Disaster recovery & business continuity

It is now generally recognised that Business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning are vital activities.


It is now generally recognised that Business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning are vital activities. However, the creation and maintenance of a sound business continuity and disaster recovery plan, is a complex undertaking, involving a series of steps.

Prior to creation of the plan itself, it is essential to consider the potential impacts of disaster and to understand the underlying risks: these are the foundations upon which sound business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan should be built. Following these activities the plan itself must be constructed – no small task. This itself must then be maintained, tested and audited to ensure that it remains appropriate to the needs of the organisation. And what about the support infrastructure and services?

Business Continuity Planning continually confronts the unlikelihood of a disaster. An interruption could be something related to a winter storm, the loss of electricity to the general area, or the complete and inaccessibility of a facility for an extended period of time. The cause of the interruption doesn’t matter, but being capable of gaining management control of the interruption does.

Depending on the length or severity of the interruption, significant consequences or the very survivability of the corporation may depend on management’s ability to re-establish critical business functions. Usually these business functions have required years to create and establish, but management must re-establish these functions sometimes within hours or days. This is a difficult problem and re-establishing the complex business environment in a timely manner requires a well thought out plan in place ready to be executed.

Australian Risk Services can assist clients in putting together business continuity plans that will ensure your company can continue to operate by providing the market with your goods or service with minimal disruption.

We do this by assisting clients to identify core corporate objectives and assess the impact of risks on those business processes that support your business objectives/outputs. This is commonly known as a Business Impact Assessment, which is the platform for formulating your business continuity plan (BCP).

As part of a sound BCP management must establish the right steering committees and ensure senior management support the project. Following the BCP a disaster recovery plan can be developed ensuring resources is available and manoeuvred in such a way that recovery from a disaster is as soon as possible. Part of this process is testing your plans and ensuring that your plans remain up to date and relevant to your organisation.

BCP then identifies recovery alternatives that cost effectively restores critical business functions within an acceptable time frame.

Management authorises and approves the recovery solutions. A recovery plan is developed around the recovery solution authorized by management. The recovery plan is exercised to train the recovery organisation, to define changes necessary in the plan to strengthen it, and to provide a tested vehicle which when executed will permit an effective resumption of interrupted business functions or computer operations.

BCP objectives are to:

Ensure continuity and survival of the business, provide protection of corporate assets, provide management control of risks and exposures, provide preventative measures where appropriate, and to take proactive management control of any business interruption.

BCP provides a balance between acceptable potential losses and acceptable onetime and annual costs.