Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Sites and Options

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity have become an integral part of the ongoing business process with most of the Organizations that consider it important to do risk assessment and risk mitigation to safeguard their business from all sorts of threats and crises.

DR & BC plans can be drawn up in detail and elaborately to cover each and every business process and function. The extent to which one must elaborate would depend upon the nature of business and the cost of recovery.

Business Continuity is largely maintained through alternative BC or DR site which can be inside the same city, in another city or location or at an overseas location etc. When it comes to IT and systems recovery as well as DR plans for IT companies the options of Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity sites as well as recovery process are different from normal DR or BC Sites.

Apart from having to plan for Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Sites, the companies have further more options for recovery assistance. Some of the widely used options are given hereunder.

Vendor Performance Guarantee

Companies tie up with the supplier or vendor to provide nil down time or pre specified downtime recovery assistance by replacing the hardware immediately or holding inventory of spares at customer site. Companies like IBM, Dell etc stock some of the critical components and spare hardware as well as engineers at large customer sites (Eg: Banks) to provide onsite support as per their performance agreements.

Hardware Insurance

Some of the vendors or suppliers offer insurance or guarantee with commitment on replacing the parts within stipulated time period or replacing the product as the case may be.

Commercial Disaster Recovery Sites

It is not uncommon in case of IT companies to seek services of a third party vendor who specializes in providing DR services. In most cases where the IT installations are huge and critical, using a good third party DR center makes more sense than setting up one in house. When it comes to Third party services, following options are available in the market.

  1. Hot Site: A hot site refers to a ready to use office or site or a ‘Plug and Play’ facility that is fully equipped and fully functional. In case of hot sites, all systems can be pre-loaded and kept ready for use including communication network etc within one hour or so. The cost of such hot site could be the same as the running costs of established operations or even more.

  2. Cold Site: A shell space with basic facilities is called a cold site. One would need to move in, set up the computer networks and get the systems set up going including communication network etc. Cold site basically refers to a semi furnished space with basic infrastructure in place. The cost could be relatively cheaper as it does not include the infrastructure. In case of an emergency, the teams can move in with the infrastructure and set up the office or business within a day or two.

  3. Mobile or Portable Sites: Some vendors offer work spaces that are mobile and mounted on trailers. Some offer portable prefab cabins which can be stationed anywhere. Such mobile sites would be shell spaces and would need to be equipped with infrastructure to start operations.

There are several reputed third party services offering Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity sites on commercial basis. Some of the well known names include IBM, Comdisco, Sun guard, Strohl, LBL technology Partners & Technology protection systems etc. Besides the commercial ventures, several institutes are available from which one can get required guidance and assistance to develop plans in house.

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