Recent natural disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, just fouryears after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, have brought into sharprelief the need for contingency planning. Moreover, fears of an avian flu epidemichave kept organizations on edge and forced many to confront the inadequacy of the of their own disaster plans.The Federal government is particularly concerned. Federal agencies are underincreasing scrutiny to define and test socalled continuity of operation (COOP) andcontinuity of government (COG) plans. In many cases, disk imaging can be anintegral part of these plans. This paper explains COOP and suggests the role thatimaging can play in government preparedness.
The State of COOP Planning
Although COOP requirements are well understood, compliance is far fromuniversal. A survey of 533 IT professionals in government by Larstan BusinessReports found that, while about 80% of respondents agreed that COOP is integralto technology purchases and upgrade planning, a third believe their agencies havenot implemented a COOP plan. More than half of the respondents believe that theagencies with which they collaborate don't have a COOP plan in place at all. This isthe case even though COOP is one of the top pressing concerns for 2006 asshown in Figure 1.In 2004, the Office of Management and Budget reviewed COOP plans across theFederal government and found that no agency was complying fully with the FEMAguidelines. The 2005 annual security report card from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform gave the U.S. government anoverall grade of D+ for the second year in information security, with failing gradesto the departments of Homeland Security, State and Defense. The committeespecifically cited contingency planning as an area of concern.
TABLE 1. THE COSTOF DOWNTIME
$1M in lost revenue perhour on average
Source: IT PerformanceEngineering &Measurement Strategies:Quantifying PerformanceLoss, Meta Group