Many companies focus their disaster recovery efforts on the data center first. This is as it should be since it is usually on the critical path for most business units in a recovery effort. Without availability of major systems and applications not much happens in today’s world.
However, disasters don’t occur only in the data center. Frequently, disasters (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.) affect a business location without any impact on the data center. It may be up and running while the business unit (e.g., a department) has nowhere to work. In the end, that situation often terminates the processing of activity within a critical business unit.
While data center plan components are well known (backups, hot site, alternate network, etc.) there are components associated with recovering a business unit that aren’t accounted for in a traditional data center DR plan.
For example, here are a few business unit components to consider:
- Special equipment needs such as scanners or imaging equipment that resides within the business unit location. If these specialized devices are gone can they continue operations?
- An approach to interim processing procedures. During Y2K we referred to these as workarounds. Can some business functions resume immediately without computer support?
- Alternate site work space requirements. How many printers, fax machines, PCs, phones, etc. are needed by the business unit?
- Facility requirements at the alternate work site. These can include parking spots, rest rooms, reception requirements, etc. to name a few. Without adequate facilities can the business unit be expected to function?
These are just examples of what needs to be evaluated when developing a business unit disaster recovery plan. As you can see, for the most part these are not covered in a typical data-center-only disaster recovery plan document.
Jan Persson is the author of the GO.RECOVER-Data Center Disaster Recovery Template – a powerful yet easy-to-use tool for under $100