Disaster Recovery Extra: 10 hidden perils of DR planning


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9. The usual people might not be available.

Companies assume their own personnel will be available for the recovery operation. But think about all the different types of disasters and consider whether this assumption is reasonable. Perhaps your disaster involves significant amounts of water, snow or wind. Any one of those can make it impossible for an employee to make it to the office after the disaster. If a bridge is out or a road is impassable, your key personnel may be prevented from getting to the recovery site. If your DR plan assumes that your personnel will be available, it assumes too much. You must make accommodations for retaining knowledgeable, temporary personnel in your DR plan.


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Learn more about disaster recovery
A good place to start when considering a disaster recovery (DR) plan is with one or more of the various directories for DR services. Simply looking at the table of contents on these sites should help you realize how much work goes into constructing a comprehensive DR plan.

Check out the "Disaster Recovery Yellow Pages" at www.disaster-help.com/toc.html, as well as the Edwards Disaster Recovery Directory from Edwards Information LLC at http://disasterrecoveryyp.com.

And don't forget that DRI International (www.drii.org) certifies DR and business-continuity professionals.

10. The documentation isn't up to the job.

If you assume that your personnel won't be available in a true disaster, then your documentation better be first-rate. In the real world, most documentation isn't. Poorly maintained documentation may be out of date, refer to a software version that hasn't been used in months or years, or cite names of systems and commands that no longer exist.

A long-term employee, who has worked at the company since the last time the documents were updated, could probably work through not-quite- up-to-date documentation. However, temporary and newer personnel need current documentation.

To avoid this problem, you need to update all of the documentation in your storage environment. You should also use temporary people during your DR tests to ensure that the documentation is comprehensive, accurate and understandable. If people who don't work at your company can figure out what to do in times of disaster, then your documentation is obviously pretty good. If they can't, your documentation needs work.

This was first published in May 2006

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