Tip

Disaster recovery checklists for a successful DR program

There are countless activities in disaster recovery (DR)/business continuity (BC) programs. Disaster recovery documentation plays a vital role. Disaster recovery

    Requires Free Membership to View

plans, exercises and a variety of analytical reports are likely to be documented. But what other important documents should you include in your DR/BC operation? Below are some useful disaster recovery checklists to help keep you organized.

Governance

Assuming your organization has a structured governance process in place, there will be various documents that need to be retained by your organization. A list of these follows. Perhaps your organization adheres to a governance, risk, compliance (GRC) framework. Compilation, storage and maintenance of these documents and others are essential for future disaster recovery audits and reviews by other companies considering a business relationship with your firm.

Policies
Regulations
Procedures
Standards
Audit reports
Strategy reports
BC/DR metrics
Audit control statements
Key performance indicators

 

Human resource materials

Company policy may dictate the need for HR documents, forms and other materials. Be sure to maintain a secure storage arrangement for job descriptions, resumes, job applications and other HR-mandated documents.

Performance appraisals
Job descriptions
Hiring guidelines
Emergency policies

 

Financial reports

Regardless of the size of your business continuity/disaster recovery activity, you will have various financial issues to address. Disaster recovery budgets will need to be prepared, approved and regularly reviewed. Funding requests and their associated justifications should be retained in case you plan to apply for additional funding in the future.

Budgets
Funding requests
Funding justifications

 

Legal materials

Depending on how rigorous your BC/DR activity is, you may need to contract out for various products and services. Each of these will probably have associated contractual documents. As with other critical documentation, these should be stored securely, with backup copies in an alternate location.

Hot/cold recovery site contracts
Vital records storage contracts
Backup data storage contracts
Alternate site contracts
Equipment/software contracts
Equipment/software maintenance contracts
Service-level agreements (SLAs)
Consulting contracts

 

Education, training and awareness

No business continuity/disaster recovery initiative will be successful without comprehensive and ongoing training and education. This applies to both emergency teams and employees. In addition to the obvious slide presentations and handouts, information about BC/DR activities can be added to employee handbooks. Wallet-sized laminated cards can be provided to all employees with critical emergency information. In addition, all documentation used to promote awareness of the BC/DR effort should be documented and securely stored.

Training materials
Job aids
Slide shows
Standards
Employee handbooks
Emergency wallet cards for staff
Promotional materials

 

Reports and general information

The following list reminds us how many different kinds of reports may be needed in a BC/DR function. Ensure that the most critical reports are duplicated and the backup copies stored in a secure location.

Technical
Management
Meetings
Minutes of meetings
Exercises
Damages
Maintenance
Case studies
Consultant reports
Proposals
Requests for proposals
Supplier documentation
News articles
Press releases
Internet-based content

 

Technical information

Assuming your organization uses a variety of information systems, applications and devices, user guides are essential. Vendors that offer disaster recovery services for their products may have additional documentation on those activities.

Hardware/software user guides
Hardware/software operation manuals
Hardware/software recovery manuals

 

Business information

The following list suggests additional documents that will be a useful part of your business continuity/disaster recovery initiatives. These items may also be included with other documents, such as checklists and templates with BC/DR plans.

Business plans
Checklists
Templates
Schedules

 

Other documentation

Finally, additional documents, such as glossaries, may be useful, especially if you are preparing plans, policies, procedures or other operational documents. It's always a good idea to have the most current and accepted definitions for key activities.

Glossaries
Questionnaires

 

As you can see, it's not enough to simply have just disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Much more disaster recovery documentation is necessary in a properly equipped BC/DR activity, especially if you have an organized and funded BC/DR department.

About this author: Paul F. Kirvan, FBCI, CBCP, CISSP, has more than 20 years experience in business continuity management as a consultant, author and educator. He is also secretary of the Business Continuity Institute USA Chapter.

For more disaster recovery checklists relating to governance and human resources in your DR program, go to part one in our series on disaster recovery checklists and documentation.


 

This was first published in March 2010

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.