Be Prepared! Is Your Disaster Readiness Plan in Place?

I have fond memories as a Boy Scout of camping, archery and earning merit badges for building lean-tos. I think of the scouts credo “Be prepared!” all the time. That motto is as relevant today as it was when I was a scout.

To be clear, “Be prepared” as defined by the Boy Scout manual, means you are always in a state of readiness of mind and body to do your DUTY. So what does this mean in the context of today’s 7x24xforever world we live in? Plenty.

Many people have a very different idea of what being prepared truly means. Being prepared could mean organizing yourself for daily mundane tasks, like getting to and from your place of employment, planning for your vacation, or the myriad of family commitments. Preparedness takes on a new meaning in the event of a disaster.

Planning for a disaster can be a challenge at the best of times. Under pressure or duress it can be impossible to clearly ascertain what steps are needed for corrective action. Clear thinking is impossible during a catastrophic event.

For instance, many of us have found ourselves in a state of panic after an automobile accident. Disasters can happen suddenly and without warning. One must be prepared to take rapid, corrective action for the good of yourself and others. Not an easy task.

Now translate a catastrophic event to a large institution or company. The complexities and orchestration abound. For example, if a company’s IT operations or critical applications go down for any unforeseen reason, it has a ripple effect across the entire company, impacting thousands of employees and customers alike.

An outage can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue, and loss of mindshare due to a tarnished reputation. In essence, being prepared means having a coherent disaster recovery plan that is well thought out, coordinated, and foolproof.

An organization must develop a business impact analysis (BIA) before developing and implementing a comprehensive disaster recovery or readiness plan. A BIA is the first step to gaining a clearer understanding of a company’s most critical IT operations and applications to determine the impact of an unplanned interruption. The BIA ranking system organizes the most critical IT business operations, evaluates the impact of an unplanned outage, and identifies acceptable levels of downtime, losses and recovery point and time objectives. A BIA should be a standardized assessment used by all organizations to analyze critical applications and IT infrastructure, in order to forward the company goals and mission in the event of a disaster.

Key questions covered in a Business Impact Analysis:

  • What are your most critical applications?
  • How long can these applications remain offline or inaccessible before it detrimentally impacts your organization’s mission?
  • What people, processes or systems need to be in place to ensure critical applications or IT operations can continue after a disaster?

Dell has discovered that many companies do not have any strategies, processes or contingency plans in place to enable them to resume operations in the event of a disaster. The good news is that we can help you or your organization develop and implement a BIA. Download this comprehensive toolkit to help you perform a detailed analysis of your IT operations and disaster readiness plan. Being prepared means having a BIA in place that ensures a rapid recovery of critical IT systems and applications. So be prepared ─ and don’t be MIA with your BIA or your company will pay the ultimate price.

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