Disaster Recovery Plan For An Organization

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After any IT disaster happens at Organization, the management understood the importance to build and maintain a Disaster Recovery Plans. This Disaster Recovery plan is prepared to tackle and overcome disaster to make sure the persistence of essential operations in the incident that disasters happen. This preparation will present an efficient way out which will be able to recover all crucial functional process within the requisite time outline using very important records that are going to be stocked up off-site. This preparation is combination of number of plans that will give ways to handle urgent circumstances. These plans may be used separately but they are planned to support each other. A D.R.P Team, headed by a Senior Management will be the person for assisting the Organization with this DRP plan, by providing education, and training. The team will work to identify, collect, and analyze information and apply technique for DRP, and circulate all information to all the stake holders of the Organization in an effective and efficient manner, so that plans may assertively be developed, tested, distributed for fundamental tracking purposes.

Definitions:

Business Continuity is the main aspect for DRP. Disaster Recovery is the ability to counter a disruption in process by introducing a plan to restore the Organization’s critical processes.

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Developing the Plan:

The following steps, more thoroughly described in the document that follows, generally characterize disaster Recovery Plans:

Analyze the Scope

Response

Recovery

SCOPE:

Several interruptions can happen from different sources

  • Natural disasters (earthquake, fire, flood, etc.),
  • Equipment failures,
  • Process failures, such as DOS attacks, hacking, viruses, and arson.

While it is not possible to prevent any of these from occurring, planning helps the team to start necessary functions quickly.

DRP consists of three main activities.

  1. Identifying the common threats for disruptions
  2. Analyzing the impacts and effects that occurred from these disruptions.
  3. Developing a contingent response.

The major result of a Disaster Recovery Planning is

  • “Establish the criteria and severity of a disruption based on the impact the disruption will cause to the unit’s critical functions.

  • Determines critical functions and systems, and the associated durations required for recovery.

  • Determines the resources required to support those critical functions and systems, and defines the requirements for a recovery site.

  • Identifies the people, skills, resources and suppliers needed to assist in the recovery process.

  • Identifies the vital records, which must be stored offsite to support resumptions of unit operations.

  • Documents the appropriate procedures and the information required to recover from a disaster or severe disruption.

  • Addresses the need to maintain the currency of the plan’s information over time.

  • Addresses testing the documented procedures to ensure their completeness and accuracy.”

Reference- https://www.slideshare.net/datacenters/michigan-state-university-unit-guide-to-disaster-recovery

ANALYSIS:

If we analyze the probable areas from where the different kind of interruption might happen, the following assets which are essential for the operations of the Organization, which should be kept under protection

– Hardware (mainframe, mid-range and peripherals)

– Software (operating system, utilities, application programs)

– Network

– Applications

– Data

Exact awareness should be given to the review of the recovery equipment configurations to confirm that the process has the required tools to restore the operational functionality as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

The following are the incidents which may effects the functionality of the Institution. The areas from where disaster may happen are as follows:

FIRE

The threat of fire in the Critical Business Area, especially in the machine room area proves the disaster. The building is filled with electrical devices and connections that could overheat or short out and cause a fire. The computers within the campus also pose a quick target for combustible from anyone wishing to disrupt University functions.

EARTHQUAKE:

The threat of an earthquake in the in the Commercial Operation Business area should not be ignored. And we could expect light to moderate damage from any quake. An earthquake has the potential to disrupt the COB activity and this disaster recovery plan has an importance.

COMPUTER CRIME:

Computer crime is becoming more of a threat as systems become more complex and access is more highly distributed. With the new networking technologies, more potential for improper access is present than ever before. Computer crime usually does not affect hardware in a destructive manner. It may be more insidious, and may often come from within. A disgruntled employee can build viruses or time bombs into applications and systems code. A well-intentioned employee can make coding errors that affect data integrity (not considered a crime, of course, unless the employee deliberately sabotaged programs and data).

Reference http://totalsecurities.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Business-continuity-plan-sumbitted-to-NSE.pdf

TERRORISTIC ACTION AND SABOTAGE:

Any Larger group and high Potential business organization’s computer systems are always potential targets for terrorist actions, such as a bomb. The threat of kidnapping of key personnel also exists.

Severity of the risk

Asset documents Impact on revenue Impact on operation Impact on Image
Faculty information Moderate High Moderate
Student information High Very high Very high
Course information High Very high Very high
Web application Moderate High Very high
Back up system Very high High Moderate

Potential loss:

As the disaster struck the day to day activity of the COB, the organization has to suffer from lots of tangible and intangible loss. The main loss is the cost to recover. The secondary loss is the loss of time to recover the as is system and process to start the as usual activity. The third loss is the impact on the image of the organization, which will reduce the inflow of revenue over some period of time, and that will have a huge impact on the business and overall revenue generation of the COB.

Approach to Prevent:

Fire Alarms: The entire COB building will be equipped with a fire alarm system, with ceiling-mounted smoke detectors scattered throughout the building. Smoke detectors are also placed beneath the raised floor of the machine room.

Fire Extinguishers: Hand-held fire extinguishers are required in visible locations throughout the building. Staffs are to be trained in the use of fire extinguishers.

Water detectors have to be installed in COB floor and pumps have to be installed in COB.

The building construction makes difference if the facility will survive or not. Though the building survives, earthquakes can damage the power and other accessories for a long time. Standby power generators could be purchased or leased to provide power while commercial utilities are restored.

Security products should be installed to protect all systems against unauthorized entry and access. All systems should be authenticated by password protection, especially those who performs updates to data. Passwords should be changed by all stuffs on a regular span of time. Log of invalid attempts to access data should be recorded by all security systems, and security administrators should review these logs on a regular basis.

Back up of all systems should be done on periodic basis. Those backups should be stored in a different area from the original source of the data. Physical safety of the data storage area for backups must be implemented. Good physical security is extremely vital for recovered the data after any disaster happens. However, terrorist attack can often happen irrespective of in-building security, and they might be very damaging. A bomb placed next to an outer wall of the server room may break the wall and cause damage within the server room.

The office building should be properly lit at entire night on all sides. All doors into the main building area should be strong and have good locks. Entrances into the main building should be locked at all times. Only those people with proper security clearances should be permitted into the main campus area. Suspicious parties should be reported to the police.

The Architecture:

To recover data and application after a disaster which damages all or part of the server room in the Offices, certain provision have been made. This architecture illustrate the system has been developed to track the way for a faster and methodical restoration of the services that IT operates.

If the fundamental operations operated by IT are smashed in a disaster, then repairing or reconstruction of that functions may take long time. So it will be essential to restore the computer and network services of the Organizations at a different location.

Office premises might build a HOT Site, a separate independent computer architecture, which is a mirror copy of the original campus database and all application, and it is located in a separate location. This hot site can resume operation as soon as the original site stops operation.

Remote dual copy and automated offsite tape backup facility may be introduce by CAB to facilitate faster recovery after any disaster happen. The main advantage of these facilities is that it does not require full computer set up, but need only the back up devices in a separated place.

The backup policy can be documented as follows

Onsite backup Offsite backup
Daily backup of daily activity files via zip drive

Weekly back up of files and directories using backup tapes

Daily functional dumps will be stored in main server

Weekly full activity dump should be kept on server rack

Daily backups are being kept in briefcase and taken away from the campus everyday

Weekly backups should be taken away from the main site and will be safe if the campus is damaged

 

 

For the main frame server of the organization may introduce different backup system such as Full volume back up, incremental backups, database and application backups etc.

The institution’s IT may introduce RAID-5 format for application server backup policy which will give a faster recovery facility of all the application stored in the mainframe server. And the second and third hard drive for RAID-5 will be stored in a different location maybe connected by network.

The offsite backup can also be done by introducing some third party vendor who stores all the updates on daily basis on their servers and it is obvious in a different location. The contractual agreement should be enough strong so that information and application confidentiality should maintain by the third party.

Disaster notification list and Disaster recovery team should be planned for faster response and to avoid hazard ness and after disaster trauma among employees which is the most vital part of DRP. A RACI chart should be introduce to assign and communicate task of operation well in advance to avoid any chaotic situation.

Recommendations:

To prevent the disaster the Organization must do the following.

  • Regular examination of the fire detection tools is also mandated.
  • Time to time fire extinguisher inspection should be a standard policy.
  • Non-disruptive tests of the Halon system should also be maintained time to time.
  • Smoke detectors located under the server room raised flooring should be periodically inspected and cleaned.
  • Time to time inspections of the under-flooring in the server room must be conducted to detect water/ moisturizer, especially any time there is an intense rainstorm.
  • Periodic inspections of the water detectors also require ensuring their proper function.
  • Operators should also be trained in shutdown procedures of all the systems whenever any security alarm rises.
  • Also, staff in the server room should be trained in responding to electrical alarm.
  • Ventilation system shall be made of metal duct instead of fiberboard.

Conclusion:

On a daily basis, companies are facing with different disasters with diverse extent. Organizations having effectively developed, sustained, and implemented their contingency planning will endure. But many business managements prolong to take the normal processes of their companies for granted. They linger satisfied, hoping that the power will be there always, there may be no blaze or quake–everything will be normal every time. The ultimate business emergency plan is the support of business endurance. However, disaster recovery planning is as good as the base upon which the survival is built. The base is the model. Once the model is prepared through a rational structural approach, and is approved by both organization and the working elements, building of the emergency plan may begin. Improvement for something than complete damage will be attainable by using the plan. Procedures are adequately thorough so anybody other than the person principally accountable for the effort can pursue them. All substitute procedures shall be documented. The Plan will be circulated to all key employees, and they will collect cyclic information. The main approach of the plan is to compose it as disaster-independent. This means, it should be efficient in spite of of what type of destructive occurrence happen.

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About Anish Sarkar 2 Articles
MBA in International Business(Specialization in Information System. Having interest in Business Consultancy , Information Technology , E- Commerce , Cyber Security.