Chapter 1. Understanding Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery (DR) planning is concerned with preparation for and response when disaster hits. The objective of DR planning is the survival of an organization. Because DR planning is such a wide topic, this book focuses only on the IT systems and users who support critical business processes. Getting this topic alone to fit into a 400-page book is quite a challenge.

In this chapter, I describe why you need disaster recovery planning and what benefits you can gain from going through this planning. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that the benefits go far beyond just planning for disaster.

I also take you through the entire disaster recovery planning process—from analysis, to plan development and testing, to periodic plan revisions based on business events. If you've never done any work in disaster recovery planning before, this chapter's a good place to start—you can get the entire story in 20 pages. Then, you can branch out and go to the specific topics of interest to you elsewhere in this book.

Disaster Recovery Needs and Benefits

Stuff happens. Bad stuff.

Disasters of every sort happen, and you may find getting out of their way and escaping their consequences very difficult. If you're lucky enough to avoid the direct impact of a disaster, dodging its secondary effects is harder still.

Here are some of the disasters that can assail an organization:

  • Fires

  • Floods

  • Tornadoes

  • Hurricanes

  • Wind and ice storms

  • Severe storms

  • Wildfires

  • Landslides ...

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