Know how – BCP IT DR readiness

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One really wonders if any organization on the planet really enjoys ongoing research, planning and continuous testing for business continuity process effectiveness. The horrible after effects of an outage is a phenomenon that nobody relishes to think about – however, every business HAS TO DO IT INEVEITABLY!!

While putting together a comprehensive Business Continuity Planning (BCP) / DR process, the concerned team needs to closely analyze the dependencies, complexities, efforts and costs of deploying, monitoring, using and supporting a wide array of related applications. If this is not done properly, if there are any errors with respect to having incorrect orders, sequencing, inadequate testing or documentation, there’s a large risk involved. Minor outages at times have potential to turn out as real disasters. The only way to address this is using extreme, sustainable automation of BCP/Disaster Recovery process.

In today’s context, a wish list of a Disaster Recovery Automation team might look to include every aspect that takes to ensure complete automation of failover operations to a remote site and coming back to the primary site. The only way to get there is by embracing extreme automation that involves the following and more…

  1. Automation of monitoring the complete BCP/DR process – Replication, RPO & RTO, Application Health
  2. Disaster Recovery Drills Automation – Pre-Checks, Intrusive & Non-Intrusive, Fallbacks
  3. Enabling reports and dashboards on – DR Drills, RPO & RTO Trending, Replication, Custom Reports and dashboards
  4. Enabling third party integrations – CMDB, Service Desk, EMS / NNM, Email, Calendar, Storage Replication etc.
  5. Ensuring secure execution of scripts / commands
  6. Automation of Escalation Management – SLA Deviation Alerts, BCP Policy based, Escalation Matrix from Active Directory or LDAP
  7. A versioning based inbuilt central document repository where all the DR and BCP documents, scripts, reports can be stored and updated automatically.
  8. Ability to deploy automated controls and enforcing people to follow processes that adhere to internal and external compliances

If the above requirements can be met by an automation tool then this can drastically cut down the number of ongoing manual steps, and hence effectively mitigates the chances of risk and business disruption. If such a solution can be mapped to an organization’s operational model, it drastically reduces recovery time and ensures successful failover and rollback. It also enables ongoing, automated testing and enables Business Continuity without any hindrance. For organizations in banking, manufacturing and eCommerce industries, downtime is directly proportional to lost revenue.

The tools should enable and have provisions for total automation of the Business Continuity processes and operations, and with real time view of the status. Organizations performing business and critical data restoration without the use of extreme automation tools or solutions might just be toddling against the times and tides. But with a solution that provides adequate levels of automation and required visibility of the business continuity as-is scenario, organizations can amply ensure zero business hindrance even during disasters – without overspending for the cause.

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