Disasters take practice

Published: 2010-02-28
Last Updated: 2010-02-28 22:37:43 UTC
by Mari Nichols (Version: 1)
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This weekend's news reports of earthquakes, tsunami warnings, all of this on top of winter snowstorms made me think about DR/BCP and procedures.  I realize that auditors require a DR program to be written, but can you really run your organization on that document?  I've seen some doozies.

Do you test your DR program annually?  In order to be effective, testing must take place annually.  No one really wants to do a DR exercise.  No one is going to beat your door down to volunteer for a practice run.  You may have to get creative to get involvement.  Have a contest to come up with the disaster scenario.  Creativity can be enhanced by various meeting dynamics and techniques.  Get some people from HR, PR and legal to share the task.  If you try really hard, you can make it just a little bit more fun and gain some comradery and teamwork that will payoff if you do experience a significant event.

I realize that some smaller businesses just may not have the time to invest in a full fledged exercise.  (Please try.) If you feel you fall in this category, and you just can not carve out the time, you owe it to yourself to make sure every position in your IT operations department documents their daily activities in procedure format. 

Some examples are below, I know you can think of a lot more that keep you up at night. 
What steps does your backup operator take to perform a restore?
Where are the backups stored and how often are the audited for accuracy?
How often are your security programs monitored?
What is the procedure for a DoS? Virus infection? Disgruntled employee?
Who on your legal team would you call?  Do they know you?
Is your incident response team call sheet up to date?

Bad news is just a headline away for someone, resolve to be prepared.

Mari Nichols, Handler on Duty

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