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Book Review: Disaster Recovery

The Disaster Recovery Handbook. By Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber. ​Published by AMACOM;; 544 pages; $65.

As security professionals become more integrated into management processes and take on advisory roles for the companies they serve, it is crucial for them to have a strong understanding of companywide disaster recovery and crisis management. How will the company preserve and continue vital business functions during and after a disaster? What decisions can the company make now to protect the continuation of vital business functions later?

The third edition of The Disaster Recovery Handbook by Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber is a practical, informative guide for the reader looking to answer those questions while broadening his or her understanding of disaster recovery management.

The authors provide a step-by-step guide to creating and maintaining a disaster recovery plan. Planners must initiate the project and assemble a team, evaluate risk, decide on strategy, and create interim plans until finalized plans can be created and tested. The book contains easy-to-follow steps, common pitfalls to avoid, and advice to make the process run smoothly.

Chapters are dedicated to teasing apart plans for specific threats like pandemics, fires, and terrorism. Others explain vital domains that must be considered during the disaster recovery planning process. Chapters dedicated to work area recovery, electrical service, vital records, and IT and networking, among others, will give professionals unfamiliar with these important domains a base of knowledge so that they can work with stakeholders to craft the response plan. A useful glossary and index also support the text.

Included with purchase of the book is a downloadable package of almost 50 supplemental documents and templates to assist the reader with the creation of important elements of the disaster recovery plan. These files alone will be an outstanding resource for any company.

Although this book is not addressed solely to security professionals, it will help them support or create a disaster recovery program for their company. This text would particularly benefit those looking to understand how the different functional pieces of a plan must be considered as a whole in the recovery effort from any disaster. Wallace and Webber have created a fine reference that should benefit all business managers or advisors.

Reviewer: Nicholas A. D'Agostino, PSP, PMP (Project Management Professional), is a senior manager of system design for D'Agostino & Associates, a technology consulting firm. He is a member of ASIS International.