Bird Flu pandemic Contingency plan needed vs Disaster Recovery BCP

Posted on 2009-05-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-06

I believe DR (Disaster Recovery) plan is different from BIrd Flu
pandemic plan, am I right?  In DR, the current site is burnt/down
while in bird flu quarantine, all staff are disallowed from going to
office & has to stay at home.

I need an elaborate / formalized Bird Flu contingency plan.
Appreciate if anyone can share with me (but of course remove
all references of your organization's name)

Off-hand I can think of the following 2 scenarios :

a) Proactive :
    before anyone in the building got infected, split up staff into 2 groups
    who can backup/complement each other : one continue to go office
    while another work from remote location (remote location = home)

b) If the office area has someone infected, all the staff has to be quarantined
    at  home while the remote team keep the work/operation going  

Reactive :
    Reactive : selected staff were given notebooks at home (& briefed in
    advance) and once quarantine order kicks in, those with notebooks resume
    work at home while those without notebooks/laptops holiday at home
Question by:sunhux
    LVL 57

    Accepted Solution

    Well in some circles the term "Disaster Recovery" is no longer used and has been replaced by "Business Continuity".  Which term you use does not matter.  

    The idea is that you need to come up with a plan to continue doing business when a "major" event occurs.  You need to define the major event and what needs to be done.  Some of the events may be specific and some generic.  

    Example:  Why focus on  Bird Flu pandemic?  What happens if it is Bird Flu, but not a pandemic?  What happens if it is another form of flu that is a pandemic, or some other contagious disease.  What if it is only localized to your area or even your company?

    You should always have a employee that can backup another employee.  What happens one employees quits or dies?

    You need to think about how long can your core computer systems run/stay up if nobody is there to "touch" them.  Example: do you do tape backups to send off site?  If so, what happens if nobody is there to take the tapes out?

    Basic events:

    1) Person that does a unique job is no longer able to do it (sick/dead/quit).
    2) Building is in tact and computer systems are up and running , but people are not allowed to enter.
    3) Building is in tact, but computer systems are down and will be for X number of hours/days.  You need to come up with plans for say 1 hour outages, 4 hour outages, 8 hour, 24, 72, 1 week.
    4) Building is not in tact.


    Expert Comment

    My comments. These are IT support staff plans not emergency plans for your whole business.
    From my Blog.
    Robert L. Brown
    Copyright 2009 This is free and open for anyone to use.

    1. Prepare a remote access plan for user to work from home.
    Users who can work from home in the case of biological hazard should.

    2. Encourage phone, email, instant messenger, twitter etc to communicate to lessen spread by contact inside the building.

    3. In the case of a sever outbreak keep some IT staff at home to protect the business from everyone falling ill at the same time. IT needs to keep the computer center running for all the remote users and customers.

    4.If you have a remote site or DRC center, make sure you post an experienced IT person there or designate an outside company to be ready if the IT staff falls ill.

    5. Set up automatic reports for users and customers now. In case of a staff shortage the auto-reports will run and send the necessary information. Automate reports and backups so they can run themselves for as long as possible. Auto loaders for tape backups would help for example.

    6. Contact your IT vendors if you get into trouble and ask them to help support where they can.
    Use the vendors help desk to augment your own in times of crisis.

    7. Have a real physical book with names and contacts in it if someone other than IT needs to take over and get help. Make the book RED with clear lettering so anyone in management can get the book to get help.

    8. Adopt the US Navy's concept of the "Last Man Bridge". If only person was left how would they keep the IT "Ship" at least operational. And for how long? Work out the scenarios.

    9. Train trusted alternates that are not IT how to change tapes and to be able to check the main computer room.

    10. Clearly mark all computer in the computer room, in case you have to remote walk someone through powering down a computer for example.

    Health Points for IT Area.

    1.If feasible To protect users on site make sure the H VAC company installs UV light scrubbers on the air. If the computer room is on separate air all the better.  (This is a building issue.)

    2.  Post hand sanitizers at strategic points in the company. Inside doors, at entrance ways.
    Anti-viral Kleenex etc to help people keep clean at their desks.

    You will noticed that nothing here really cost your company any IT money to deploy. You may already have all these pieces they just need to put a plan around them.

    Thank You

    Expert Comment

    DRC Tactical Response.
    By Robert L. Brown
    Copyright 2009 This information is free and open to use.

    I also did the following which works in non DRC times.

    1. Create a command center. One cube that perhaps has multiple computers within it.
    These computers monitor and alert you of any trouble on the network, ERP system etc.
    I have found since I put this in place, IT staffers will pop into my cube to work on some issues whicle their computers are busy doing something.
    From the "bridge", "console" or command center one person should have a the ability to remote control the whole enterprise. This can be done with older desktops and computers. Or virtual machines.

    2.  Use tools like Network View, Zenoss that hep you monitor and alert you via email that a computer is down or has come online.

    3. I set all my computers under my charge to alert myself and the vendor of any hardware issues. The vendor has been instructed to open a ticket if a server sends an alert of a pending issue. The vendor has been told to send a technician when the computer asks for help via an email alert.

    These simple steps can go a long way to solving problems today or in an emergency. It also shows your company's management that you are proactive, not just reactive.

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