Disaster Recovery Exposure - Part Two


 In part one, I gave a general overview of some of the things that may affect IT services in the event of a natural disaster, specifically an earthquake.

In this article I will look at how priorities may change and the speed at which they will change and we’ll see how this may affect you.

This type of planning may seen like an unlikely corner case to some people. And, in a lot of cases the planning may never have to be put into action. In other cases this might seem unlikely, or remote. It is one of those low probability but very high impact scenarios.

As an example, the New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings was due to be carried out on March 8th 2011. This was cancelled within a few days of the February earthquake.This was the right decision as a correct count count not be guaranteed however the project - of which there was a large IT component - was on time, on budget and had enjoyed a successful dress rehearsal the previous year. I’d personally spent 3 years working on the project.

Even if you do not live in the immediate area of destruction, but your company has offices in that location, then you may find yourself affected. For example, you may find projects that you have worked on for some time put on hold while resources are moved to rebuild infrastructure connected with that center.

Generally speaking, most company’s have some some sort of change control process in place for dealing with changes to the IT environment, and this process may become overloaded during such a massive time of replacing existing hardware and even adding new temporary infrastructure. You’ll still need to keep a record of your changes.

In the event that entire buildings are lost, then remote access may be the only option to keep staff working. While most IT staff have remote access as a natural consequence of doing their jobs efficiently, a lot of business users do not. Your teams may have to spend a bit of time setting this up for some users.

Whatever your job is in IT, you might find yourself moved to entirely different duties. helping other projects or even cleaning up may be required.

Regardless of IT, you’ll notice priorities change. One of the biggest and most notable changes that I’ve noticed is to do with roadworks and building projects. Projects that have been in place for a long time to build new roads and put in street lights have been placed on hold while resources are moved to simply fixing up existing infrastructure.

I’ve also just heard that we’ve had Rugby World Cup 2011 games pulled from Christchurch - no surprise really.