There are several categories of risks to consider in the context of BCDR.
First, risks are threatening the assets and support infrastructure that the BCDR plan is protecting against.
Second, some risks threaten the successful execution of a BCDR plan invocation; that is, what can go wrong if and when you need to failover?
Does BCDR Risks Requiring Protection?
A non-exhaustive list of risks that BCDR may be tasked to protect against is the following:
- Damage from natural causes and disasters as well as deliberate attacks, including fire, flood, atmospheric electrical discharge, solar-induced geomagnetic storm, wind, earthquake, tsunami, explosion, nuclear accident, volcanic activity, biological hazard, civil unrest, mudslide, tectonic activity, and other forms of natural or manmade disaster
- Wear and tear of equipment
- Availability of qualified staff
- Utility service outages (such as power failures and network disruptions)
- Failure of a provider to deliver services, perhaps because of a result of bankruptcy, a change of business plan, or a lack of adequate resources
What are BCDR Strategy for Risks?
The risks that are intrinsic to the BCDR strategy itself need to be considered, too. Here is a list of some of the relevant risks:
A BCDR strategy typically involves a redundant architecture or failover tactic.
Such architectures intrinsically add complication to the existing solution.
Because of that, it has new failure modes and requires additional skills.
These represent a new risk that needs to be managed.
Most BCDR strategies still have common failure modes.
For example, the mitigation of VM failure by introducing a failover cluster still has a residual risk of failure of the zone in which the cluster is located.
Likewise, multizone architectures are still vulnerable to region failures.
The DR site is likely to be geographically remote from any primary sites.
This may affect performance because of network bandwidth and latency considerations.
In addition, there could be regulatory compliance concerns if the DR site is in a different jurisdiction
Potential Concerns About the BCDR Scenarios
For each of the three scenarios described earlier, some concerns stand out as being specific to the particular scenario.
The existing on-premise solution, using the cloud as BCDR
This case includes the selection of a (new) CSP.
Especially noteworthy here are the capabilities that need to be available for speedy DR.
These consist of functional and resource capabilities.
For example, workloads on physical machines may need to be converted to workloads in a virtual environment
It is also important to review the speed with which the required resources can be made available.
Existing cloud service consumers, evaluating their cloud service provider’s BCDR
Even though this scenario relies heavily on the resources and capabilities of the existing CSP, a reevaluation of the provider’s capabilities is necessary because the BCDR strategy is likely to require new resources and functionality.
As examples, consider load-balancing functionality and available bandwidth between the redundant facilities of the CSP.
Existing cloud service consumer, evaluating alternative CSP as BCDR
An additional provider’s capability to execute is a risk that needs to be managed.
Again, this is similar to the selection of a new provider.
It might be helpful to reconsider the selection process that was done for the primary provider.
Again, the speediness with which the move to the new provider can be made should be a primary additional concern.
In the case of protecting against the failure of a SaaS provider, there will likely be an impact on the business users because the functionality that these are used to is unlikely to be equivalent to the functionality of the failing SaaS provider.
It may prove worthwhile to involve the business users as soon as possible so that they can assess the residual risks directly to the business.
In all cases, a proper assessment and enumeration of the risks that BCDR protects against, risks inherent in BCDR, and potential remaining risks are important for designing adequate BCDR strategies and making balanced business decisions on them.