Essential Guide

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Disaster prevention and mitigation strategies: Strike early and often

Prepare for IT disaster of any kind with this Essential Guide, which offers CIOs advice on prevention, mitigation and business continuity.


IT disasters are imminent, whether or not IT organizations choose to accept it. A successful recovery from various forms of disaster -- natural or human-related -- relies on an IT organization's premeditated disaster recovery (DR), prevention and mitigation planning. Those may seem like two different animals, but it's crucial that CIOs and IT leaders consider both early and often as part of their overarching disaster prevention and mitigation strategy.

In this CIO Essential Guide, glean the most recent and relevant advice from CIOs and DR experts to help run your enterprise smoothly in the event of a breach, equipment failure, human error or environmental catastrophe. And then, consult our resources to determine how to prevent similar disasters from happening again.

This guide to disaster mitigation strategies is part of the CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

1Disaster recovery basics-

Disaster recovery in the enterprise

Disaster recovery is a branch of security planning that aims to protect an organization from the negative effects of undesirable events. When a crippling cyberattack occurs or equipment fails, a disaster recovery plan is enacted to limit the disruption to an organization and allow the recommencement of mission-critical functions.

In IT, disaster recovery steps may include restoring from backups, enabling remote location control and frequent testing. In the following SearchCIO stories, learn how to improve disaster mitigation and prevention strategies in your organization.


Effective disaster recovery tips from a CTO who has been there, done that

CTO Niel Nickolaisen has "seen it all" -- particularly when it comes to disaster recovery. In this expert tip, Nickolaisen advises CIOs to look outside their IT department when considering serviceable options for effective DR. Continue Reading


Down on the farm, an IT director prioritizes disaster recovery

In this podcast, Carl Vogel discusses why he prioritized disaster recovery when he took the helm at Iowa Select Farms. Vogel provides a step-by-step look at his DR overhaul and how that led to data recovery, replication and backup optimization. Continue Reading


Surge in cloud use increases need for cloud DR

As cloud becomes a more viable -- and preferred -- solution for many IT organizations, cloud disaster recovery is a must. Indeed, data collected from a TechTarget Cloud Pulse survey shows an uptick in cloud disaster recovery interest among businesses. Continue Reading


Virtualization alone doesn't alleviate DR woes

Frequently, IT executives tack DR planning onto a data center consolidation project or desktop virtualization project. The truth of the matter is, virtualization is not a cure-all for disaster recovery, but it could simplify processes and save money. Continue Reading


Mobile devices at the core of DR planning

A survey from ancient times (i.e., early 2011) found 44% of employees carry company-owned mobile devices, and the numbers have only increased from there. Hence, the next frontier in disaster recovery is mobile devices, and your enterprise best be on that wagon. Continue Reading


DR/BC program advice from experts

Is your organization's disaster mitigation program prepared to head unto the breach, dear friends? In these videos from SearchCIO and sister site SearchDisasterRecovery, learn what it takes to prepare for the unfortunate event that your security is compromised.


True measure of DR success is 'time to data'

The success of a disaster recovery and business continuity program is measured by "time to data," or ensuring critical data is available as quickly as possible following a disaster. DR expert Jon Toigo discusses the major goals of a DR/BC program.


Move away from a 'backup everything' approach

Is your organization backing up too much data? Toigo says you probably are. Here, he explains how to sort through your storage "junk drawer" to ensure disaster recovery program efficiency.


DR plans for small offices and remote employees

Stephanie Balaouras, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, shared her insights on incorporating remote/branch offices into established disaster recovery plans in this interview with SearchCIO.


Cybersecurity awareness advice to consider in DR planning

As the U.K.'s special representative to business on cybersecurity, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones ensures U.K. government agencies and private companies counter cyberattacks together. Heed her advice in building up your disaster mitigation strategies.

3Business continuity-

When disaster strikes, the show must go on

While DR focuses on the IT systems that support business functions, business continuity (BC) describes the processes and procedures put in place to ensure essential functions continue during and after a disaster. In business continuance planning, it's essential that the business and IT agree which of the organization's functions are mission-critical, and then plan and budget accordingly. In this collection of stories from SearchCIO, read how enterprise CIOs ensured the show could go on.


Better business continuity post-hurricane thanks to UC

When Hurricane Ike wiped out YES Prep Public Schools' private branch exchange telephony system, Troy Neal saw it as a blessing in disguise. To ensure business continuity in the event of another disaster, Neal turned his sights on a unified communications (UC) system Continue Reading


Heartbleed offers lesson in BC planning

OpenSSL's Heartbleed bug forced businesses to enact BC plans and fine-tune website security. In this Searchlight column, get recommendations on how to respond to Heartbleed-like events and keep business moving forward. Continue Reading


Cloud service insurance alleviates negative effects of downtime

Cloud outages and breaches -- like those at Amazon Web Services, Sony and Epsilon Data Management -- put the topic of cloud insurance and secure identity management in focus. In this piece, security professional Jerry Archer discusses how to avoid lost efficiency and business during cloud downtime. Continue Reading


Harmonizing management processes improves BC

Could better harmonization of configuration and asset management processes make business continuity planning easier? In this podcast, ITSM expert Derek Lonsdale discusses protecting the integrity of IT services to position organizations for BC success. Continue Reading


Business continuity made easy with these free templates

Need help creating a solid business continuity strategy for your organization? SearchCIO rounded up some free BC templates from around the Web to guide CIOs in their strategic planning. Continue Reading


DR/BC terms to know

Before adding the final touches to a disaster mitigation and business continuity plan, acquaint yourself with these must-know definitions.

5Take preventative measures-

Ward off the worst of disasters

Preventing disaster primes an IT organization for growth. Though Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, taking measures to avoid compromised IT systems and data is a valuable exercise. In this compilation of news and tips from SearchCIO, IT leaders offer advice on proactively avoiding the kind of disasters that can damage your organization.


Former CIOs and CISOs advise stronger cybersecurity for competitive gain

Every day, untold numbers of companies experience an information security breach of sorts. As the headlines mount, many companies are realizing that a strong information security program is a competitive advantage. In this SearchCIO feature, Christina Torode shares advice from former FCC CIO Robert Naylor, former Citibank CISO Sandy Lambert and former eBay CISO David Cullinane. Continue Reading


Crisis management tips from Boston Marathon organizers

Disaster prevention was top priority for 2014 Boston Marathon organizers. In this Searchlight column, read what IT tools marathon planners enlisted to ensure security was top-notch for the annual race. Continue Reading


Tweet deck breach services as lesson in XSS

Letting Web security go stale is no way to prevent data breaches. Twitter learned this the hard way after an accidental hacker from Austria uncovered a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in TweetDeck. Could a move this simple disrupt your systems, and how can you avoid it? Continue Reading


Plan for continuous business operations, not just DR

In this column, SearchCIO Executive Editor Linda Tucci argues that DR and business continuity are conflating. As a CIO, your forward-looking strategy must incorporate both aspects of disaster prevention and mitigation. Continue Reading


Protecting information saves lives at Our Kids

When dealing with personally identifiable information, data privacy is paramount. At Our Kids, a not-for-profit serving abused, abandoned and neglected children, CIO Pat Smith protects this information as though lives depended upon it -- because they do. Continue Reading


Is it time to reassess your DR program?

If we've learned anything from recent natural disasters, terrorist attacks and headline-grabbing cyberbreaches, it's that a business-upending disaster can strike at any moment.

The very real potential for natural and man-made disruptions to an organization's mission-critical systems, operations and data necessitates that CIOs know their DR and BC options backwards, forwards and upside down. Whether your disaster recovery program needs an overhaul, you're looking to contract with a third-party DR provider, or you hope to optimize your recovery processes, review our SearchCIO coverage and take our quiz to see if you're up to date on the latest disaster mitigation strategies.

Test your DR/BC IQ

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