A well defined and documented Disaster Recovery Plan is an insurance policy - you certainly need one, but you also hope you never have to use it. That said, if the need arises, you must also know that you will be ready and able to respond. That's why it's so important to clearly define every aspect of "plan activation". Read on for more.
Activation is the means by which the actions contained in a documented DRP are initiated and executed. A qualifying event occurs and planned steps are taken. A defined activation process makes it easier to realize every benefit of proactive disaster recovery planning. To ensure timely activation, related steps and procedures must address multiple needs and requirements, accounting for life safety, chain of command, escalation and effective communication.
How can you be sure that your activation procedures are sufficiently relevant, realistic and actionable? Plan testing is an absolute necessity, but your first step is to ensure that all activation needs have been fully accounted for. To that end, activation procedures should be defined according to three (3) primary guidelines:
Activation scope the totality of all related strategies and procedures to ensure that the DRP can be invoked when needed, and in an orderly, effective fashion, encompassing the following (5) elements:
One of the most important steps in DRP activation is to know whether activation is appropriate. Not every problem event will qualify as a "disaster", and although it might appear otherwise on the surface, DRP activation is not always appropriate. "Event analysis" is used to determine whether DRP activation is warranted. As activation procedures are planned, event analysis practices must be sufficiently defined through the following questions:
Above all, whenever a DRP must be activated, responding action must be immediate and effective. A disaster is no time to figure out what to do "in order to respond". You need to focus on action and the specifics of the event at hand -- not on the uncertainty involved. To that end, a standardized approach to DRP activation must address the four (4) factors of disaster recovery capability: to react, to respond, to recover and to evaluate. The following listing summarizes each factor and the primary steps involved.
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