Essential Guide

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Essential guide to business continuity and disaster recovery plans

Every year, many readers report that they are not confident in their organization's ability to recover following a disaster. If you are in that boat, this collection of our best BC/DR content can help.

Introduction

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning is frequently overlooked, avoided or procrastinated into oblivion. Every year, many readers report that they are not confident in their organization's ability to recover following a disaster. They frequently cite a lack of support from management because BC/DR planning can be expensive and there is no immediate return on investment. It's often compared to buying insurance -- investing in something you hope you will never need. But, it doesn't have to be that way. 

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning can and should be integrated with your day-to-day operations. Over the past few years, DR planning has become more affordable and easier thanks to advancements in technologies. Creative planners are finding ways to integrate disaster recovery with other essential operations to streamline processes.

This guide offers a collection of our best business continuity and disaster recovery content. You'll find information on BC/DR planning and management; server, storage, networking and security technologies; and free downloadable templates that simplify the planning process.

1Planning/management -

Good planning and management are key for business continuity and disaster recovery success

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning isn't a one-time event. Good DR/BC requires ongoing management. This section offers information on conducting business impact analyses and risk assessments, how to form an incident response plan, personnel issues and training, DR testing, change management, and BC/DR standards.

Tip

Struggling to keep your BC/DR plans up to date?

Suggestions to motivate you to keep your business continuity and disaster recovery plans current. Continue Reading

Tip

How risk assessment analysis fits into a business continuity plan

Evaluating risk assessment and business impact analysis data is a key factor in preparing a proper BC plan. Continue Reading

Tip

BC/DR plans should have continuous improvement

Use these business continuity and disaster recovery tips to establish an improvement process for your operational and administrative activities. Continue Reading

Tip

Six trends affecting the BC/DR market

As cybersecurity threats spread, having a business continuity management system continues to increase in importance. Explore six key shifts in the industry. Continue Reading

Answer

Five essential DR tasks for hurricane preparation

Brien Posey outlines five hurricane preparation steps to take if your organization does not already have a formal DR plan in place. Continue Reading

Answer

What are the five best ways to get management on board with DR?

Paul Kirvan says that reminding senior management of the last disaster and impact to the organization is one way to get upper management buy-in for DR. Continue Reading

Answer

Why the change management process is important for DR

Paul Kirvan discusses the importance of the change management process for disaster recovery in this Expert Answer. Continue Reading

Tip

Using ANSI/ASIS SPC.2-2014 for auditing risk-based management systems

Paul Kirvan looks at ANSI/ASIS SPC.2-2014, a standard designed to facilitate audits of management systems that focus on "risk, resilience, security, crisis, continuity and recovery management." Continue Reading

Answer

The difference between a risk analysis process and conducting a BIA

The BIA is related but different from the risk analysis process. This article discusses what each should accomplish. Continue Reading

Feature

Ten common business impact analysis mistakes

In this BIA checklist, learn about the top 10 mistakes IT managers make when performing a BIA and how to avoid them. Continue Reading

Tip

Consider off-the-scale scenarios in your BC/DR exercise planning

Examine off-the-scale scenarios in your BC/DR exercise planning by conducting extensive research to design situations based in reality and experience. Continue Reading

Feature

Use this free business impact analysis template and guide

Learn how to perform a BIA, and download our free template and guide to assist you in your business continuity planning. Continue Reading

Feature

Getting started with IT risk assessment: A free template and guide

Download a free risk assessment template, learn about free risk assessment tools and read about all aspects of risk management in this guide. Continue Reading

2Storage and servers -

Recent storage and server developments ease BC/DR planning

Enterprise operations can grind to a halt without access to data, so it is important to have a strategy in place that allows you to get back up and running quickly following an outage. Advancements in server and storage technologies have streamlined business continuity and disaster recovery in recent years. Learn more about backup, snapshot, replication and how server virtualization can ease BC/DR by reading the articles in this section.

Video

Using the cloud can make BC/DR more accessible

Business continuity and DR are not just for enterprises anymore. With cloud DR, even the smallest company can ensure it is ready in the event of a disaster. Continue Reading

Answer

Where the cloud fits in your data protection scheme

Where does the cloud best fit into data protection, archiving, DR or backup? Continue Reading

Tip

DR as a service scales 'big company' DR down to size

Learn how cloud and virtualization enable DR as a service, which makes effective disaster recovery realistic for smaller companies. Continue Reading

Tip

Disaster recovery software, server virtualization ease DR testing

Eric Slack discusses DR testing today and the technologies that are improving users' ability to conduct regular, effective DR tests. Continue Reading

Tip

Designing a redundant backup solution

Brien Posey discusses the three areas you need to focus on when designing a redundant backup solution. Continue Reading

Tip

Virtual machine backup and restoration in a Windows failover cluster

Learn about Windows failover clusters and their role in VM backups and restoration in this tip from Microsoft expert Brien Posey. Continue Reading

Answer

Negotiate SLAs before establishing backup policies

Learn how negotiating SLAs before setting backup policies can help get business buy-in for data protection. Continue Reading

Feature

A free IT disaster recovery download and guide

This guide and free downloadable IT disaster recovery template will help you create an IT DR plan. Continue Reading

3Networking-

Network disaster recovery planning and building resilient networks

Learn how networking technologies such as WAN optimization can help enable data replication over distance and some of the challenges associated with this approach. The articles in this section are also about designing resilient networks, VPN considerations for DR, dealing with failover/failback issues, protecting voice and data networks, and more.

Answer

Addressing common mistakes in network DR strategies

Independent disaster recovery expert Paul Kirvan offers advice on addressing common mistakes in network DR strategies in this Expert Answer. Continue Reading

Answer

Mitigating VoIP vulnerability

Paul Kirvan outlines common VoIP vulnerabilities and offers advice on how to mitigate them in this Expert Answer. Continue Reading

Tip

Business continuation and disaster recovery tips for your WAN services

Understand the tools, technologies and strategies used to ensure business continuance and disaster recovery for your WAN services. Continue Reading

Tip

WAN optimization products unshackle disaster recovery

WAN optimization can have a huge impact on your data movement processes in your disaster recovery infrastructure. Continue Reading

Tip

How to deal with failback problems

Failover and failback processes are complex and must be carefully planned and tested. This article outlines how to ensure you'll be able to successfully fail back to normal operations. Continue Reading

Feature

Local area network disaster recovery planning

Without a network DR plan in place for the LAN, the loss of even a single network switch could quickly turn into a time-consuming outage for the organization. Continue Reading

Misc

A template for your network disaster recovery plan

This guide and free template can help you prepare and deploy a network disaster recovery plan for voice and data communications. Continue Reading

4Protecting against threats-

Security an important part of BC/DR planning

Learn how to protect your organization's data against theft or corruption from outside (or internal) attacks. As another important aspect of business continuity and disaster recovery planning, this section has info on security best practices, protecting intellectual property, access control, and encryption.

Opinion

Failover clusters not a fool-proof BC/DR option

Despite vendor claims, failover clusters may not offer the instant business continuity and disaster recovery service you're looking for. Continue Reading

Tip

10 BC/DR plan tips for today's computing environment

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans must adapt to the digital age, and the new threats it brings. Here are 10 tips for getting there. Continue Reading

Answer

Cybersecurity events vs. BC and disaster recovery

Cybersecurity is often kept separate from business continuity and disaster recovery, but the two should better complement each other. See how you can get them on the same page. Continue Reading

Answer

Alternatives to BC/DR when disaster strikes

Many organizations don't have a formal BC/DR plan, but they can still achieve some level of readiness during a disaster. Continue Reading

Tip

Security incident response procedures: When to do a system shutdown

At times, security incident response procedures require drastic measures. Expert Nick Lewis explains when and how to perform a system shutdown. Continue Reading

Tip

Encrypting data may not mean you are producing secure backups

Simply encrypting data is not a substitute for strong physical security and proper account usage. Learn more about backup security in this tip. Continue Reading

Tip

How to prepare for intentional attacks on a primary data center

IT managers should not overlook the potential of a physical assault on their primary data center. Learn how to protect your organization against external (and internal) attacks. Continue Reading

5Facilities -

BC/DR planning considerations for facilities

From protection against natural events to setting up a secondary disaster recovery site or alternative workspace, BC/DR planning for an organization's facilities encompasses a wide variety of factors. Some factors may apply to many organizations, while others will be business-dependent. This articles listed in this section contain information about emergency power supplies, fire suppression, conducting damage assessments and more.

Tip

Expand training to keep BC managers up to date

How will the role of business continuity managers change in the next few years? Technology advancements will require deep knowledge in many areas. Continue Reading

Answer

The importance of risk assessment planning in an organization

A risk assessment provides valuable data about an organization and the threats it faces -- information that is critical to craft a business continuity or disaster recovery plan. Continue Reading

Tip

Change management best practices for BC/DR

Whenever an IT organization makes an infrastructure change, it probably uses a formal change management plan, which is an ideal foundation for establishing a BC/DR maintenance program. Continue Reading

Tip

Prepare companies for a business continuity audit

Before auditors examine the evidence of an organization's conformance to business continuity controls, you should ensure the documents they need are available. Continue Reading

Tip

Prepare for a data center resilience assessment

Your data center must be resilient to threats like hurricanes and tornadoes. Paul Kirvan offers tips to conduct a data center resilience assessment. Continue Reading

Answer

How to evaluate emergency power supply options

This article outlines what you should consider when evaluating emergency power supply options. Continue Reading

Answer

Diesel or natural gas generator for data center disaster readiness?

Learn the specifics you should evaluate when choosing between diesel and natural gas for your generator. Continue Reading

Feature

How to staff a disaster recovery site

This piece details important staffing considerations before, during and after a disaster. Continue Reading

Tip

Fire suppression systems for your disaster recovery plan

Fire suppression systems are important to have in your DR plan. Learn the pros and cons of the most popular fire suppression options. Continue Reading

Misc

Conducting a physical assessment of your DR facilities

This free template simplifies the physical assessment of your DR site. Continue Reading

Misc

Guide to a data center disaster recovery plan

This free template and guide can help you create a DR plan specifically for your organization's data center. Continue Reading

6Glossary-

Key terms to aid with business continuity/disaster recovery planning

If you are just getting started with business continuity and disaster recovery, this glossary of common terms can help.

7Quiz-

Test your knowledge

Now that you've read the guide, see what you have retained with our BC/DR quiz.

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I've really enjoyed reading this guide. It's very informative.
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