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What is a business impact analysis (BIA) and how can it benefit my disaster recovery (DR) plan?

What is a business impact analysis (BIA) and how can it benefit my disaster recovery (DR) plan?

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The main focus of a disaster recovery (DR) plan is the technology, while a business impact analysis (BIA) should focus on the business process and the people who perform the process. A BIA defines the priorities of business function and how soon they are required, what dependencies they may have, as well as required staff levels. The BIA also defines what timeframes are required for personnel, data etc. A DR plan provides the technology needed for the operation, and a BIA contains the list of processes required, dependencies of the process, staff levels required and associated time frames of these requirements.

Some departments may have different priorities within their own functions. The business impact analysis helps define the business process recovery, interaction between departments, dependencies of departments and required staff levels to perform these functions. Often when compiling a business impact analysis, the first reaction is "everything is priority 1", then as the processes get defined, the BIA gets broken down into a manageable and more accurate list. Also keep in mind that it is important to periodically review your BIA to determine if it accurately reflects your current business focus.

This was first published in December 2009

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