Facilitating a Successful Disaster Recovery Exercise

Michael Herrera

Facilitating a successful disaster recovery exercise is like putting together a watch.  There are many pieces but once put together properly, work in synch.  Achieving exercise success requires a repeatable process that can be executed time and time again.  Here are some high level tips to consider:

90 days before:

  1. Start formal planning.
  2. Identify the systems and applications to exercise.  Receove approval from management.
  3. Update or document system and application recovery plans for the systems and applications to exercise.
  4. Determine level of system and application testing (e.g., standalone, integrated, business process, etc.).
  5. Review exercise with IT management.
  6. Validate schedule of testing with your alternate site.

60 days before

  1. Document timeline of the exercise from beginning to end.
  2. Document exercise plan detailing the scope, assumptions, objectives and tasks to successfully execute the exercise.
  3. Complet update and/or documentation of system and application recovery plans.
  4. Hold weekly meetings with all participants.  
  5. Train new participants in the process. 
  6. Document and resolve action items.
  7. Schedule logistical issues such as travel, food, lodging, alternate site access, etc.
  8. Identify date of the data to be restored.
  9. Validate the alternate site will be fully operational and configured.
  10. Determine method to sterilize the alternate site of any confidential data.

 30 days to Date of Exercise

  1. Finalize all system and application recovery plans.
  2. Finalize exercise coordinator tasklists and timelines.
  3. Finalize offsite storage needs and schedule for transport to alternate site.
  4. Complete any change management requests needed to complete the exercise.
  5. Hold final session with participants.
  6. Close out action items.
  7. Secure and account for all data coming and leaving the alternate site.
  8. Execute the exercise.
  9. Document all issues during the exercise.

 About MHA:  MHA Consulting is a leading boutique Business Continuity Planning, Disaster Recovery and IT Optimization consulting services firm for Fortune 1000 companies.  Visit our website at www.mha-it.com .

About
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.
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