APWA Book Review

The Disaster Recovery Handbook
416 pp * 2004 * AMACON American Management Association * Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber * Includes CD-ROM
It takes careful planning to ensure that a disaster of any type—whether the result of fire, an electrical outage, a major computer virus, or even terrorism—does not result in a prolonged service interruption that could affect your business for years to come. By creating a proactive disaster recovery program, you can keep your people, inventory and resources safe and secure.

The Disaster Recovery Handbook is a comprehensive reference that provides proven processes and techniques to help any seasoned business manager, working in a large or small organization, develop a disaster recovery plan to protect their business in the event of a disaster. Without careful planning, most organizations do not survive a major interruption in the operation of their business. Although you can't always prevent a disaster, you can have a plan in place to ensure that it doesn't put you out of business.

No two organizations are alike, but many share some basic elements such as facilities, important documents, computer systems, and personnel. This manual defines the common threads that link all business operations, providing for a variety of situations—not as a "one size fits all" model, but instead as an updated guide and decision-making reference that can help you devise a disaster recovery program tailored to the needs of your organization.

For fingertip access to the information you need on disaster recovery planning, this ready-reference desk-side manual is organized to help you find what you need quickly and easily. You or your staff can use the book itself as a model or a template to create similar documents for your own organization.

The book consists of three major parts. "Part 1: The Plan" details the steps you need to take to develop your plan. "Part 2: The Assets" describes the various assets that drive your business and the steps you should take to protect them. "Part 3: Preventing Disaster" gives you the information you need to help mitigate threats to your organization.

"Simplicity is the ultimate design." Often, a dearth of forms is included in disaster recovery handbooks, but this manual provides a multitude of forms that can jump-start your disaster recovery planning process. All the forms discussed in the book are included on a CD-ROM, so that you can quickly and easily put them to use. The forms can be used as a starting point for developing your own, by importing it into a word processor on a PC. Of course, you can also make needed changes and post the forms on a local area network or even on a company intranet site. As an operation grows in complexity, the challenge to keep it running smoothly grows, and thus the need for a formal system of operations becomes a necessity. A disaster recovery plan can greatly improve your understanding of how the organization really works.

The Disaster Recovery Handbook gives you all the tools you need to establish a complete disaster recovery plan. You'll learn how to assemble a recovery team, set up an emergency operations center, and put your entire set of procedures in writing, protecting your business before the fact to safeguard against what could otherwise become an unrecoverable situation.

You'll learn how to create a system for backing up all your vital electronic and physical information such as invoices, checks, inventory levels, and receipts, and keep your customers from being left out in the cold as you regroup in the wake of any unexpected circumstances. You'll also find all the information you need to help your Human Resources department get a handle on the "people" side of any emergency. The book takes into consideration every possible type of disaster, and gives you the practical solutions you need to protect your people and your resources.

The only defense against the unexpected is to be sure that you're properly prepared. The Disaster Recovery Handbook gives you everything you need to keep your organization running as smoothly as possible after any kind of disaster.

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. 5254.