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Need to Interview IT Professional Regarding Disaster Recovery Planning

Posted on 2006-11-06
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Hello all,

I am currently working on a research paper regarding Disaster Recovery planning. As a part of that, I need to interview someone who has been directly involved with disaster recovery planning and implementation. I have 17 questions ready that can be completed by email. I can trim it down if necessary. An IT manager or someone else who has real world experience in this subject is what I'm looking for.

Thank you in advance!

Brad Walker
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Question by:bwalker1
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17884850
you would probably find it would be better to post the actual questionaire here so that you are abiding by the membership agreement
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17885291
1.      Would you consider Disaster Recovery planning to be important for businesses and why?
2.      What types of businesses should have a Disaster Recovery plan and why?
3.      What types of Disaster Recovery planning and implementation have you done in your own business?
4.      What network related items do you consider as being mission critical to protect in your own company and for businesses in general?
5.      What could be the potential implications of a business not having a disaster recovery plan? Could you relate that to your own business?
6.      Are there any types or sizes of businesses where a disaster recovery plan wouldn’t be important? Please explain.
7.      In your opinion, what areas of IT must be considered in a DR plan? Please explain.
8.      Who is best fit to write a DR plan and whose advice should be taken into account?
9.      Has a disaster recovery plan ever been a life saver for you or anyone else that you know in the industry? If so, how did the plan help?
10.      What disasters do you think would be the most likely to cause havoc to your businesses IT infrastructure?
11.      If a major disaster just affected your business, how do you think your businesses IT infrastructure would look now and a month from now?
12.      Would people at your company be able to work if a disaster prevented them from reaching the office and if so, how would they work?
13.      What technologies help you protect critical data in your business?
14.      Does your company spend money on DR planning and implementation and if so what percentage of the IT budget does it take?
15.      Is it money well spent and would you like to see more or less spent?
16.      Would you like to see the money spent elsewhere instead? Please explain.
17.      What advice would you give to an IT manager who was just tasked with creating a DR plan?
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17885303
I just need one person to complete all of these so if someone was willing to answer these questions, maybe we could swap email addresses?
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 17886110
Entire books have been written about this subject, and I think this would require a paper of 10 + pages to answer them sufficiently...   or do you just want a brief response?
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17886168
Hi Fatal_Exception. 10 pages is definitely more than I need here. I think straight and to the point answers would be great. For instance, number 13 can be answered with technologies used but not an explanation of the technologies. If you think any of the questions warrant more than that, I'll leave that to your discretion.


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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17886231
I havent forgotten you either, just off site, back soon and will help where i can
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17886427
Awesome. The answers can either be posted here or sent to <<Email address removed by by Page Editor>>.
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by:tomerlei
ID: 17888158
IF you still need help with the questions i could help you a bit, i'm currently working at a firm that creates products for storage and disaster recovery.
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17888525
Hi tomerlei. For the purpose of my paper, I need the interviewee to have real world experience with disaster recovery planning. Like someone who has worked with their companies management to make sure the business is protected in the event of a disaster. I also need all the questions to be answered briefly by one individual. If this sounds like you, I would be grateful for the help.
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Fatal_Exception earned 400 total points
ID: 17891521
OK, I have a few minutes..  here is my short list:  :)

1.     Would you consider Disaster Recovery planning to be important for businesses and why?

Absolutely.  "Plan for the unexpected" is always the best way to proceed in an IT environment.  Without a plan, when disaster strikes, the least you can expect is downtime for your workforce, producing 'opportunity cost' that can substantially affect the bottom line of the company.  Lost revenues, customer alienation, etc., can all be traced to network downtime.  

2.     What types of businesses should have a Disaster Recovery plan and why?

There are no businesses that I know of that will not benefit from a DR plan.  If you leverage IT for productivity, then you need to plan for disasters.  The only business that does not need such planning is one that does not use IT, or server resources.

3.     What types of Disaster Recovery planning and implementation have you done in your own business?

We have a written plan, use SAN storage devices (HP), and Veritas for our backups.  We also use Offisite Storage of all our backups, with a plan for rotation.

4.     What network related items do you consider as being mission critical to protect in your own company and for businesses in general?

Every part of the network falls under this.  We have spare hardware parts, backups for our Cisco Router / Switch configuration files, and backup all data every day.

5.     What could be the potential implications of a business not having a disaster recovery plan? Could you relate that to your own business?

Downtime = loss of productivity = loss of revenue = lower profits

And as stated above, this could prove fatal to customer relations in some types of networks.

6.     Are there any types or sizes of businesses where a disaster recovery plan wouldn’t be important? Please explain.

NO!  As stated above, any business that leverages technology should have a plan.

7.     In your opinion, what areas of IT must be considered in a DR plan? Please explain.

Every area of IT is important.  Network infrastructure, Data, hardware, etc....

8.     Who is best fit to write a DR plan and whose advice should be taken into account?

In most cases, any decent Network Admin should be able to plan for this.  But, the admin must be just that, and not just a support technician that is not familiar with all aspects of the Network.

9.     Has a disaster recovery plan ever been a life saver for you or anyone else that you know in the industry? If so, how did the plan help?

Oh yes.  More than once.  In one case it was lost data due to a SAN issue, and we had to recover via the offsite tapes.  Took us 48 hours to bring it back on-line, but without a plan we may have suffered many more days of downtime, and with a user-base of 800, just the cost of users not doing their jobs would have been significant.  Another was a simple DDOS attack that shut down our external lines.  We had a plan for that also...

10.     What disasters do you think would be the most likely to cause havoc to your businesses IT infrastructure?

Obviously the worst is data loss, for our database holds all contract information for our company.  With gross revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars, this is a no-brainer.  But just having our servers go down is significant.  Even a NIC or a switchport that goes bad can cause real problems.

11.     If a major disaster just affected your business, how do you think your businesses IT infrastructure would look now and a month from now?

Major?  Like, say a fire in our NOC?  For the short term, it would create havoc, but in a month, with a plan in place, we would be up and running again.

12.     Would people at your company be able to work if a disaster prevented them from reaching the office and if so, how would they work?

We have Cisco Concentrators that allow VPN connections, use Citrix on top of a 2003 TS server, and all would be well.  We are already prepared for something like this.

13.     What technologies help you protect critical data in your business?

Backup:  Veritas
Very strong firewalls
Cisco VPNs and Terminal Services (Citrix) for remote access
Internal Security Policies and 2003 ADUC Group Policy

14.     Does your company spend money on DR planning and implementation and if so what percentage of the IT budget does it take?

Our IT CIO takes care of this, and is not part of my knowledge base.  But, we do spend the money, and take the time.

15.     Is it money well spent and would you like to see more or less spent?

What can I say?  Yes.  and we would always like more money for this..

16.     Would you like to see the money spent elsewhere instead? Please explain.

We would always like more money in our budget.  Love to have more backup servers, money for training, etc..  but sometimes it just is not there to spend.

17.     What advice would you give to an IT manager who was just tasked with creating a DR plan?

Think it out first, consider every part of the network infrastructure, and do not overlook the worst case scenarios...
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17892775
Hi Jay_Jay70-I wasn't trying to violate any rules. I had setup a temporary email so I could get the answers sent to me. I'll keep this in mind in the future.

Fatal_Exception-Thank you very much for your help. This is exactly what I was looking for, however before closing this out, I sent you a short question relating to the interview for my research paper. I sent it to you as I don't want to post any personal information on the boards. Thanks again.
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17894752
Thats fine mate, no stress, just following rules :-)

Sorry I havent responded, crazy day yesterday, looks like you have been looked after anywayz :)

James
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 17894821
Not much of a response, as I know that I could add much more content, but just find time an issue right now...  but hope it helped in some small way!
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17894831
i had just copied those questions as well and was writing, will post up anyway
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by:Jay_Jay70
Jay_Jay70 earned 100 total points
ID: 17894888
1.     Would you consider Disaster Recovery planning to be important for businesses and why?
Yes. Imagine if i walked in to your office and pulled the cables out of your servers. What would you do if you had no DR. Years of work lost or relyring
on a possibly no good backup.....What if your Building burnt down?

2.     What types of businesses should have a Disaster Recovery plan and why?
All Businesses should in some way, have a DR plan. Ranging from Tape backups through to full hot site scenarios. Depending on business size
and budget.

3.     What types of Disaster Recovery planning and implementation have you done in your own business?
We host multiple hot spare servers for numerous clients. For our selves we rely heavily on a backup schedule and an offsite DR set of servers


4.     What network related items do you consider as being mission critical to protect in your own company and for businesses in general?
Router, firewall and switch config are probably one of the biggest. Hardware you can replace, config you have to rebuild

5.     What could be the potential implications of a business not having a disaster recovery plan? Could you relate that to your own business?
If we were to lose our servers and have no DR plan then we may as well close the doors as there is no point coming back and starting again. However, with a plan, if we fall over, we work temporarily off site,
and the only downtime we realistically have is the transfer over to the hot spares

6.     Are there any types or sizes of businesses where a disaster recovery plan wouldn’t be important? Please explain.
I couldnt really think of any myself, everyone these days has at one stage lost something

7.     In your opinion, what areas of IT must be considered in a DR plan? Please explain.
Every aspect. Hardware, Software, Data, Configurations....in a proper plan they should all be taken into consideration.

8.     Who is best fit to write a DR plan and whose advice should be taken into account?
Team. Not one person should be responsible for writing. Everone will have different ideas and experties. The manager have one set of ideas and the tech may have a completely different one. All are valid.

9.     Has a disaster recovery plan ever been a life saver for you or anyone else that you know in the industry? If so, how did the plan help?
We support a client that i will keep nameless. This client is a massive player in the banking industry. We also host their DR server. It takes less than an hour to have them completely working as they were in
the office, from servers hosted in ours. We are talking completely functional. It has saved them once and that is how they justify the cost each year

10.     What disasters do you think would be the most likely to cause havoc to your businesses IT infrastructure?
Physical Dangers are a reality. Although usually its more a component failing that can destory data and cause downtime. Dont forget user errors as well!

11.     If a major disaster just affected your business, how do you think your businesses IT infrastructure would look now and a month from now?
if it died now. I would be in trouble as the guy with the servers isnt in the office lol! In a month time, we would be in better shape than we are now as it would be all new nice fat hardware!

12.     Would people at your company be able to work if a disaster prevented them from reaching the office and if so, how would they work?
For us no issue. for our clients. Major Issue - hence the hot spare

13.     What technologies help you protect critical data in your business?
DFS, Hardware backups, multiple servers, config backups, offsite servers etc

14.     Does your company spend money on DR planning and implementation and if so what percentage of the IT budget does it take?
We plan but i am not privvy to that info yet :) new company and all :)

15.     Is it money well spent and would you like to see more or less spent?
Its a hard statement to make. Some people can invest thousands and never use it. yet others can invest a few hundred and yet save themselves the initial cost tenfold when something goes wrong

16.     Would you like to see the money spent elsewhere instead? Please explain.
Fast computer for me :) no, in all honesty, DR is a massive area and i would reather see more spent than less

17.     What advice would you give to an IT manager who was just tasked with creating a DR plan?
Look at all aspects and look at technologies available to make it a quick and easy recovery plan. Virtual Servers are a massive tool. Dont forget configs, licences, user data, application data. A lot of the time DR can be an initial cost and thats it. Your business type really dictates your DR plan and requirements
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17894906
Fatal_Exception, brief answers is what I was looking for. Your answers are a big help. Thanks again!

James, thanks for following up. My companies office recently relocated which was extra (long weekend) fun for the IT staff so I know how busy days can be too.  :)

Thanks everyone!
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17894923
Pleasure mate, all the best with it!
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by:bwalker1
ID: 17894971
Hi James, I didn't see your latest post when I graded the answer. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. I requested to have the question re-opened so I can reallocate some of the split points.

Once again thanks to Fatal_Exception and Jay_Jay70 for your help.

-Brad
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17895038
No stress mate, all is well :)
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17901688
Thankyou
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 17903016
Yes, thanks and best of luck with your studies!

FE
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