Business: Disaster Recovery Demands a Proactive Approach
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“Managers often don’t think disasters through; what the full impact on the business will be. In the case of businesses that have got a plan in place, a crucial mistake is not having dry runs of the plan or a regular basis, testing if it actually works and where it falls short. There’s also often confusion as to what a data centre actually is – I don’t believe enough companies have sufficient knowledge of these in terms of their security and firewalls, and this means they don’t usually test both the recovery and the telecoms components of their data centres.”
Wentzel says disaster recovery must be driven from the top as it not only involves or implies IT. The business continuity aspects are typically overlooked. As such, the board of directors must be involved as they are ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the business and are answerable to the shareholders, regardless of the catastrophe they may be facing. The CIO will play a crucial part in helping to put the plan together, as he will be responsible for the hardware and software components of this.
“As a proactive management-controlled programme, a DRP mitigates the technology-related consequences of a business interruption event to a level acceptable to management. Also, the DRP provides a proven and tested methodology to effectively permit resumption of interrupted business technologies such as databases, operating systems, client/server and telecommunications.”
Without an effective DRP, businesses can experience significant cash flow reduction with excessive financial expenditures due to any of the following:
n Inability to maintain customer support due to system downtime.
n Inability to process transactions with your supply chain.
n Excessive non-budgeted expenditures on technology to resume normal operations.
n Inability of key vendors to supply needed equipment within the time frames defined by business objectives.
n Loss of vital and/or critical business data.
n Inability to validate data process flows and integrity.
n Increase in employee stress and decrease in moral.
n Negative public perception.
For businesses which are new to recovery planning, reigning in the help of an expert is the way to go, Wentzel advises. Consider engaging a consultant (internal or external to your organisation) to help you in your project planning. What is important to remember is that DRP is not a two-month project, neither is it a project that once completed, you can forget about. An effective recovery plan is a live recovery plan. The plan must be maintained current and tested/exercised regularly, Wentzel concludes.
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