A well thought out and appropriately written Disaster Recovery Plan can be the major difference in how fast your business can be up and running following an interruption in your IT operations. Even when a Disaster Recovery Plan seems to meet the needs of your business, there can still be the possibility it may not be optimal. That’s because most Disaster Recovery Plans are focused on major IT disasters.

However, a number of surveys have indicated that it is far more likely that an interruption in your IT service operations will result from less-dramatic causes such as a server failure or an Internet connection outage.

Disasters need to be viewed on a continuum. Your Disaster Recovery Plan needs to account for the entire range of possible disasters, from isolated ones such as a disk failure to a major catastrophe like a fire or a natural disaster. How do you make sure your Disaster Recovery Plan covers the entire spectrum of possibilities? The answer is to manage your Disaster Recovery Plan as an extension of your IT service management.

Why integrate Disaster Recovery Plan into your IT Service Management?

Extending your IT service management processes to account for disaster scenarios integrates disaster recovery thinking into normal IT operations. This will reduce the possibility of extended system outages in a disaster. It will also provide you with a complete action plan for any incident. Knowledge is power so the more you know about your systems and what to do in case of failure, large or small, the less likely you’ll experience a long service interruption.

Incorporating disaster recovery scenarios into IT service management processes leads to better decisions about how to respond to less obvious disaster recovery scenarios, when to escalate those incidents, and whether to initiate recovery procedures rather than continue troubleshooting.

A further benefit is that your Disaster Recovery Plan will be more actionable when it is integrated into your overall IT service management processes. It will become much clearer when to invoke your Disaster Recovery Plan when the situation is not an obvious disaster.

How to integrate your Disaster Recovery Plan into your IT service management?

One of the best ways you can start the integration of Disaster Recovery with your IT service management is by performing a Business Impact Analysis on all your IT systems. The Business Impact Analysis focuses on prioritizing the components of your IT systems. This will document which of your systems are Mission Critical, Important, or Not Important for day-to-day operations.
Starting with your Mission Critical components, here is a list of steps to follow to implement your Disaster Recovery Plan and regular IT services management together:

  • Step 1. Determine the impact of downtime and, if needed, reassess the criticality you’ve assigned to the component.
  • Step 2. Identify any system dependencies that exist.
  • Step 3. Perform a risk assessment to determine where to prioritize your investments to meet your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).
  • Step 4. Once you have the Mission Critical guidelines completed, continue with the same process for your Important systems and then your Non-Important systems.

What should you consider when integrating your Disaster Recovery Plan with your IT service management?

The critical elements to consider for integrating your Disaster Recovery Plan with your IT service management are: prioritizing the severity of the disasters that could occur, defining appropriate escalation time frames, and defining Disaster Recovery timelines and goals.

Prioritizing Disaster Severity

Disasters don’t start with equal priority. The response to a natural disaster takes your entire system offline will be much different than a failure of a single component. Review the possible issues that could happen and assign each a priority level based on the impact it could have on your business. For example, obvious disasters might have a severity level of 0. Critical issues might be level 1. Urgent issues might be level 2…and so on.

Escalation Time Frames

While level 0 disasters would immediately lead to your Disaster Recovery Plan, lower level incidents would likely be handled by your troubleshooting team first as part of your IT service management. Some, however, might reach a point where troubleshooting is no longer appropriate. You need to have clear time frames on when troubleshooting stops and disaster recovery begins.

Disaster Recovery Timelines and Goals

No matter when your Disaster Recovery Plan is activated, clear timelines and goals (i.e. RTO and RPO) should be in place.

Let Us Help You Improve the Success of your Disaster Recovery Plan

Your Disaster Recovery Plan is likely to be more successful in more scenarios by integrating it with your regular IT services management. Our team of experts have worked with many organizations to help them achieve successful integration of Disaster Recovery with their IT service management. Contact us today and we will be happy to discuss how you can minimize your organization’s downtime during disasters and incidents.