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A Quick Look at the Disaster Recovery Lifecycle

The five phases of disaster recovery need to be reviewed regularly.

Creating a continuity of operations (COOP) should not result in a document that your organization puts on a shelf and forgets about. Like the systems and processes it protects, a COOP has a lifecycle. The plan needs to be re-evaluated periodically, preferably after each test. And because the COOP is derived from operations acumen, it really needs to be tested on a schedule.

There are five unique phases in the disaster recovery lifecycle.

  1. Analysis: The foundation of the COOP, the analysis phase is when the IT team determines the most potent and the most likely threats to occur, what the impact of each threat could be, and what the organization should do if the threat occurs. This is also known as the risk calculation phase.

  2. Solution design: The goal here is to identify the most cost-effective solutions to identified threats that are technically viable.

  3. Implementation: This phase consists solely of the execution of the design elements identified in the solution design phase.

  4. Testing and acceptance: To be certain that the disaster recovery plans and/or the COOP meet the needs of the organization, testing is required to assure processes and acceptance. Testing is not merely an IT exercise, but should involve all stakeholders in the system.

  5. Maintenance: Once a COOP and/or a disaster recovery plan are established, regular maintenance of the plans helps ensure continued viability. The maintenance phase is the ongoing effort to address technical solution needs, recovery solution needs and organizational changes as they affect operational preparedness.

From the very beginning and throughout the disaster recovery lifecycle, the focus must always remain on managing risk to the operations environment and maintaining continuous availability. Threats such as data loss, service failure, power outages, software incompatibility and security concerns put the operations environment in a continuous state of risk.

Download our Continuity of Operations reference guide for more information.

Nov 05 2012