By Mike Talon
In recent articles, I've focused on the importance of proper communication in the disaster recovery planning process. Continuing with this theme, I want to focus this article on one of the most overlooked aspects of DR planning.
Many times, an IT pro takes one look at the enormous task of forming a DR plan, throws up his or her hands, and throws in the towel. The issue isn't that DR planning is too much for one person—it absolutely is; that's a given. However, an IT pro has so many places to turn for advice and assistance that he or she often overlooks many resources that can make the task easier to manage.
Of course, I would be severely remiss not to mention your most obvious resource: TechRepublic.com as well as CNET Networks' other properties, including News.com, Downloads, com, and more. Take advantage of this focused source of information for more help on security, networking, and many other topics, all of which play a role in DR planning.
Perhaps even more important, however, is the community of IT pros who visit and participate on these sites. This group is a great resource you can turn to for advice about planning and implementations that members have already performed. Tap into their experiences, and benefit from their lessons learned.
The Internet also offers a number of opportunities for networking with other IT pros to find answers to your questions. User groups, bulletin boards, and online forums provide effective resources for finding out more information about software and hardware recovery and protection solutions.
In addition, regulatory agencies—both government- and industry-based—offer many resources you can leverage when beginning the process as well as throughout your DR planning. Because these agencies often impose stiff penalties for failure to comply with regulations, they tend to offer advice and referrals for organizations that must meet these regulations. You can often find referrals to specialists and user groups, as well as a wealth of documentation that offers insight into many different aspects of DR planning.
Last but definitely not least, don't forget about your vendors. They can often assist you in creating a complete DR plan.
Most software and hardware vendors (both of DR solutions and in general) can offer advice for using their particular products to create a DR strategy. Many will work directly with other vendors to create a combined strategy that takes into account multiple solutions.
Of course, as you would expect, vendors typically focus on their own products. For a well-rounded, less-biased information pool, I recommend speaking to more than one vendor of each type of tool or solution.
DR planning can be an overwhelming task—especially if you don't have a large technical staff to help gather information. But take heart in the fact that no IT pro is alone in the digital world. Leverage the many objective sources of information when creating your organization's DR plan.
Mike Talon is an IT consultant and freelance journalist who has worked for both traditional businesses and dot-com startups.