Re: Business Continuity Plan

Subject: Re: Business Continuity Plan
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 05:27:36 -0600

Erika Yanovich wrote:

Hi there, Our CEO suggested that I help creating such a document
(requested by some of our clients). Before meeting the relevant VP, I
googled it and was amazed by the wealth of information regarding such
plans and their complexity. My question is: did anyone out there
participate in such a project and if yes, on what level: - helping
with the writing - part of the project team - leading the project. I'm interested in your experience with this. Thanks very much in

I've worked on several such plans over the years, and they can
be pretty interesting, particularly as you see new aspects of
the company. These are also often called, more tellingly,
disaster recovery plans, so you might also google on that.

Key things to consider:
Is it a _real_ plan, designed to implemnt, or a make-work plan,
designed to keep your clients happy? It's unlikely you can really
ask this, but the answer here will make a lot of difference as far
as the effort and time for the plan. For example, if you're talking
about where offsite tapes will be stored and who can get them,
ask where the tape library for the recovery will be located. If
that question is "out of scope", it's a make-work plan. If that question
causes the IT director to turn pale, it's real.

How will you keep the plan "live" after the project is complete? Even
if you do a really good (and real) plan, it will cease to have value
quickly if it's not updated to reflect new business realities and
processes. (Hint: Don't volunteer for this part--it's tedious,
thankless, and essential.)

If you want to have fun w/ the CEO and IT folks, poke them about
how it'll be tested. They'll say, possibly correctly, that it cannot
be, but if you don't test, you really won't know--it's just like writing
any other docs w/o doing the procedure, and the little stuff that was
overlooked will get you. E.g., if your process calls for recovery within
24 hours of declaring an emergency, but restoring the key business data
from backups requires 72 hours per the physical limitations of the hardware, you'll have an issue. Or if the backup system administrator is
supposed to work at the recovery site within 12 hours, but doesn't have
appropriate 24x7 access privileges to a secure site that your company
may not own, it'll be interesting.

Good luck--these can be fun!


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Business Continuity Plan: From: Erika Yanovich

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