The Disaster Recovery Handbook

A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets

The Disaster Recovery Handbook

Authors: Michael Wallace, Lawrence Webber
Pub Date: December 2010
Print Edition: $59.95
Print ISBN: 9780814416136
Page Count: 448
Format: Hardback
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814416143

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Overview of the Project

Nothing is impossible for the man

who doesn’t have to do it himself.

—A.H. Weiler


The job of a business executive requires coordination of the many activities

necessary to create a successful business. Markets must be analyzed, potential

customers identified, strategies for creating and delivering products and services

must be developed, financial goals established and reported, legislative mandates

followed, and many different stakeholders satisfied. To ensure that all of these

objectives are met, businesses eventually develop a series of processes designed

to produce the desired result. But the world is a dangerous place. Earthquakes,

floods, tornadoes, pandemics, snow storms, fire, and other natural disasters can

strike at any time and interrupt these important processes. Terrorism, riots, arson,

sabotage, and other human-created disasters can also damage your business.

Accidents and equipment failures are guaranteed to happen. As an executive

responsible for the well-being of your organization, it is critical that you have a

plan in place to ensure that your business can continue its operations after such

a disaster and to protect vital operations, facilities, and assets.

You do this just like you do any other important task; you analyze the situation

and create a plan. A disaster recovery plan keeps you in business after a disaster

by helping to minimize the damage and allowing your organization to recover as

quickly as possible. While you can’t prevent every disaster, you can with proper

planning mitigate the damage and get back to work quickly and efficiently. The

key is having a well thought out and up-to-date disaster recovery plan. This

chapter will lead you through the creation and implementation of a project plan

for creating an effective disaster recovery plan.

Building a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is much like any other

business project. A formal project management process is necessary to coordinate

the various players and company disciplines required to successfully deliver the

desired results of the project. This chapter will give you a high-level roadmap of

what you should expect as you prepare to lead or manage a disaster recovery

project. A sample project plan is included on the CD-ROM accompanying this

book. Adapt this chapter and the project plan to fit your business goals, company

timeline, and scope of project.

Most projects tend to run in a well-defined sequence. For example, to build a

new house, first you clear the land, then build the foundation, then build a floor,

and so on. Many things cannot begin until the previous step is completed. A

business continuity plan (BCP) project is a bit different. In its early stages, most

actions logically follow each other. However, once the basic elements are in place,

the project bursts out on to parallel tracks, as each department documents its own

area. How you proceed in your company is, of course, determined by your corporate

culture, the resources you have to work with to complete the process, and the level

of visible support from the project’s sponsor. Most business continuity projects

follow these steps:

1. An executive within the organization decides that a business continuity plan

is needed. This might be due to an auditor’s report or the result of a business

disruption that was more painful than it would have been if a plan had been

in place. Or it could be that an alert employee realized that a good plan did not

exist and brought this to the executive’s attention. This executive normally

becomes the sponsor for the project.

2. The first (and most important) step that the sponsor takes is to select someone

to lead the project. This person is most often called the Business Continuity

Manager and is responsible for the successful completion of the project.

3. The project sponsor and the Business Continuity Manager meet to clearly

define the scope of the project, the project timeline, and expectations. The

Business Continuity Manager must be comfortable that the resources available

are adequate to meet all the objectives of the project.

4. The Business Continuity Manager selects the team that will work together to

complete the project. Both technical and political considerations are important

in selecting a team that can successfully develop a workable business

continuity plan.

5. The Business Continuity Manager together with the team now develops the

project plan to be used in managing the project. Tasks are identified and

assigned, task durations calculated, and activities are sequenced as the project

plans are developed.

6. The project plans are executed. The Business Continuity Manager oversees

the project as the plan unfolds, keeping everyone focused on completing their

tasks, and ensuring that milestones are met and that important stakeholders

are kept informed as to the project’s progress. It is here where the actual

continuity plans for the organization are created.

7. Once the business continuity plans have been developed and tested, the

Business Continuity Manager closes the project by making sure that everything

was documented properly and handing the project results over to the

individual(s) responsible for keeping the plan up to date. Each affected

department will normally have someone responsible for keeping their portion

of the plan current. A report is also generated for the sponsor recapping the

project and documenting lessons learned.

In many organizations, the job of Business Continuity Manager is not taken as

seriously as it should be. Management in these organizations only wants you to

write something, anything to make the auditors go away. That’s OK because as

you build the plan, and as they begin to see the benefits, their interest and support

will grow.

A project plan organizes the team so members focus their skills on specific

actions to get the job done. This respects their time and brings the project to a

prompt, but successful, solution.

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