The above questions are not new – they have been asked as long as the topic of disaster recovery / business continuity has been an issue. In today’s economy with the push for reductions of costs across all types and lines of business the above questions are more relevant and are being asked more often. Those questions should not be answered in a vacuum. Answered and solutions implemented incorrectly could be fatal to the organization. The solutions put in place to address acceptable downtime must be effective, AND cost sufficient – putting your real dollars where they really NEED to be spent. I’m talking the full-meal-deal here – data backup strategies, technology strategies, and work area solutions.
In order to determine acceptable downtime those needing to address the issue should consult the entire enterprise and involve the executives in the decision making process. This can be accomplished by conducting a formal business impact analysis. Impacts to stakeholders across the organization must be considered should the organization experience a major disruptive event that affects its business operations. When assessing impacts, the organization should consider those that relate to its business goals and those of its stakeholders. You should consider (per best practices) the seven impact types and emphasizes the importance of documenting all that affect – people, assets, regulation, reputation, financial stability, quality, and the environment.
Once the acceptable downtime is determined and approved only then can you assess and / or implement the proper and cost sufficient solution that will ensure your organizations ability to resume its critical business functions and recovery the business over time. You need to spend only what needs to be spent for your recovery solution – overkill means over spending. Under spending or not spending at all could be fatal to the organization from a business resumption perspective.