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DS4.2 - IT Continuity Plans

This topic is intended to enable collaboration and sharing of information to facilitate a better understanding and approach to implementing this COBIT control objective based on the risk, value and guidance provided by its corresponding control practices.

COBIT Control Objective DS4.2 - IT Continuity Plans is contained within Process Popup Ensure Continuous Service.

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IT Continuity Plans

Develop IT continuity plans based on the framework and designed to reduce the impact of a major disruption on key business functions and processes. The plans should be based on risk understanding of potential business impacts and address requirements for resilience, alternative processing and recovery capability of all critical IT services. They should also cover usage guidelines, roles and responsibilities, procedures, communication processes, and the testing approach.

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Value Drivers

  • Continuous service across IT, addressing the requirements for critical IT resources
  • Defined and documented guidelines, roles and responsibilities
  • Achieved short- and long-range objectives supporting the organisation’s objectives
  Risk Drivers
  • Failure to recover IT systems and services in a timely manner
  • Failure of alternative decision-making processes
  • Lack of required recovery resources
  • Failed communication to internal and external stakeholders

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  1. Create an IT continuity plan, including:
    • The conditions and responsibilities for activating and/or escalating the plan
    • Prioritised recovery strategy, including the necessary sequence of activities
    • Minimum recovery requirements to maintain adequate business operations and service levels with diminished resources
    • Emergency procedures
    • Fallback procedures
    • Temporary operational procedures
    • IT processing resumption procedures
    • Maintenance and test schedule
    • Awareness, education and training activities
    • Responsibilities of individuals
    • Regulatory requirements
    • Critical assets and resources and up-to-date personnel contact information needed to perform emergency, fallback and resumption procedures
    • Alternative processing facilities as determined within the plan
    • Alternative suppliers for critical resources
  2. Define underlying assumptions (e.g., level of outage covered by the plan) in the IT continuity plan and which systems (i.e., computer systems, network components and other IT infrastructure) and sites are to be included. Note alternative processing options for each site.
  3. Ensure that the IT continuity plan includes a defined checklist of recovery events as well as a form for event logging.
  4. Establish and maintain detailed information for every recovery site, including assigned staff and logistics (e.g., transport of media to the recovery site). This information should include:
    • Processing requirements for each site
    • Location
    • Resources (e.g., systems, staff, support) available at each location
    • Utility companies on which the site depends
  5. Define response and recovery team structures, including reporting requirements roles and responsibilities as well as knowledge, skills and experience requirements for all team members. Include contact details of all team members, and ensure that that they are maintained and readily available (e.g., offsite team, backup managing team).
  6. Define and prioritise communication processes and define responsibility for communication (e.g., public, press, government). Maintain contact details of relevant stakeholders (e.g., crisis management team, IT recovery staff, business stakeholders, staff), service providers (e.g., vendors, telecommunications provider) and external parties (e.g., business partners, media, government bodies, public).
  7. Maintain procedures to protect and restore the affected part of the organisation, including, where necessary, reconstruction of the affected site or its replacement. This also includes procedures to respond to further disasters while in the backup site.
  8. Create emergency procedures to ensure the safety of all affected parties, including coverage of occupational health and safety requirements (e.g., counselling services) and co-ordination with public authorities.

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