Disaster Recovery Extra: New tools for building business-continuity plans


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The trend of moving away from disaster recovery toward disaster resiliency is gaining momentum, buoyed by a new breed of business-continuance management software tools.

A typical disaster recovery (DR) plan focuses on recovering an organization's technology infrastructure from corrupt data, lost files or catastrophic data center loss. However, many DR plans that are based solely on data recoverability may create a false sense of security if they don't take into account other important factors such as employees, revenue, supply chain and facility access.

Most DR plans become outdated the day they're completed because the organization lacks an established change/control process (see "

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10 hidden perils of DR planning"). Disaster recovery plans must be updated regularly to respond to changing risks such as health threats, natural and man-made disasters, mergers and acquisitions, new regulatory mandates, employee turnover, and systems and applications changes.

Today, senior officers bear the brunt of responsibility for complying with government regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As a result, senior business stakeholders are the new influencers on an organization's ability to demonstrate "disaster resilience," and it's no surprise that operational continuity is at the top of their agenda. CFOs and risk managers have been increasingly involved in funding and developing business-continuance management (BCM) initiatives that establish recovery priorities based on enterprise-wide assessments of business and IT recovery needs. Because of senior management involvement, BCM has evolved into a lifecycle process that requires collaboration from business units, the storage department, and key storage suppliers and vendors.


A sampling of BCM programs
Click here for a sampling of BCM programs (PDF).

BCM tools
BCM software tools are instrumental for reducing the time and effort required to develop a uniform method for creating business-continuance plans and establishing a repeatable process for maintaining the effectiveness of emergency response plans (see "A sampling of BCM programs," this page and "How to pick a BCM tool"). During the past 18 months, a number of new BCM software tools have emerged that will help organizations plan and react to business and operational threats. These tools help organizations:

  • Automate the workflow of contingency plan development with business and information technology stakeholders
  • Assess and quantify the impact of any business interruption
  • Manage and distribute business-continuity and recovery plans across all business units and departments
  • Automate the BCM plan's change management process
  • Respond more quickly to "trigger events"

This was first published in May 2006

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