CrossNodes Checklist: Gauging Potential Disaster Impact


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A key step in disaster recovery planning or business continuity planning includes analyzing the impact the disruption will have on an organization's business activity. A business impact analysis can help you identify which business departments, functions, or systems are most vulnerable to potential threats, what are the potential types of threat, and what effect would each identified potential threat have on each of the vulnerable areas within the organization.

Surveying tools, such as Business Impact Analysis (BIA) software, can help you to automate this very important task. BIA software enables you to query users for a business impact assessment so you can understand what critical processes the organization relies on, using the information provided to gauge financial and / organizational impacts over time.

The following purchasing template provides what you should look for in a BIA software, how to determine overall costs, what questions you should ask potential vendors, what questions you need to ask vendors' customers, what points you better double check, and how you can make sure you don't get a shock.

What things should you look for?
Select a product that provides tutorial materials to guide you through the use of the product. Also, look for a product that offer filters so users can sort information as they choose, that enables users to run multiple projects simultaneously, and that flags inconsistent or troublesome data. Make sure the product enables you to share BIA projects with other software packages. Other features to look for include the following:

  • The ability to do currency conversions.
  • The ability to import/export capabilities, allowing for the movement of data; to print each project separately; and to archive information as needed.
  • Compatibility with operating systems / platforms.
  • Technical telephone support, and around-the-clock vendor support.
  • Provides a pool of survey questions (relevant to the type of business) that users can work with work with.
  • Options for distributing survey in different versions electronically via email, hard copy, etc.
  • Security features, such as password protection.

What are your cost considerations?
You can uncover any hidden costs by doing a detail analysis of all your costs. Some of the things to consider include:

  • What does the license fee include?
    • Is there a user fee? Are there any user limitations?
  • What are the maintenance or upgrade costs?
  • Is training included? If not, what does it cost to take a training class?
  • Are consulting services needed? What is their cost?
  • What information should you be prepared to give vendors?

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