IT Service Continuity and Disaster Recovery

This section gives ideas for how Disaster Recovery and Continuity planning activities can be applied with Service Desk.

Continuity overview

No single process or product feature delivers this ability as a 'package'. Instead, a combination of activities working with the Service Lifecycle process described in detail in Service Portfolio Management make it possible to plan and follow Service Continuity practices in Service Desk.

To understand the Risks of continuity issues, use Impact Analysis feature of Configuration Item management to view the impact of any CI in the infrastructure going down, including the ability to see exactly which users will be affected.

Test Planning

The Service Portfolio and Service lifecycle is key to Service Continuity Management activities in Service Desk. Following the Service Lifecycle process enables you to build and complete continuity plans for each IT Service as a formal part of the Service lifecycle. These plans can be distributed to relevant personnel by means of granting them access (via privileges) to the parts of the Portfolio record that pertain to continuity.

Once a Service is live, a collection of Test or Scenario records is available.

Since each Service comprises a number of component CIs, you can run an impact analysis at any time by right-clicking the Service then clicking Impact Analysis.

In addition, each Service in Service Desk contains a number of continuity-related fields. If these are not on your Service window, create them using Object Designer and Window Manager. Fields added for Continuity Management include:

Minimum Recovery Time. Although a field on the Service window, consider also as a Response Level applied to a Major Incident for that Service.

Business Criticality on the Service Window enables you to specify a relative criticality of the Service. Add this field to the Service Portfolio query to list your Services and to group and order your Services by criticality.

Recovery Option on the Service CI window describes the options for recovering this Service. Add this field to the Service Portfolio query to see recovery options for all Services and vital business functions.

Cost of Downtime: used also in Availability Management, the Cost of Downtime field on the Service enables a financial value to be recorded against a Service.

The Service lifecycle in Service Desk enables Continuity Management staff to add a collection of continuity activities – where a Test contains a test description and its result, and a Scenario allows for continuity scenarios to be recorded with a proposed resolution.

The Continuity Test Due field on the Service window enables you to set future test dates and select when they are due. Add this field to the Service Portfolio query to list your Services and to group and order your Services by Continuity Test Due.

Detailed continuity plans are attached as attachments to the Service-CI and can be accessed as required by appropriate staff from the Service window.

Design Idea: If you publish Major Incidents through Self Service and Web Desk, provide a window behind each record so that you can access the attachments from there. This enables those with the appropriate permissions to access the continuity plans directly from the published alert.

Although plan documents are not typically version-controlled themselves, you can make a document version controlled in Service Desk by using a CI Type of Document, and attaching the document to the CI. Then manual or automatic CI-versioning keeps the correct version stamp and history of changes, and RFCs can be followed to implement document version changes.

Continuity SLAs. The Incident process in Service Desk provides a Major Incident status. You can set alternative levels of response and service that apply when a service is in a major incident / disaster status by defining a new Response Level that applies automatically for that Status.

Some contracts and agreements are critical to ensuring delivery of the service. Set the Critical Contract flag on the Agreement for the Service to identify these contracts.

To view reports and information about continuity plans, test results, and other related information, modify your Service Portfolio queries and dashboards to show the continuity information captured for each Service.