of tablets and smartphones when they were issued by the company was already a challenge. Trying to cope with devices brought in by employees has raised the level of difficulty yet higher. How will organisations encourage productivity without laying themselves open to breaches of data security that could destroy the business continuity they seek to create? (more…)
Companies today are often so focused on the secure storage of data that they miss the point about which data is really worth storing. A recent article by a Storage Networking Industry Association member made the point that “stale data backup” afflicts many organisations. It’s a problem that is as much cultural as technological. In this age, storage space seems so massive and cheap, at least on a personal computing space, that there is no need to ever throw any data away again, no matter how useless it is.
MTO and RTO are integral parts of disaster recovery planning, but they can also be used outside of that context. To recap on their definitions, MTO (Maximum Tolerable Outage) is the maximum amount of time that a process or facility can be unavailable before significant disruption and/or financial loss occurs to an organisation. RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the organisation’s goal for getting back to a normal situation in the event of an outage. In DR planning, RTO is normally less than MTO – otherwise, disasters could officially occur even though objectives were being met.
Discussions about whether to go for disk or tape as a back-up medium are frequent, but there’s still no knock-out result one way or the other. To reach any conclusion, you need to know the advantages
of tape backup in disaster recovery, and how to sidestep any tape backup risks. In many instances, the pros of tape are the cons of disk, and vice versa. Small wonder therefore that they can complement each other for a reliable, cost-effective solution. Is a balanced combination of both disk and tape then better than using either one exclusively? (more…)
Consider the scenario of losing your primary premises due to fire. Can you answer these questions?
- How much revenue would you lose being out of action for a day, a week or a month?
- Have you got an alternate location to operate your business from?
- Is your data regularly sent off site and ready to be restored into backup systems?
- What are your critical paper records and how do you continue to operate if they were destroyed?
Every business, regardless of its size, should be confident in the answers to these questions and should be making an informed choice about the cost of implementing business continuity strategies and IT disaster recovery solutions versus the risk\cost of not doing anything.
Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) often don’t have the budget or resources to spend months implementing a business continuity project. But SME’s still have a need for BCP, just as much as bigger organisations. Quite often all of the physical resources, especially IT equipment are concentrated in the one location which can increase the risk. Sometimes without dedicated IT staff, the backup and restoration practices may not be sufficient to help them recover from a loss of premises type incident.
At OpsCentre we’ve refined the art of the ‘Quick Start’ BCP and can deliver a business continuity plan for suitable small to medium enterprises within 1-2 weeks. If your organization needs assistance with getting a business continuity plan in place we can help. Contact us and let us know what you need.
Gartner and Sungard partnered to produce research regarding ways that backup and recovery can be optimised to reduce or contain costs.
The report contains some useful tips and considerations for IT Managers/Directors that are looking for ways to manage IT costs.
If an organization experiences a ‘denial of access’ or ‘loss of premises’ due to incidents such as extended power outage, flood or fire, an alternate location for critical business processes and staff needs to be established.
An Alternate Site is the premises to which a business unit may transfer its operations in the event of a business continuity incident. This is sometimes also known by the name Fallback Site or Recovery Site.
There are a number of different options that can be used as an Alternate Site depending on organization’s overall BCP strategy, recovery time frame requirements, budget etc. These are:
Commercial Recovery Site
In most capital cities there are organizations that provide both dedicated and shared recovery seats and some provide IT recovery infrastructure as well. Annual leasing fees are paid based on the number and type of seats required as well as for any IT equipment, storage of your IT equipment and other related services.
Internal Property Assets
Sometimes organizations may have other property assets which have vacant, underutilized or lower priority business functions housed there. These could be designated as an Alternate Site for a higher priority business function should the BCP need to be invoked. This is why it is important to have a clear prioritization of your business functions from the BIA as it will ensure lower priority business functions are vacated in the event of a significant business disruption to enable operations of a higher criticality to continue. It is also vital to have a displacement plan in place for the regular staff of the Alternate Site so everyone knows where they are going. Other considerations when planning how to use the displaced Alternate Site are transport, parking, seating, security access and IT requirements.
Often staff are already geared up to telecommute and this does offer a low cost solution that suits many business functions. However there still needs to be a clear plan around which business functions are expected to telecommute and to ensure they have the resources such as IT equipment and remote access in order to do their jobs.
Vacant seats or displaced seats at a partner \third party organization
On some occasions there is a partner\third party organization that have capacity to house additional staff should the need arise. This may be a reciprocal arrangement. If an organization needs to rely on this type of arrangement it should be formalized and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the seats are able to be made available should they be needed and to outline any commercial terms.
Commercial Serviced Offices
A commercial serviced office will certainly have the meeting room, seating and internet access required to get many people up and running initially. However, as this is a first-in first-served arrangement it is not recommended that this be relied upon as the sole recovery site for critical functions. If the serviced office is likely to be subject to increased demand from other organizations affected by the incident, you may not be able to get in as expected. It is still a useful contingency to have the contact details for some serviced offices both near the office and geographically separate as well. Hotels are also another option as they will typically have a business centre and meeting rooms.
In all instances it is best practice to maintain geographic distance between your primary site and your Alternate Site(s) in case there is a widespread incident affecting the general area of your primary site, for example, a large power outage. If your Alternate Site is too close, it may be affected as well.
Whichever type of Alternate Site is selected it is vital to include this as part of your regular Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery testing exercises to build staff familiarity and ensure that they can activate and function as you planned.