Thursday, January 07, 2010

Outline for Disaster Recovery Plan Document

The purpose of this post is to share a disaster recovery plan outline. This is an outline that I have been evolving for several years. And, although this outline was intended for SharePoint environments, it can be used for any system or application.

The reason I like this outline is because I know it works. Unlike many other plans on the Web, I think this outline provides more complete coverage of the business and technical aspects of disaster recovery. Many of the plans I have seen are merely explanations of the SharePoint product features and limitations, or advertisements for third party products. Detailing what SharePoint's strengths and weaknesses are with regards to backup and restore will not do you an ounce of good in the event you need to perform a recovery of some sort. Additionally, no matter what tools you have for backing up and restoring, you still need a good plan to address the process. Different tools only change the content of the backup and recovery procedure section of the plan, they don't change the structure of the document or eliminate the need for any of the sections of the document.

The audience for this document can include the tactical team members who execute the plan, but also the business stakeholders, sponsors, and business process owners who are affected by the availability and recovery policies and procedures. Everybody should be involved with contributing to and reviewing the plan. This review process is very healthy because it resets expectations and keeps everybody on the same page.

SharePoint Disaster Recovery Plan Outline

I. Overview
a. Explanation of the document
b. Explanation of when to use the plan

II. Business Profile
a. Application or system owners, points of contact
b. Application or system summary
c. Related business processes
d. Usage information
e. Availability requirements (link to SLA)
f. Recovery requirements (link to SLA)

III. Technical Profile
a. Hardware inventory
b. Software inventory
c. Related systems
d. Vendor contact information (contact, support agreement information, etc.)

IV. Failure Scenarios
Matrix listing all failure scenarios with description of each scenario

V. Backup Procedures
Instructions for each method of back up used to support every possible recovery scenario

VI. Recovery Procedures
Instructions for recovering from each failure scenario

VII. Verification Procedures
a. Functional testing
b. Security testing
c. Performance testing
d. Checklists

VII. Appendix
a. Glossary
b. Links to policies, procedures

VIII. References

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