Business Continuity

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3. Business Continuity

As the name suggests itself, this is about planning to continue business functions when disaster strikes. As a minimum, a business continuity plan should contain details of:

1. Details of who can envoke the plan alongwith a complete list of who will be responsible for what.
2. Details of suppliers to be used including any offsite arrangements alonwith key contacts.
3. Areas of the business that should be envoked earliest and a list of follower areas.
4. Details of any DR plans.

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Disaster Recovery

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2. Disaster Recovery plans

Disaster Recovery is all about, as the name suggests, trying to revert your systems to a state of pre-disaster, i.e. when everything was in working order.

Firstly, design your DR plan by thinking about your most critical IT systems. Secondly, link that to your business continuity plans and thirdly, check and test them regularly. Ideally, testing should be conducted twice per annum but at least once very year. Ensure there is a DR envocation plan and that those instructions contain:

1. Supplier contact names and telephone numbers

2. Your personnel names for envocation of the service

3. Systems that are covered and what is equipment is available

4. Date of last successful test  

these details need to be displayed within the IT department and should be easily accessible offsite by key members of your staff, in the case of an emergency.

Backups

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The three fundamentals of IT.

1. Backups 2. Disaster Recovery plans 3. Business Continuity

1.Backups

The importance of backups cannot be underestimated. Systems get corrupted and users delete file all the time and without an efficient backup strategy, you can be left in the wild. When I started within IT, my first job was to go and change the backup tapes. It wasn’t long when I decided to ask my manager as to why someone else could not do this obviously boring, repetitive job. That is when it was explained to me why backups were important. Well, at least this area of IT remains unchanged. Ensure backups work and that you know the kind of backups that are being done.  As there is always confusion on the types of backups. Backups should always be kept offsite and not in any kind of safe onsite including fire safes.

I will explain them below, courtesy of http://www.backup4all.com/kb/backup-types-115.html ;

Full backup

Full backup is the starting point for all other types of backup and contains all the data in the folders and files that are selected to be backed up. Because full backup stores all files and folders, frequent full backups result in faster and simpler restore operations. Remember that when you choose other backup types, restore jobs may take longer.

Differential backup

Differential backup contains all files that have changed since the last FULL backup. The advantage of a differential backup is that it shortens restore time compared to a full backup or an incremental backup. However, if you perform the differential backup too many times, the size of the differential backup might grow to be larger than the baseline full backup.

Incremental backup

Incremental backup stores all files that have changed since the last FULL, DIFFERENTIAL OR INCREMENTAL backup. The advantage of an incremental backup is that it takes the least time to complete. However, during a restore operation, each incremental backup must be processed, which could result in a lengthy restore job.