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