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The Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a document that outlines, in detail, the actions that should be taken to restore systems & files in the event of a catastrophe. The fact that these plans hold sensitive information about your network infrastructure and passwords means these documents must be handled with extreme caution.

What is the most secure way to handle the keeping of a disaster recovery plan? Thoughts to be considered :

  • Keepers must be trustworthy and ensure that the data remain safe
  • The plan must include people outside the realm of IT to be holders of the data (in case IT department goes rogue, small IT team are in a car accident together, etc)
  • Assume that they plans are digital and appropriately encrypted
  • Plans need to be updated every year or so (or more depending on how often there may be a major infrastructure change).
  • The plan must assume that no IT people with an intimate knowledge of the systems are accessible and, as such, the files can be handed to any competent IT consulting firm to execute the plan.

Possible ideas :

  • Give high level executives access to the files and let them pick their own password for the encryption while ensuring that they maintain the key and password in a safe place. (Multiple staff would need to be in for this to work)
  • Get two executives or other trusted high level staff. One would select the password for encryption and the other would hold the key. Each would have to consent to opening the files for usage which would prevent a rogue executive. You might use two sets of executives to ensure that if one is on vacation or inaccessible that the plan can still be executed.
  • Lock the plan in a safety deposit box and provide two trusted staff with the key

I would love to hear your thoughts on how to keep these docs secure. I can't recall seeing any real discussion on this and I would be interested to hear peoples take on how to keep these documents physically secure.

  • I think your assumption has one big flaw: that it is one document. In reality, the overarching plans will be visible to everyone who needs to know them - per department, building, region, whatever. And only specifics will need to be held by trusted parties. This makes the problem much more manageable – Rory Alsop Mar 20 '15 at 0:51
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You appear to be discussing accessing the Plan itself and not the actual technical implementation of Disaster Recovery. The technical aspects can craft an answer for you.

When the disaster recovery event actually happens the IT aspects will probably include retrieval of off-site data storage and activation of systems for recovery of same. Let's consider your question from the technical implementation and see how it impacts close hold storage. As a given, the Plan addresses much more than IT but IT confidentiality appears to me to be a gating factor.

For the Plan to work it needs to be more than just revised every year or so it needs to be practiced (repeatedly) and all involved need to know their role and have reasonable expectations of what will be happening (e.g. what building in what city do I go to to get my copies of my contract filings)

I would suggest many eyes need to see this plan nearly continually (new hires, role changes, etc.). Therefore, SharePoint or some company cloud storage available to all would be the first place I would store the Plan. Personal copies for key recovery personnel that are tested for their safekeeping and existence in training would be another good place. Locked in a safe deposit box seems to be a very bad place for the Plan.

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