APWA Book Review

Disaster Proofing Information Systems
268 pp * 2002 * McGraw Hill Professional Publishing * ISBN 0-07-140922-X * Robert W. Buchanan

In today's communications-dependent business world, disaster may come in the guise of an act of God, or an act of war. It may also come in the form of such unremarkable events as ISP problems, server outages, systems changes, network glitches, or routine upgrades. With a little bad luck, any one of these can trigger a single point of failure for a major disruption.

Increasingly, companies are looking for a more proactive approach to disaster management than traditional disaster recovery can provide. Old methods are expensive, slow, and inadequatemore pain than gain. It's time, as Rick Devenuti, CIO, Microsoft Corporation, suggests in the book's foreword, to change our thinking about preparedness.

Disaster Proofing Information Systems:

  • Provides a methodology for underwriting business continuity through end-to-end availability and resource distribution

  • Takes a close look at best practices and available products and tools for colocated fault-tolerant systems

  • Illustrates how all components of a disaster avoidance implementation can carry their own weight on a daily basis, unlike traditional disaster recovery cost allocations

Part I of this publication discusses the philosophy, methodology, and planning process for integrating disaster avoidance into your business continuity requirements. Company executives and owners can read this to fully appreciate the value, concepts, and objectives of implementing SHARED (Systems providing High Availability through end-to-end Resource Distribution) business systems. Chapter 1, "Avoidance Versus Recovery," identifies key disaster-related topics. Chapter 2, "Business Continuity Requirements," provides an overview of risk assessment business impact analysis, and business-user system impact analysis. Chapter 3, "Developing a Disaster Avoidance Strategy," presents a high-level perspective on disaster avoidance implementation alternatives. Finally, Chapter 4, "Integrating Business Continuity and Disaster Avoidance Needs," brings together disaster avoidance, employee, facility, and operation needs into a comprehensive business continuity implementation via two real-world examples.

Part I also supports senior and mid-level managers who are responsible for the planning, administration, implementation, and budgeting of the company's information systems. It provides detailed procedures for facilities and personnel plus sample worksheets for evaluating need and implementing SHARED within their business architectures. Whereas Part II provides more technical details, Part I presents a good big picture for technical personnel who will be doing the actual implementation.

In Part II, the authors turn the spotlight on tactics for cost-effective SHARED implementation. Part II outlines specific product categories, products, best practices, and procedures that help integrate SHARED into a single operational package across six critical system components discussed in Chapter 1. Part II is aimed at anyone and everyone who manages IT systems and websites. Chapters include:

  • Chapter 5: Access Devices
  • Chapter 6: Platforms
  • Chapter 7: Applications
  • Chapter 8: Data Store
  • Chapter 9: Infrastructure
  • Chapter 10: B2B, B2C, B2G, and Small Business Needs
  • Chapter 11: Validation and Testing

This book also refers to many large websites, energy management systems, enterprise installations, and a few mobile workforces in companies that we all know by name that are examples of the successful implementation of the methodology presented herein. However, so far, no company has deployed a complete end-to-end implementation to ensure business continuity from a system, people, and facility standpoint presented in this book.

For more information on purchasing this book and other American Public Works Association books, please visit the APWA Bookstore online at www.apwa.net/bookstore or call the Member Services Hotline at (800) 848-APWA, ext. 3560.