Essential Guide

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.


Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are 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.


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


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


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


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


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 in this expert answer. Continue Reading


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


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


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


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.


Where the cloud fits in your data protection scheme in 2015

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


Cloud DR dominated 2014 disaster recovery trends

Cloud disaster recovery became the overarching theme for DR in 2014, dominating products and services from new and established vendors. Continue Reading


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


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


Designing a redundant backup solution

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


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


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


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


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.


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


Mitigating VoIP vulnerability

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


Business continuation and disaster recovery tips for your WAN services

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


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


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


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


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.


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


The perceptions and deceptions of security

IT security issues are numerous, so organizations should take another look before getting too comfortable with current practices. Continue Reading


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


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


Bolstering password-based cloud authentication

There are several ways to limit the effectiveness of powerful password cracking tools. Learn how to strengthen password-based authentication in this tip. Continue Reading


Best practices for protecting intellectual property

This piece outlines security best practices for protecting your organization's intellectual property. 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.


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


How to evaluate emergency power supply options

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


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


How to staff a disaster recovery site

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


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


Conducting a physical assessment of your DR facilities

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


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


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.