Disaster Recovery in Chennai, Cumbria, Boston, or Your City: Are You Prepared? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

An airplane might be one of your first thoughts of a way to escape when your city is flooding…

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. . . but you wouldn’t have gotten far in one during the worst flooding Chennai, India has experienced in 100 years.

People in Boston, Massachusetts found that cars didn’t do them a whole lot of good either when faced with 108.6 inches of snow during the 2014-2015 season.

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But rafts can do the trick, as sufferers from the U.K’s Storm Desmond learned recently.

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All levity aside, natural disasters and other catastrophic events can wreak havoc on people’s lives…and on business operations.

While most offshore service providers have complete and world-class disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place for their clients, many are primarily focused on re-establishing facility-level activities and, ultimately, the systems and data used offshore. However, during catastrophes, the effectiveness of these plans can be greatly hindered due to lack of access to key people or resources.

Thus, in light of the recent Chennai and U.K. floods, we thought it an appropriate time to review the critical components of disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) plans.

Everest Group breaks disaster recovery and business continuity planning into four primary categories.

Immediate relief

At the immediate onset of a disastrous event – be it fire, tornado, earthquake, flood, gas leak, etc. – fear, anxiety, and adrenaline are all extraordinarily high. To make certain all goes as smoothly as possible in the earliest hours of the event, this portion of your plan must your cover communications (with authorities, business partners, employees, and family members), how top and high priority tasks will be managed, and, most important, evacuation al all personnel to a safe location.

Backup plan to keep the lights on with diminished capacity

Focuses here must be on alternative sites, and detailed procedures for establishing voice and data communications and other operations. Will you use a location hot site, a mobile facility, or a combination? What processes and services will be delivered from each site? What procedures are in place for establishing voice and data communications? These are just a few of the key considerations for helping ensure the most critical operations continue.

Facility and operations restoration and reconstruction

To enable the impacted facility to become habitable once again, your plan must cover procedures for departments, team responsibilities, emergency accounting, functional areas, notifications, risk assessments, etc. It must also address equipment considerations including main computer system(s), microcomputers, desktop systems, data and voice communications, and other critical equipment such as heating, cooling, and security systems.

DR/BC plan maintenance and testing

As conditions change over time, your plan must include maintenance procedures for keeping the plan current, a regular refresh to update the inventory of systems hardware and other equipment, and a calendared update of network operations, communications lines, service recovery requirements, etc. As the best laid plans can go awry, periodic testing of the plan is also a critical requirement. Everest Group recommends maintenance and testing be conducted annually.

While disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, proper preparedness can go a long way in minimizing the impact. We wish all those affected by the current Chennai and U.K. flood situations a quick and healthy recovery, and mourn with those who lost loved ones during these epic events.

Keep your eyes on this space for more details on what DR and BC plans should include!

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