As part of my work at Segura, I’m tasked with developing products and solutions for the organisation. This isn’t solely my responsibility, nor am I alone in doing it. Normally this happens with a round table meeting, with people much smarter than I am, where we discuss and flesh out concepts and strategies (amongst other things).
In one of these meetings, the more technical people in the room started discussing concepts that have different meanings depending on what your skills are and what your background is. In this case, the topic was about Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. Something that was immediately apparent, was that the business orientated people will always have a different idea or concept as to what the terms “Disaster Recovery” and “Business Continuity Planning” actually are, when compared to technical people.
As part of this discussion, I had a light bulb moment when our CIO made an astute comment that I think most IT people forget:
Business continuity is disaster recovery, plus work force planning.
Now this is only part of the quote and there is more to it, but the key take away is that its incomplete thinking to look at “Business Continuity Planning” as simply enabling the infrastructure to operate once the disaster recovery plan was executed.
Before diving head first into the planning of anything, a simple conversation to make sure everyone’s on the same page is pretty much mandatory. Make sure the business people have the same understanding of what this means, as the technical people (and vice versa). Once you do that, work out what it is you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking at purely disaster recovery, then your requirements analysis will not have to be as exhaustive and can be restricted to the technological side of things. If its business continuity, then you need to consider getting external help. Bringing systems back online is easy, relatively speaking. Bringing processes and procedures online will require far more work, if only because of the human factor.
Disaster recovery and/or business continuity planning isn’t fun at the best of times; its tedious, boring and extremely risky (to you and the organisation). There’s no party or special club if you get it right, but getting it wrong will haunt you.