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It is perhaps inevitable that for an entire generation, the word "disaster" will be inexorably linked to the horrific events that shattered a pleasant morning in New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001.

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Introduction

It is perhaps inevitable that for an entire generation, the word "disaster" will be inexorably linked to the horrific events that shattered a pleasant morning in New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from 9/11, from a disaster recovery perspective, is one of business dependency on information technology and, by extension, its vulnerability to the unplanned interruption of access to information technology (IT) of infrastructure. Driven by the incentives of cost-efficiency and competition, business has placed more and more of its critical information assets into automated systems and networks. This, in turn, has made business dependent upon the uninterrupted function of the machine, a dependency rarely perceived by those within the corporation who have no direct contact with the IT infrastructure itself. The consequences of a loss of access to the IT infrastructure to the business may never be considered-until a disaster occurs. By then, it is often too late. Disaster Planning consists of a set of activities intended to prevent avoidable instances of unplanned interruption, regardless of cause, and to minimize the impact of interruption events that cannot be avoided. To plan is the act of formulating a program for a definite course of action. The term disaster, in the context of this essay, means the unplanned interruption of normal business processes resulting from the interruption of the information technology (IT) ...read more.

Middle

Disaster planning supports this requirement by establishing thorough plans, procedures, and technical measures that can enable a system to be recovered quickly and effectively following a service disruption or disaster. The business resumption plan should aim at achieving a systematic and orderly resumption of all the organizations IT services. The plan should provide for restoring service as soon as possible. Those functions that are most critical to achieving the agency mission must remain in operation during the recovery period. There are nine major phases in the disaster planning process, they are namely: Project Planning, Critical Business Requirements, Recovery Strategies, Emergency Response/Problem Escalation, Plan Activation, Recovery Operations, Training, Testing, and Plan Maintenance. In the Project Planning phase we define the project scope, organize the project, and identify the resources needed. Within this phase a preliminary management commitment is obtained, a disaster recovery/business resumption manager is designated, a disaster recovery/business resumption planning team is organized, current recovery preparedness is audited, the project schedule developed, documentation procedures specified, the recovery program overview defined, and the scope and aim of the disaster recovery/business resumption plan identified. Within the Critical Business Requirements phase we identify the business functions most important to protect, and the means to protect them, analyse risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. An organisation may carry out hundreds of operations that management and staff consider important. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an important goal in the event that paper or electronic versions of the plan are unavailable for the first few hours resulting from the extent of the disaster. The Testing phase makes sure the plan works effectively. Plan testing is a critical element of a viable contingency capability. Testing enables plan deficiencies to be identified and addressed. Testing also helps evaluate the ability of the recovery staff to implement the plan quickly and effectively. Each IT contingency plan element should be tested to confirm the accuracy of individual recovery procedures and the overall effectiveness of the plan. The final phase, the Plan Maintenance phase makes changes and additions to keep the plan current. To be effective, the plan must be maintained in a ready state that accurately reflects system requirements, procedures, organizational structure, and policies. IT systems undergo frequent changes because of shifting business needs, technology upgrades, or new internal or external policies. Therefore, it is essential that the contingency plan be reviewed and updated regularly, as part of the organization's change management process, to ensure new information is documented and contingency measures are revised if required. As a general rule, the plan should be reviewed for accuracy and completeness at least annually or whenever significant changes occur to any element of the plan. Certain elements will require more frequent reviews, such as contact lists. Based on the system type and criticality, it may be reasonable to evaluate plan contents and procedures more frequently. ...read more.

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