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Disaster Management Checklist For Cloud Computing Customers
Last week I covered some aspects of disaster management on the cloud. I will continue where I left off and cover more details on the disaster planning part. Here is a checklist of things you must have for disaster planning and recovery.
- What are the emergency contact number and email addresse(s) of the cloud service provider (CSP)?
- Is there a backup account with another CSP? How soon can the backups be activated to restore services?
- Are the data and applications in the backup regularly updated?
- What is the minimum working subset that should be run until the system is fully restored? If this is an e-commerce website, then a tool to track customers’ existing purchases and a static page that states the website is down for maintenance could form the minimum working subset.
- Have you identified the contacts in various departments who will spearhead the disaster recovery process? For instance, the IT person identified in the list would start working on getting the backup servers activated, the HR contact would calm down the employees and appraise the situation, while the PR contact would start working on the press strategy in order to weather the storm. The people on this list should have undergone relevant training and should be able to handle the situation. This can reduce the chaos during major disruptions.
- Is there a stakeholder list that details who will be affected when each of the different cloud services goes down? For instance, if your email service goes down, then employees are the primary victims, while if your corporate website goes down, your customers are the primary victims. For each service, you need to prepare a list of stakeholders who will be impacted.
- Do you have a list of contacts at partner firms who must be alerted if the cloud service goes down? If you use multiple cloud services, have a separate contact list for each category of service.
- Are the customer service personnel prepared to handle such emergencies? The training could include providing standard responses without causing further panic, the ability to handle a barrage of questions from angry customers, and providing customers with alternative ways to do something, where applicable.
- Is the PR department ready for the emergency? Are they kept in the loop? Ideally, the PR team should work to calm down the atmosphere, by updating the press and customers, and dispelling any rumors.
- Are the communication tools to reach customers setup and maintained? It could be Twitter/Email/phone.
Do let us know what else would you have in your disaster planning checklist.
By Balaji Viswanathan