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.


Include vendors in your business continuity planning process

Involving vendors in your business continuity planning process helps ensure that critical resources are available when they are needed most. Continue Reading


Integrate mobile communications technology into BC/DR activities

Paul Kirvan discusses how to incorporate mobile devices such as smartphones into your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Continue Reading


Defining BC/DR strategies and responses

Paul Kirvan shares tips on how to translate business continuity and disaster recovery strategies into specific action steps. Continue Reading


Optimizing document management systems for business continuity

Managing business continuity management systems requires separate document management systems. Continue Reading


Integrating business continuity management system into an organization

Your business continuity management system must be accepted by your organization, and its policies and procedures embedded into the firm's operations. 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


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


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


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.


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


Cloud backups present challenges, offer benefits

The idea of supplementing your current backup solution with a cloud backup solution is an appealing one. But, there are a variety of issues you’ll need to consider first. Continue Reading


Keep tape in your disaster recovery plan

Disk backup and remote replication have become commonplace, but don't count tape out for DR. Continue Reading


Hypervisors offer built-in disaster recovery management features

Many editions of major virtualization platforms offer built-in availability and disaster recovery management features. 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.


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


Designing a resilient WAN

This tip will help you spot potential wide area network design problems before they escalate and show you how to boost resilience without sacrificing performance. Continue Reading


What to do when remote employees overload your VPN

Learn how to prepare for a disaster and keep your workers connected to your network. Continue Reading


Ensuring reliability in your organization’s voice/data network

Learn how to improve reliability in your network, security issues to watch out for, as well as some tips on protecting your voice/data network’s infrastructure. 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


Data breach prep, cost analysis protect intellectual property

The costs associated with IP theft can be devastating for a business, so preparations must be made to avoid a data breach. 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


Your damage assessment determines next steps in an incident

Learn how to conduct a damage assessment following a disaster and how the damage assessment can help shape your response. Continue Reading


Facilities management team and the IT department: Let's work together

Downtime can be avoided if facilities and IT pool their resources with DCIM and other monitoring and management tools. 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.