Recovery Strategy Selection Criteria
When selecting an appropriate business recovery or continuity
strategy several criteria should be met – they include:
The recovery strategy selected must satisfy the key
The recovery strategy must be cost effective and
justified, and must be deemed as an appropriate cost of
The recovery strategy must be
currently viable and must have the ability to be upgraded to
suitable levels, should technology and/or business changes
or enhancements be made
to the business
A Business Continuity Plan
or Disaster Recovery Plan
(DRP) will need to be
developed, documented and maintained to ensure that the chosen
disaster recovery strategy can be readily actioned.
BCP/DRP should enable the resumption of critical business
processes at an alternate location within a time period approved
by senior management.
Recovery Time Objective
To select an appropriate disaster recovery
strategy you will need to confirm an appropriate Recovery Time
Objective (RTO) - See
The challenge associated with selecting an RTO
is balancing the potential impacts and costs of a disaster
versus the costs of the recovery strategy. In general, as the
RTO decreases the associated recovery costs increase – As
complexity increases, so does cost.
In-House Recovery Centre
When your company relies on computing and phone systems for
business critical operations, keeping the system up and running
Just about nothing is more catastrophic to a business than an
unexpected system outage.
As managers create business recovery strategies to protect
their businesses from such events, they may consider setting up
an in-house recovery centre, or ‘hot site’. The benefit of this
approach is complete control over the recovery environment. But
that option can be expensive and complex to manage.
Using a commercial hot site may provide more flexibility and
is normally a more cost-effective solution. Companies
often find it takes more time and money to build this kind of
centre than allowed for. In addition to the obvious costs, such
as the purchase of redundant systems for use in recovery,
operating a hot site entails many hidden hardware, software,
staff and support costs.
Of all the recovery options, in-house recovery is generally
considered the most expensive.
Example potential hidden costs:
Software costs, an important component of the business
recovery budget, are often underestimated by companies
setting up an internal hot site.
Space. Raised-floor and general office space costs vary
Environment. Generators are a necessity, and an UPS
(un-interruptible power source) is highly recommended.
Staff. Hot sites need people to do the work of
Data communications. Recovering the computer systems
themselves has no effect on recovering the business if users
cannot access the data.
COMMERCIAL HOT SITE STRATEGY - DEDICATED
This strategy provides a high level of recovery capability with
minimal downtime. This consists of having a dedicated disaster
recovery equipment and site, which can be activated upon demand in
the event of a disaster.
This strategy will enable the recovery of a critical function or
system that has a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) less than 24-hours.
To provide justification for this type of solution it is
recommended that a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) be conducted. A
BIA provides the information on the possible impacts of
interruptions of critical business functions, and will provide an
accurate RTO for the systems and critical business processes in question
COMMERCIAL WARM SITE STRATEGY - SHARED
A shared warm site facility is generally considered the most cost
effective way of providing a disaster recovery capability.
A shared recovery site is one that is
utilized by several
companies in diverse geographic locations, and thus the costs are
distributed across the client base. Recovery timeframes are
increased over the dedicated facility due to the need to reconfigure
the shared infrastructure.
The establishment of this type of recovery strategy requires
extensive planning to determine, first, what is the required RTO and
second, what configuration will be required to accomplish that RTO.
COLD SITE STRATEGY
The cold site strategy entails providing a shell work space or a
computer room facility without any computing equipment installed, in
which the recovery of the technology systems can be accomplished.
The cold site will normally have the entire required
infrastructure in place such as raised floor for IT equipment,
environmental controls, power distribution and communications. It is
generally accepted that it may take several weeks to activate a cold
site facility depending upon the requirements. It will then take
several more days to bring any restored systems to the desired state
Next Process -
Creating Your Business Continuity Plan