The Disaster Recovery Handbook
A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets
Authors: Michael Wallace, Lawrence Webber
Pub Date: December 2010
Print Edition: $59.95
Print ISBN: 9780814416136
Page Count: 448
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814416143
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Overview of the Project
Nothing is impossible for the man
who doesn’t have to do it himself.
The job of a business executive requires coordination of the many activities
necessary to create a successful business. Markets must be analyzed, potential
customers identified, strategies for creating and delivering products and services
must be developed, financial goals established and reported, legislative mandates
followed, and many different stakeholders satisfied. To ensure that all of these
objectives are met, businesses eventually develop a series of processes designed
to produce the desired result. But the world is a dangerous place. Earthquakes,
floods, tornadoes, pandemics, snow storms, fire, and other natural disasters can
strike at any time and interrupt these important processes. Terrorism, riots, arson,
sabotage, and other human-created disasters can also damage your business.
Accidents and equipment failures are guaranteed to happen. As an executive
responsible for the well-being of your organization, it is critical that you have a
plan in place to ensure that your business can continue its operations after such
a disaster and to protect vital operations, facilities, and assets.
You do this just like you do any other important task; you analyze the situation
and create a plan. A disaster recovery plan keeps you in business after a disaster
by helping to minimize the damage and allowing your organization to recover as
quickly as possible. While you can’t prevent every disaster, you can with proper
planning mitigate the damage and get back to work quickly and efficiently. The
key is having a well thought out and up-to-date disaster recovery plan. This
chapter will lead you through the creation and implementation of a project plan
for creating an effective disaster recovery plan.
Building a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is much like any other
business project. A formal project management process is necessary to coordinate
the various players and company disciplines required to successfully deliver the
desired results of the project. This chapter will give you a high-level roadmap of
what you should expect as you prepare to lead or manage a disaster recovery
project. A sample project plan is included on the CD-ROM accompanying this
book. Adapt this chapter and the project plan to fit your business goals, company
timeline, and scope of project.
Most projects tend to run in a well-defined sequence. For example, to build a
new house, first you clear the land, then build the foundation, then build a floor,
and so on. Many things cannot begin until the previous step is completed. A
business continuity plan (BCP) project is a bit different. In its early stages, most
actions logically follow each other. However, once the basic elements are in place,
the project bursts out on to parallel tracks, as each department documents its own
area. How you proceed in your company is, of course, determined by your corporate
culture, the resources you have to work with to complete the process, and the level
of visible support from the project’s sponsor. Most business continuity projects
follow these steps:
1. An executive within the organization decides that a business continuity plan
is needed. This might be due to an auditor’s report or the result of a business
disruption that was more painful than it would have been if a plan had been
in place. Or it could be that an alert employee realized that a good plan did not
exist and brought this to the executive’s attention. This executive normally
becomes the sponsor for the project.
2. The first (and most important) step that the sponsor takes is to select someone
to lead the project. This person is most often called the Business Continuity
Manager and is responsible for the successful completion of the project.
3. The project sponsor and the Business Continuity Manager meet to clearly
define the scope of the project, the project timeline, and expectations. The
Business Continuity Manager must be comfortable that the resources available
are adequate to meet all the objectives of the project.
4. The Business Continuity Manager selects the team that will work together to
complete the project. Both technical and political considerations are important
in selecting a team that can successfully develop a workable business
5. The Business Continuity Manager together with the team now develops the
project plan to be used in managing the project. Tasks are identified and
assigned, task durations calculated, and activities are sequenced as the project
plans are developed.
6. The project plans are executed. The Business Continuity Manager oversees
the project as the plan unfolds, keeping everyone focused on completing their
tasks, and ensuring that milestones are met and that important stakeholders
are kept informed as to the project’s progress. It is here where the actual
continuity plans for the organization are created.
7. Once the business continuity plans have been developed and tested, the
Business Continuity Manager closes the project by making sure that everything
was documented properly and handing the project results over to the
individual(s) responsible for keeping the plan up to date. Each affected
department will normally have someone responsible for keeping their portion
of the plan current. A report is also generated for the sponsor recapping the
project and documenting lessons learned.
In many organizations, the job of Business Continuity Manager is not taken as
seriously as it should be. Management in these organizations only wants you to
write something, anything to make the auditors go away. That’s OK because as
you build the plan, and as they begin to see the benefits, their interest and support
A project plan organizes the team so members focus their skills on specific
actions to get the job done. This respects their time and brings the project to a
prompt, but successful, solution.
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