Get Empowered: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity | Tip #181, Plan for Disaster

By July 8, 2020


Tip #181: Plan for Disaster

Welcome back to Get Empowered! In the last Empower tip-of-the-week post for Empower Chromatography Data Software, we began our series on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Strategy with Empower and discussed steps to Save the Data. (Tip #180).

In this week’s tip, we will continue our series and discuss the topic: Plan for Disaster.  

We’re always told to plan for success, but it’s just as important to plan for disasters. Because sooner or later, there will be a disaster. It could be a hardware or network failure, a natural event or even a cyberattack.  And once the disaster hits, you need an effective, well-understood and tested plan immediately available to get you back into operation within a reasonable timeframe.

Plan proactively now, document the plan, train your staff on it, test it, improve it, keep it current and easily accessible. A robust plan can save your business when you need it most.

Let’s get started.

STEP 1

Understand the Risks

Risks to your Empower Chromatography Data System (CDS) can be internal (within the company) or external. Every organization will have different risks to consider.

Some risks are very specific to the geographic location, whereas other risks are more generic to many organizations, such as:

  • IT hardware failure
  • Network failures
  • Cyberthreats

 

TIP: Continuing to rely on obsolete hardware and outdated software can make recovering a system much more difficult.

STEP 2

Create the Plan(s)

A Disaster Recovery Plan will be needed for each GxP critical system, including Empower CDS, identifying different recovery options for the different potential risks to the system e.g. server loss, network outage etc. The wider scope Business Continuity Plan can cover multiple systems that together make up a complete business process, such as QC release testing.

STEP 3

Test, Update, and Test Again

It is essential to test your plans and discover any issues not anticipated by the plans, as well as to verify the level of staff knowledge and competency are sufficient to execute the plans. Something as simple as implementing remote access for data processing, review and approval can go a long way to keeping a laboratory operating but your IT staff will need a plan how to set-up and control remote access.

Your local Waters office may be able to help with a walk-through of the Disaster Recovery Plan for your Empower CDS to help:

  • Identify any weaknesses in the plan
  • Suggest alternative technologies or solutions that could speed up your recovery process and that could be incorporated in an update to your Disaster Recovery Plan

Don’t forget to test your updated plan in case new gaps were introduced in the update. Make sure your key staff are trained in the plan and know their roles.

TIP: Your local Waters experts can also be called on to help you recover your system and data after a disaster.

STEP 4

Keep it Current and Convenient

No-one can predict the future, so there may be disasters you didn’t plan for – but hopefully there will be something similar that you can leverage.

Example: COVID-19 is an entirely new infectious disease however a Business Continuity Plan generated for an influenza pandemic could easily be adapted for the current situation. Update the plans as new risks arise and as business processes and systems change.

Lastly, make sure there are copies of the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans easily available from offsite – even if all site power and networks were lost.

TIP: A printed copy of the plan(s) stored in an offsite location can be a great last resort.

If you require more information on managing the backup and restore of your Empower CDS, please refer to:

More information on how to work remotely with Empower can be found at:

For a discussion about upgrading your system and/or getting assistance with Disaster Recovery plans and situations, please contact your local Waters office or dealer.

 

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Next week in Empower Tip #182– We will continue our series on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Strategy with Empower.

 

  

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Categories: Empower Tips