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Month: March 2010

Disaster Recovery 101 Part 2: Starting The Plan

In part 1 I looked at the basics you need in place before any DR plan can be put together, tested and approved.  So we have our IT provision in place.  It is well documented.  Backups are regular, tested and stored securely, ideally off-site.  Original media and license documents are stored securely off-site.

Now we can look at starting the DR planning process.  Things can get a bit more challenging here but don’t worry. Remember, calmness and clear thinking are your friends here.

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Disaster Recovery 101: Intro & Foundations

Recently I came across Russell Dyas’ excellent blog entry about Disaster Recovery.  It’s a useful reminder about having a disaster recovery plan and testing it.  After all, plan that falls apart isn’t worth anything.  In my experience (12 years or so) Disaster Recovery – DR – is for every company, whatever its size.  Every company needs a DR plan in place.  One that you have tested and communicated so that should an incident ever happen, your plan will prove its value to the company.

To many people Disaster Recovery sounds intimidating and expensive, especially that first word.

Disaster.

It’s frightening and can (and does) cause panic and confusion.  That’s probably why it’s easier to use “DR” rather than “Disaster Recovery”.  I never use the D-word when on DR work.  I prefer to use the word “incident”, just like above.  It doesn’t give rise to the same kind of images as the D-word.

There’s a simpler way to think of DR scenarios: what if your organisation cannot do business?  A DR plan aims to help get operational as quickly as you can and then to get fully back with as little loss of data as possible.  Forget about the images of typhoons, burning buildings, fire engines and all that.  Clear and calm thinking are your friends.

Large companies can and often do have their DR plans developed by an external DR supplier.  That can be very convenient but can also be very expensive.  Some companies can’t be fully covered by a DR supplier while others may not have the resources to do that.  SME organisations and small not-for-profit organisations come to mind.

That doesn’t mean you can’t put together a good DR plan, be confident about it and about following it if an incident occurs.

For those organisations that have an out of date DR plan or don’t have one at all, the idea of looking at DR may be one which is scary.  This set of posts should help to calm any nerves, clear up any confusion and suggest a way forward.  I’ll take a general look at some DR basics based on my experiences and observations.

At the end of this set of posts readers will have:

  1. A basic definition of DR
  2. Foundations needed before DR planning can start
  3. Steps in drawing up a DR plan
  4. Testing your DR plan
  5. Agreeing activation procedure and signing off the plan
  6. Keeping the plan up to date

Please remember that this is a general outline of DR.  The suggestions made in these posts are based on my experience and are, I believe, a good way to start a DR planning process.  They should be altered to fit your own business needs; what is ideal for a company of 80 staff isn’t right for a company of 4 staff.  But the basic principles behind the suggestions remain the same.

In this first part I’ll look at some foundations that need to be in place before any DR plan can start to be drawn up.

Continue reading Disaster Recovery 101: Intro & Foundations

Unison Spreading Fear Through Propaganda

It should come as no surprise as we head towards a General Election that Unison comes along with a piece of pathetic fear spreading propaganda as a pro-Labour campaign.  Before I respond to this piece of garbage with some clear and simple home truths, let me make my stance clear.

Your average leftie may well start to rant about me being anti-union.  That is complete and utter garbage.  I speak as a former workplace union rep.  I am not anti-union nor am I anti management.  I am anti poor peformance, anti-stupidity and anti-impracticality.  Wherever it may come from, whether it is workers or management.  My response to an article by Harry Phibbs is one such example.  Some good ideas, some others not practical (in my view).

In my experience neither side holds the monopoly on best practice.  Neither holds the monopoly on half-wittedness.  And the local authorities I’ve seen have plenty of areas where things can be massively improved.  Note how I say improved and not cut.  Service provision can be improved by thorough assessment, review and retargeting.  Waste should be cut.  It’s not rocket science, it’s best value.  I speak from personal experience here.  Real world experience from both sides of the equation.

Continue reading Unison Spreading Fear Through Propaganda