Chapter 10, Disaster Recovery: Operation and Maintenance
This lesson is about chapter 10. Objectives important to
Preparing for DR
chapter begins with our text's illustrative company having a fire. No
details are available, but a report is made by a person who just
arrived at the site and found out that a disaster has happened. I am
reminded of a standard news teaser. In this case it might be "Breaking
news! A fire has shut us down! Film at 11!"
there is a time and a place for acting like Paul Revere, but that time
passes quickly. Soon, you need more information to do anything worth
doing. Our hero reports
to a higher authority who acts on unconfirmed information to activate
two plans. I hope they are flexible, and that they start with gathering
The text moves on to discuss a different scenario. Sometime the
disaster that affects our organization is a bigger disaster that
affects everyone near our location. When this happens, we have to take
in the big picture. Our disaster plan may assume that standard services
in our community (e.g. utilities, transportation services,
communication services, sanitation services, standard vendor services)
are all available outside our organization. This may not be so in the
cases of power outages, huge storms, or worse disasters that affect
page 413, the text discuses several locations in the United States that
need to prepare for disasters that typically do not happen in the other
named locations. The list is not exhaustive. For example, if you have
followed the weather news for the last few years, you may have noticed
that bad storms are more frequent than they have been in the past.
Hurricanes and floods can happen in almost any coastal area. Snow
storms, ice storms, and wind storms (or all three at once) can happen
quickly and dangerously. An emergency consists of a problem that you
are not ready for. Our goal must be to plan ahead, and to be ready for
whatever we can imagine.
The text has talked about making plans in several chapters, so
we will assume that subject matter experts have been consulted and
plans have been created. The text moves on to discuss three
distributions for our plans:
office/work location - A paper copy of each plan, plus
electronic copies on critical systems (computers or networks). Keeping
copies on portable devices would also protect accessibility.
out of the office - Responsible staff should have copies,
paper and electronic, at their homes.
online - Depending on the nature of the disaster,
electronic files may be accessible on remote systems, which may be web
sites that are not hosted at
the work location, or storage sites hosted by outside providers.
The text continues with a list of trigger events that can lead
to implementation of a plan:
management decision - Management
may notify all staff or
key staff that an event has occurred (or will occur soon), and that we
are beginning to run a named/numbered plan.
employee notification - An employee
may notify management
that an event is in progress, which will cause a plan to be put into
use. Management decisions are typically required, but the employee
notification is the trigger, and a responsible employee may have to
plan implementation if the usual authority is not available.
emergency management - A state or federal agency may
declare that an emergency exists, which may trigger a related plan for
local emergency - As in the example in the text, a fire or
other local disaster my affect our organization, causing us to
media (news) outlet - A responsible
news entity may
announce that an emergency, a disaster, or an act of terrorism has
occurred. If the event involves our organization, this should also
trigger the use of an emergency plan.
The text continues with a useful list. It gives us a working
outline that includes principles and tasks that should be part of a
Let's reorder this item. It should say to eliminate or
reduce these risks:
loss of human life
potential for injuries
damage to facilities
loss of assets
Preserve life, health, safety, and belongings in that order. That
matches the image on the right pretty well. It is often called Maslow's
Pyramid or Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
Plan to resume limited operations, then normal operations.
Reduce exposure to liability.
Invoke the powers that are granted in the plan to those
managing the disaster. Minimize the effects and plan to recover as soon
The next section of the text repeats what has been said before
about the material above, and about planning for the inevitable
disasters. Let's spend a couple of minutes on Abraham Maslow instead.
The book should mention him, and it does not. It gives us a perspective
on the hierarchy established above.
part of the discussion of what to plan for, the author gives us a list
of teams that might be needed during the disaster. The list gives us
something to think about, regarding what they will do for us and how
they will make the situation better.
Disaster management team
Computer hardware recovery team
Systems recovery team
Network recovery team
Storage recovery team
Applications recovery team
Data management team
Vendor contact team
Damage assessment and salvage team
Business interface team
The only one that seems to need an explanation is the Business
Interface team. They are the interface between the IT department and
the rest of the organization. Some of what they do might be included in
other teams, depending on how you set up the teams.
The chapter concludes with a series of phases that follow the trigger event.
Response phase - The people dealing with the disaster
contain it and protect resources according to the plan's hierarchy,
which will probably match the one explained above.
Recovery phase - The things that keep us in business are
recovered first, as addressed in your business continuity plan, or your
disaster recovery plan if there is no BCP.
Resumption phase - Having dealt with the BCP, the other
items in the business impact plan are addressed by recovering them in an
order dictated by their dependencies.
Restoration phase - This phase has more to do with
restoration of the business location. Restore, rebuilt, or relocate? It
depends greatly on what went wrong and how badly the original site was damaged.
The assignment for this week has not yet been determined.