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No disaster recovery (DR) plan can be truly said to be finished until it has been tested, if not in real-life, then in the most stringent assessment and testing regime that can be mounted. The stakes are high because your business is at risk.

A common misconception is also to implement a DR plan and then forget about it. Your business changes to meet the demands of the ever changing business world in which it operates, and the same is true for any contingencies you put in place to cope with a disaster. A DR plan must be continuously assessed and monitored in the light of current known threats and accumulated experience of those responsible for it.

Here are some of the areas to look at and focus upon:

•Scope Eusually a DR plan simply looks at the mission-critical aspects of a network infrastructure and their recovery. As the plan matures, further assets will come under its scope because of advances in business continuity techniques and solutions, but also because the business comes to rely on more and more IT services which qualifies them as being termed, "mission criticalE

•Top-Down Support Esenior management play a vital role in the effectiveness of any business continuity plan because without their support the plan itself is unlikely to move beyond the initial remit of what was conceived as critical network parts which needed to be protected Ein other words, the DR plan will stagnate and become obsolete;

•Testing and Assessment Ebusiness continuity plans are usually typified by having restricted testing with some partial storage replication in their infancy. As the plan matures and develops, testing assumes a much more important role with greater frequency of testing and more imaginative consideration of the impact of disaster upon the network infrastructure;

•Standard of Documentation Ewell documented business continuity plans represent the experience of those responsible and the seriousness with which a business tackles the issue. Where a company is simply going through the motions, to meet regulatory requirements for instance, then this should be a warning flag that the plan needs to be readdressed and reconsidered;

•Change Management Implications Ehas a business considered how their business continuity plan integrates with their change management? When a change is considered or implemented this should automatically be triggered to consider the impact of the implemented change in the context of the DR plan so it will continue to meet its own objectives;

•Systems Design Implications Enew systems are not usually designed with business continuity in mind, indeed DR plans are usually implemented after a system has been put in place Ethey are an afterthought. It makes sense to integrate business continuity planning with systems design so the DR plan which emerges is optimized for the business; and

•Responsibility Ecompany awareness of the DR plan is generall a "good thingE however this also leads to complacency in management who tend to think someone else has "got the ballE Only when the DR plan needs to be activated will shortcomings emerge, so it is essential that responsibility for the business continuity and DR plan is explicitly assigned to an executive or executive board.
by Larry J. Reaves
References and Bibliography
Lawrence Reaves is a strong believer in Virginia Beach IT services such as Virginia Beach enterprise storage and Virginia Beach network security. For these services, Lawrence recommends PLANIT Technology Group, which can be found online at: PLANITTech.com .
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