disaster recovery

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disaster recovery

(business)
(DR) Planning and implementation of procedures and facilities for use when essential systems are not available for a period long enough to have a significant impact on the business, e.g. when the head office is blown up.

Disasters include natural: fire, flood, lightning, hurricane; hardware: power failure, component failure, head crash; software failure: bugs, resources; vandalism: arson, bombing, cracking, theft; data corruption or loss: human error, media failure; communications: computer network equipment, network storm, telephones; security: passwords compromised, computer virus; legal: change in legislation; personnel: unavailability of essential staff, industrial action.

Companies need to plan for disaster: before: risk analysis, preventive measures, training; during: how should staff and systems respond; after: recovery measures, post mortem analysis.

Hardware can usually be replaced and is usually insured. Software and data needs to be backed up off site. Alternative communication systems should be arranged in case of network failure or inaccessible premises, e.g. emergency telephone number, home working, alternative data center.

disaster recovery

A plan for duplicating computer operations after a catastrophe occurs, such as a fire or earthquake. It includes routine off-site backup as well as a procedure for activating vital information systems in a new location.

The ability to recover information systems quickly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 proved the value of disaster recovery. Many companies that had programs in place were up and running within a few days in new locations. Companies that did not have disaster recovery systems had the most difficulty recreating their information infrastructure. See business continuity, data recovery, backup and contingency plan.