4 Steps for Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparation remains critical to a company’s operational longevity. Looking “above and beyond” data recovery could mean the survival of your business. In Adam Montella’s Wall Street & Technology article, he effectively addresses basic, yet vital, preparedness issues for businesses small and large. Montella, a homeland security and emergency management expert, provides coverage of Business Continuity Plan (BCP) issues that are worth revisiting.

“During a catastrophic event, many organizations are forced to put their BCP and IT disaster recovery infrastructure into action,” Montella writes in his article. “Many more organizations, however, find that the lack of a plan or failover capabilities makes an already difficult task insurmountable. In a hopeless situation, the presence of a detailed BCP plan can create hope.”

However, while protecting valuable data should be a big part of your company’s BCP, it’s only a part of the total preparedness solution. Montella reminds readers that it’s not just about the data. Having a comprehensive plan in place when disaster strikes is essential. Ask these essential questions when creating or reassessing your plan:

  • What are your internal and external communication avenues?
  • How will your organization ensure it can get your personnel to your hot site?

“An IT disaster recovery plan is only a small part of an overall business continuity plan,” according to Montella. The most important aspects of an effective disaster recovery are planning and training, which need to be done far ahead of the event. “The planning process is more important than the plan itself,” he said.

Here are four steps that Montella advises every business must follow when creating a BCP:

Step 1: Involve everyone, including all stakeholders. Consider different priorities and timeframes for bringing systems back online and restoring services. Don’t forget to confer with government, private industry and community organizations when it makes sense.

Step 2: Plan for the worst-case scenario. Consider organizational vulnerabilities, such as location and security threats. Also take into account your organization’s vulnerabilities. “When you write your plan, consider the capabilities and resources that exist today — not what you are planning toward or will eventually purchase,” according to Montella.

Step 3: Train and exercise the plan. The plan is no good if employees don’t know about it or how to use it! “One of the most critical steps in the planning process is to test the plan. Short of an actual disaster, the easiest and most efficient way to test a plan is through a training exercise.”

Step 4: Putting it all together. Once the plan is created, communicated, and tested, now what? Remember to also consider your employees’ personal and family needs during and after a disaster. And continue to reevaluate, communicate and test.

For more information about business continuity planning, read the full article:http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/technology-risk-management/229401007