Councils urged to test their disaster recovery plans

Councils have been urged to test their disaster recovery plans after new research has revealed that nearly 40 per cent of city councils have not tested plans in the past year.

Databarracks submitted a freedom of information request (FOI) in order to examine how major cities are prepared for the possibility of an IT disaster. The results found that while every major city has a disaster plan organised to restore functionality, 38 per cent of these systems have not been regularly tested.

Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks, said: “All of the councils that responded to our FOI showed excellent best practice when it came to prioritising the most critical IT systems in a disaster and they all had structured plans in place that outlined their priorities for recovery.

“This is particularly difficult for the public sector, as not only do they need to protect revenue-generating systems such as council tax, but they also need to protect their care systems such as children’s services, for example.

“However, just having a DR plan in place is not enough – plans need to be regularly maintained, updated, revised and tested to guarantee their effectiveness. The results of our FOI request exposed that a significant proportion of city councils had not tested plans for over a year, meaning that they cannot be confident in their effectiveness in the event of a genuine crisis.”

The research also found that there were wide variations in Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) with some councils aiming for a few hours, while other took as long as four days.

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