Pandemic Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Top Priority

There is no question we are vulnerable to infectious and contagious diseases. The influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 killed more than 20 million people—more than 600,000 in the United States. That winter, more U.S. soldiers died from influenza than had died on World War I battlefields.

Disaster Recovery PlanningAccording to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40,000 Americans die annually from seasonal flu. And most experts agree that the human race is long overdue for an influenza pandemic far more deadly than the H1N1 pandemic of 2009–2010. The threat from Mother Nature goes far beyond the flu.

In disaster planning when a pandemic occurs the data center exists but people often are in separate locations. The Disaster Planning and Business Continuity Planning processes need to make the user and business operating experience is as similar as possible so that the work environment is the same in the remote site (often home) as in the office.

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Pandemic Reportcard

A key requirement is to increase remote access capabilities in addition before the pandemic occurs the following planning needs to take place:

  • Define necessary staff levels for critical business processes
  • Identify who can work remotely and who has to be in the office
  • Validation of vaccinations for key staff members
  • Identify the lights out processing issues for computer operations staff
  • Identify the network and remote access capacity requirements - what percent of workers do you need to be on the system for the enterprise to continue to operate
  • Train and test of users and IT staffs in how to operate from remote locations
    • Require key employees to work from remote site at least once a month
    • Validate broadband capacity to remote sites (home users)
    • Have copies of disaster plan available in remote site
  • Put in place process for the synchronization of OS system patches and VPN updates - if the workstations are not used frequently disable the auto update features for security updates but maintain a process to see that they workstations are up-to-date.
  • Define specific requirements for security and PCI-DSS when the disaster plan is activated for a pandemic.
  • Define change management and version control processes to be used and how they will be controlled during the pandemic.

Once the disaster plan has been activated for a pandemic a central source for information on who is infected, immune, and unavailable needs to be developed and maintained accurately. In addition, staff members who re working in the office and data center environments should be isolated if at all possible so they do not become infected. This may require a quarantine of these employees based on the severity of the pandemic.

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The DRP template is over 200 pages and includes everything needed to customize the Disaster Recovery Plan to fit your specific requirement. The electronic document includes proven written text and examples for the following major sections of a disaster recovery plan:

  • Plan Introduction
  • Business Impact Analysis - including a sample impact matrix
  • DRP Organization Responsibilities pre and post disaster - drp checklist
  • Backup Strategy for Data Centers, Departmental File Servers, Wireless Network servers, Data at Outsourced Sites, Desktops (In office and "at home"), Laptops and PDA's
  • Recovery Strategy including approach, escalation plan process and decision points
  • Disaster Recovery Procedures in a check list format
  • Plan Administration Process
  • Technical Appendix including definition of necessary phone numbers and contact points
  • Job Description for Disaster Recovery Manager (3 pages long) - entire disaster recovery team job descriptions are available
  • Work Plan to modify and implement the template. Included is a list of deliverables for each task. (Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Assessment)

There is a extensive section that show how a full test of the DRP can be conducted. It includes

  • Disaster Recovery Manager Responsibilities
  • Distribution of the Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Maintenance of the Business Impact Analysis
  • Training of the Disaster Recovery Team
  • Testing of the Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Evaluation of the Disaster Recovery Plan Tests
  • Maintenance of the Disaster Recovery Plan

Click on the link below to get the DRP/BC sample pages now and make it part of your disaster recovery toolkit.

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