Disaster recovery plan: ABC Corporation
Surrounded with a beautiful and friendly environment, ABC Corporation is located at Jacksonville across the St. Johns River and just very few minutes from Atlantic Ocean. ABC Corporation boasts of recognition in the Florida region. The ABC Corporation deals with insurance services to millions of employees. The products they concentrate on are heath cover for employees. It has many branches in Jacksonville.
ABC Corporation has heavy reliance on information systems and information technology. As a requirement for most modern organizations, there is the need to have a strategy that will be used to recover the systems and the operation procedures in situations where there will be disasters. The disasters will range from mild ones to critical ones. ABC Corporation should be ready to deal with the disasters so that they will maintain a good name in the region. Having a good reputation is paramount to the business and how clients perceive them.
List of hardware and software and RTOs/RPOs
I have compiled the hardware and the software that are required for the full recovery to be realized. The software and the hardware are listed as BRASS, CAS, CHS, Claims EDI, CRW, DRG Pricing, FACETS, FileNet OCR, MetraHealth, Multi-Plan, Office Products, PCS, PHCS – Optimed, QDI/OCR/Indexing, SAS enterprise, Scanning Systems, Scanning Systems , Workflow Routing and midrange, LAN, PC to external provider, mainframe.
For the sake of this paper, the client organization is ABC Corporation. The departments that will be analyzed will be that of ABC Regional offices. Four departments are found in this company. The four departments which are found in the company are customer relations; claim Pmt activities, customer phone contacts and utilization departments. The RTO/RPO assigned will largely depend on the department and the criticality of the activities that take place in these departments. The sections that follow will define the RTO/RPOs that are required for the specific department.
Customer relations: The RTO that will be allocated in the customer relations department is four hours and RPO of one day. The reason for this allocation is that the clients and the stakeholders will have to be informed with what is happening with the company. It is therefore very important that this department comes back to action the soonest so that they keep on informing the clients of whatever is happening. The RTO of five immediate RTO will be approved given the urgency and the criticality of the tasks that take place here. The tasks that take place in this department include: Taking calls from clients enquiring of the various programs offered, printing brochures that will be used by potential clients, loading the phones that are used in the organization with the required credit, taking the directions from senior managers about on various issues like following up on prospective clients, making sure that the good image of the organization is maintained, linking the various heads of departments so that there is coherent information flow in these departments.
Claim Pmt Activities: The claim department requested and was approved of four hours and an RPO of one day.
The reason for this is that it was agreed that the department would wait for the full assessment of the disaster to have taken place so that claims can be processed. Since claims are equally critical to the organization, a wider and longer RTO can suffice. The activities that take place in the organization include receipt of documents from the concerned claimants; the department will have to look at this closely. They also proceed with providing the organization with the claim documents and will go ahead and advice in the way forward. They will defend the interests of the organization. They also ensure that they negotiate with the claimant so that the best terms will be agreed upon concerning the claim; both interests will be served. They also appoint the lawyers who will be tasked with defending the organization and ensure that the organization is defended appropriately. They will, as deemed necessary, seek for the opinion of the local lawyers and assist them to deal with the problem that occurred. They ensure that they work in close liaison with the lawyers that have been appointed to deal with the case efficiently and reliably.
Customer phone contact: four hours for the RTO will be requested and expected to be approved. The reason for this is that the department handles the contacts of the clients. All current, past and potential customers will leave their contacts in Jacksonville. The main reason for this is that the company policy is that all the customers should be reachable whether they are past customers or potential. Their contacts are very important to the growth of the organization. The marketing department will have to liaise with the customer contact department to ensure that this is the case. The phone contacts of the customers are very important, should be, and should be kept as safe as possible. The use of information system has been made possible at the department and the contacts of the customers are updated frequently. The tasks of the department include: updating the customer contacts database regularly, following up with the marketing department to ensure that new customers are added to the database, following up with the customers to ensure that they are reachable at all times, making sure that the customers are well versed with any new developments in the organizations.
Utilization department: The department requested and got four hours of RTO approved. An RPO of one day. The department is concerned with ensuring that all the resources are utilized and made use of appropriately. It is at this time that the utilization department will need to make optimal use of resources to ensure that the organization comes back to normal after the disaster. The tasks of the department include making inventory of all the resources in the organization, assigning the resources the tasks and the requirements of each department, making sure that they are fully utilized to ensure efficient resource management. The department will have more work during and after the disaster because of the fact that the resources, which are engaged for the work and the tasks, will have to be fully utilized.
The software that have been installed and are running in Jacksonville Regional Office include: Microsoft Access Database system, Customer relations workstation, E-mail (Microsoft Exchange) – system that is used for communication, HRIS – system that is used for tracking the human resource, SharePoint - Used for managing documents, Office products – spreadsheets and word processing software, Sales control – Marketing system, and Workflow routing – used for claiming routing. All the other applications are installed in the server room and are managed from this point. The other applications can be found at Appendix6 and their criticalities different in a significant manner. For the sake of coming up with a strategy that will be used for recovery in this organization, I will subdivide the applications basing on their levels of criticality. The basis will be on the rate of RTO/RPO that has been assigned. The two categories are the Very urgent and critical and neither urgent nor critical.
Recovery strategy chosen
The strategy which will be used in case of a disaster will be that of Continuous availability; this strategy is chosen so that there will be continuous service delivery in the organization. For this to be possible there will be the need to have an external vendor who will provide the service. At any given point, there will be an assurance that the service will be provided for. This will enable Jacksonville Regional Operations office to continue functioning if there is s disaster that is experienced. One advantage of this is that Jacksonville will not be required to manage the site and this will therefore mean that time will have been saved. The RPO will be met and adhered to. This hot site strategy option will have been taken by Jacksonville. Given the operations, that takes place in the organization, this strategy is found to be reliable and efficient. There will also be less staff required to operate the remote site safe for the technical staff that will form time to time ensure that the data is well synchronized.
Justification of the strategy
The rationale for using this strategy is that the data center will need to be the same with the operations that are being done at the organization and be some distance away from the organization location. The recommendation that is required for this strategy is that the distance be at least 35 miles away so that the probability of disaster happening in the same locations is minimal. Another requirement that will be essential here is that the connection should be there all the time. This connection type will need to be reliable so that the updates will be affected in a reliable and efficient way. The application that is running in the two locations should be the same so that it is possible for users to work from any location without any disparity.
The choice for this strategy is in order as the RTO that is required for the basic operations to be in operation is immediate. This means that there will be need to have another site that will be running to realize this objective. This will be manageable with the use of continuous availability strategy. There is no other strategy that will enable the realization of full operations with the shortest RTO that has been stated.
If ABC resorts to the use of other strategies, there will be unwanted effects that would be unwelcomed to Jacksonville. The Replication/High availability strategy will not work out well with Jacksonville, as the original system will no longer be available, as the data will be corrupted. Furthermore, the data will be prone to human error as there are many errors that are made during data entry. This will not be possible given the RTO requirements.
The other strategy is that of Remote journaling. This system is also not reliable as the updates will be made to the earliest backups that were made and there is no guarantee that there will be zero data loss. The RTO/RPO requirements that are stipulate by Jacksonville will not be met. This way, it will be hard to attain the goals and objectives.
Electronic vaulting is yet another strategy. The data transfer is batch, which is not a recommended Jacksonville. It is highly risky for large volumes of information to be transferred across the Internet. It will not meet the lowest RTO, which is 0 hours.
Although this strategy is the most expensive given all the other strategies, it is the recommended strategy given the fact that the RTO is very tight. It is the only strategy that will help to attain the critical applications that are running at Jacksonville. If this strategy will not be used, then Jacksonville Regional Operations will experience many losses ranging from 4000 USD in the first day to 1million USD after five days. There will therefore be the need to have a reliable, however expensive, recovery strategy.
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