Q

What are the hidden threats, if any, in a disaster recovery (DR)/business continuity (BC) plan?

Harvey Betan explains the hidden threats organizations may encounter in their DR and BC plans in this ask the expert response.

What are the hidden threats, if any, in a disaster recovery (DR)/business continuity (BC) plan?
All threats in a disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) plan should be highlighted as part of the risk assessment phase of the BC plan. The risk assessment should incorporate all sites, which includes the disaster recovery site. And if the risk assessment is completed correctly, and an objective view of all threats are identified, there should not be any hidden threats in an organization. However, unanticipated threats can still occur, which are issues that can come up during or part of an unforeseen incident. For example, damage to the infrastructure (road closures) can cause delays in reaching your disaster recovery site, which will affect the recovery time.

Also, if the BC plan is not reviewed properly it may contain incorrect information which can threaten the disaster

recovery process. If the business focus has been modified since the BC plan was compiled and these changes have not been incorporated within the BC plan, the recovery process will not go smoothly. Similarly, if hardware in your company has been modified and you have not updated your DR plan, you may have issues with the recovery. Both the disaster recovery and business continuity plans need to be current to reduce unanticipated surprises.

Lastly, hidden threats may exist if the business continuity plan does not reflect reality. That is, if the business impact analysis (BIA) does not reflect the true impact on the organization, issues may arise. For this reason it is important to be accurate in the BIA looking at dependencies up and down the line to ensure the recovery time objectives (RTOs) are correct.

For more information on disaster recovery and business continuity planning strategies, check out our disaster recovery tutorials, free disaster recovery planning templates and disaster recovery and business continuity podcasts.

This was first published in January 2010

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