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Essential guide to business continuity and disaster recovery plans

Last updated:December 2018

Editor's note

Even in this day and age of IT resilience, business continuity and disaster recovery plans often go 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. Lack of support from management is a frequent problem, because BC/DR planning can be expensive and provides no immediate ROI. 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.

Between a recent rise in cyberattacks, the ever-present threat of extreme weather and the possibility of outages and failures, the need to recover following disaster is more important than ever. Ensuring BC in times of disaster is essential, and the faster, the better. These days, any downtime could be considered an unacceptable level of downtime, so getting things up and running quickly should be a top priority. Along with being responsible for your own facilities and staff, you may also be responsible for critical data.

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans 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 DR with other essential operations to streamline processes.

This guide offers a collection of our best BC/DR 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. Once you've finished the guide, take our BC/DR planning quiz to test what you've learned.

1Recent 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 enables you to get back up and running quickly following an outage. Advancements in server and storage technologies have streamlined BC/DR in recent years. Learn more about backup, snapshot, replication and how server virtualization can ease BC/DR by reading the articles in this section.

2Network DR 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, virtual private network considerations for DR, dealing with failover/failback issues, protecting voice and data networks, and more.

3Security 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 many business continuity and disaster recovery plans, this section has info on security best practices, protecting intellectual property, access control and encryption.

4BC/DR planning considerations for facilities

From protection against natural events to setting up a secondary DR 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. The articles listed in this section contain information about emergency power supplies, fire suppression, conducting damage assessments and more.

5Key terms to aid with BC/DR planning

If you are just getting started with BC/DR, this glossary of common terms can help.

6Test your knowledge

Now that you've read the guide, see what you have retained with our BC/DR quiz.

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