Monday, October 21, 2013

Hot, Warm and Cold

Hot, Warm and Cold ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) responses.

What constitutes the need for an emergency response?  A system failure can range from an inconvenience to a failed business.  Length of down time and the amount of data loss will typically factor heavily in the business impact.


In planning for disaster, roles must be defined in conjunction with the recovery procedures.  Who will be in charge, who will determine the impact, which person will be responsible for status updates?  Has the notification chain been created and tested?


The Hot zone is where the incident occurred.  In an online, virtual world this may not be your place of business.  Disasters can occur to cloud or hosted providers as well.  Up time and available time are two separate categories of availability.  In cases of natural disaster does the affected operation have a disaster recovery site geographically separated from business operations and the point of failure or disaster?  Have key personnel been identified and do they have access to the alternate site?


The Warm zone is a transitional area between Hot and Cold sites.  This may be a physical area or virtual area.  It may be the same location in cases where there is a system down, but no physical damage.  In cases of natural disaster is often a safe place near the disaster where status can be checked, yet far enough away to not be in harm’s way. 


The Cold zone is either a neutral area or the remote area where responsible people can delegate recovery tasks and notify users, customers, suppliers when necessary of status updates.  This is where press releases can be issued, personnel and resources coordinated and delegated.


Priorities varry depending on the extent of the disaster.  In cases of physical or natural disasters first priorities should be to the health and well being of personnel, then protection and recovery of resources.  In cases consisting of physical or operational equipment failures these steps are typically not necessary.  The next priorities are to assess the problem, determine its impact and to estimate recovery times for partial and full recovery.


First thoughts.  What is/was the hazard, disaster or affected resource?  Have the responsible people been notified?  What resources are at risk, what resources are likely to become at risk?  What is being done to contain the risk?  Who is coordinating the emergency response?  Are there others that need to be notified? 


Support functions.  What resources can be notified to provide support and recovery? Are emergency response personnel to be notified?  How and which communications methods can be used to notify employees, customers and suppliers?  Who and how are facility and equipment repair and remediation personnel notified?  What other resources can be contacted for immediate or future response?


Public relations.  Does the disaster or incident require a public relations media expertise to notify the affected parties and mitigate the loss of reputation?


There are many aspects to any critical interruption in service.  There are many ways to prepare.  The point to first consider is if your organization has acknowledged the possibility and has consulted with others to create a recovery and continuity plan. 


Businesses come in all shapes and sizes as due risks.


1.       What are you doing now to prepare? 

2.       What can you do now to prepare? 

3.       What will you do to prepare? 


We would like to hear your thoughts.   Please share your comments in this blog.  We would love to hear your feedback.


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