free barcode add in for excel 2003 7: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in Software

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7: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
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is dedicated to business continuity and disaster recovery planning Its web site can be found at wwwbcm-instituteorg Certifications offered by BCMI include Business Continuity Certified Expert (BCCE) Business Continuity Certified Specialist (BCCS) Business Continuity Certified Planner (BCCP) Disaster Recovery Certified Expert (DRCE) Disaster Recovery Certified Specialist (DRCS)
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Audits of an organization s business continuity plan are especially difficult because it is impossible to prove whether the plans will work unless there is a real disaster The IT auditor has quite a task when it comes to auditing an organization s business continuity and disaster recovery program The lion s share of the audit results hinges on the quality of documentation and walkthroughs with key personnel As is typical with most audit activities, an audit of an organization s BC program is a top-down analysis of key business objectives and a review of documentation and interviews to determine whether the BC strategy and program details support those key business objectives This approach is depicted in Figure 7-14
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Figure 7-14
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Top-down approach to an audit of business continuity and disaster recovery
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The objectives of an audit should include the following activities: Obtain documentation that describes current business strategies and objectives Obtain high-level documentation (for example, strategy, charter, objectives) for the BC program, and determine whether the BC program supports business strategies and objectives Obtain the most recent business impact analysis (BIA) and accompanying threat analysis, risk analysis, and criticality analysis Determine whether these documents are current, complete, and support the BC strategy Also determine whether the scope of these documents covers those activities considered strategic, according to high-level business objectives Finally, determine whether the methods in these documents represent good practices for these activities Determine the effectiveness of planning and recovery documentation by examining previous test results Evaluate the methods used to store critical information off-site (which may consist of off-site storage, alternate data centers, or e-vaulting) Examine environmental and physical security controls in any off-site or alternate sites and determine their effectiveness Note whether off-site or alternate site locations are within the same geographic region which could mean that both the primary and alternate sites may be involved in common disaster scenarios Determine whether key personnel are ready to respond during a disaster, by reviewing test plans and training plans and results Find out where emergency procedures are stored and whether key personnel have access to them Verify whether there is a process for the regular review and update of BC documentation Evaluate the process s effectiveness by reviewing records to see how frequently documents are being reviewed These activities are described in more detail in the following sections
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The bulk of an organization s business continuity plan lies in its documentation, so it should be of little surprise that the bulk of the audit effort will lie in the examination of this documentation The following procedure will help the auditor to determine the effectiveness of the organization s BC plan: 1 Obtain a copy of business continuity and disaster recovery documentation, including response procedures, contact lists, and communication plans 2 Examine samples of distributed copies of BC documentation, and determine whether they are up-to-date These samples can be obtained during interviews of key response personnel, which are covered in this procedure 3 Determine whether all documents are clear and easy to understand, not just for primary responders, but for alternate personnel who may have specific relevant skills but less familiarity with the organization s critical applications
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7: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
4 Examine documentation related to the declaration of a disaster and the initiation of disaster response Determine whether the methods for declaration are likely to be effective in a disaster scenario 5 Obtain emergency contact information, and contact some of the personnel to see whether the contact information is accurate and up-to-date Also determine whether all response personnel are still employed in the organization and that they are in the same or similar roles in support of disaster response efforts 6 Obtain contact information for off-site storage providers, hot-site facilities, and critical suppliers Determine whether these organizations are still providing services to the organization Call some of the contacts to determine the accuracy of the documented contact information 7 Obtain logical and physical architecture diagrams for key IT applications that support critical business processes Determine whether BC documentation includes recovery procedures for all components that support those IT applications See whether documentation includes recovery for end users and administrators for the applications 8 Contact some or all of the response personnel who are listed in emergency contact lists Interview them and see how well they understand their disaster response responsibilities, and whether they are familiar with disaster response procedures Ask each interviewee if they have a copy of these procedures See if their copies are current 9 If the organization uses a hot site, examine one or more systems to determine whether they have the proper versions of software, patches, and configurations Examine procedures and records related to the tasks in support of keeping standby systems current Determine whether these procedures are effective 10 If the organization has a warm site, examine the procedures used to bring standby systems into operational readiness Examine warm-site systems to see whether they are in a state where readiness procedures will likely be successful 11 If the organization has a cold site, examine all documentation related to the acquisition of replacement systems and other components Determine whether the procedures and documentation are likely to result in systems capable of hosting critical IT applications and within the period required to meet key recovery objectives 12 Determine whether any documentation exists regarding the relocation of key personnel to the hot/warm/cold processing site See whether the documentation specifies which personnel are to be relocated, and what accommodations and supporting logistics are provided Determine the effectiveness of these relocation plans 13 Determine whether backup and off-site (or e-vaulting) storage procedures are being followed Examine systems to ensure that critical IT applications are being backed up, and that proper media are being stored off-site (or that the proper data is being e-vaulted) Determine whether data recovery tests are ever performed, and whether results of those tests are documented and problems are properly dealt with
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