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What business recovery planning resources are available?

With software, consultants and standards at the ready, plus the rise of DR as a service, it's easy to get started on a business recovery plan. So just do it.

Within the disaster recovery profession, several options have been in regular use for years to assist in business recovery planning development. If you elect the do-it-yourself route, many different texts and easy-to-use software programs are available to get you started.

One resource is The Rothstein Catalog, which has listings of dozens of easy-to-afford products to help you develop a DR plan. Another business recovery planning source is the Disaster Resource Guide, a compendium of products and services.

Naturally, you can hire any one of the dozens of qualified DR consultants to help you develop and test your plans. Be sure to check their references. Also try to find customers who can give you background and opinions on a given consultant.

There are approximately 30 DR plan development software products on the market. They can range in price from less than $500 to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your business recovery planning requirements. Some are remotely hosted, such as in a cloud environment, while others can be installed on a local server and managed locally.

If you are concerned about compliance with standards, a widely used standard is the National Institute of Standards and Technology SP 800-34, Contingency Planning Guide for Federal Information Systems. Organizations in both the public and private sectors use it.

Finally, cloud-based DR as a service (DRaaS) firms, which have seen rapid growth and acceptance, offer the most current platforms for business recovery planning and testing. In addition to providing data backup and recovery, many DRaaS firms can design your DR plan and help you test it. Examine plans developed by the vendor to see how they are structured and read customer reviews.

Developing a DR plan today can be a complicated process, depending on the complexity of the systems and technologies. But you have a range of options for business recovery planning. At one extreme, you can build a plan on your own or, at the other, turn the entire project over to a DRaaS provider.

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