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Are Your Disaster Recovery Plans Up to Snuff?


A management consulting firm that focuses on management information systems offers lessons learned in light of the recent disaster in Japan.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan has caused considerable damage to Japan's technology infrastructure. The damage brings to light disaster recovery and business continuity plans, and the question, "Are you ready?"

Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption

The success of the recovery is directly related to the quality of the plan, the training provided and the testing that has occurred before the disaster occurs, according to Janco Associates.

The consulting firm took a look at the events and talked with clients about their plans and compiled a list of lessons learned. Below are a few specific to insurance technology professionals:

  • Assume that no electronic copy of the plan will be available for some time—have an updated paper copy that can be used immediately.

  • Critical facilities should not be located in close proximity. If the primary recovery facility, media or network are in the same general area they may be affect as well.

  • Risk AssessmentResources should be staged in safe areas—switching equipment, generators and fuel tanks should be located above flood levels. In addition the assumption should be made that recovery at the impacted site could take several days if not weeks or months.

  • Data management challenges will arise—backup systems should not require physical connectivity to your infrastructure. When the recovery process begins you need to assume that nothing is working—hardware, software, media and license keys.

  • Hardware may be damaged—develop and test a plan for replacing equipment and for disposing of unusable devices. With technology it often is less expensive to replace equipment than to repair. Create a location where damaged equipment is placed and log the reason it is there so that after the fact decisions can be made on what to do with the equipment.

To see the full list, click here.

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