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This guide provides instructions, recommendations, and considerations for federal information system contingency planning. Contingency planning refers to interim measures to recover information system services after a disruption. Interim measures may include relocation of information systems and operations to an alternate site, recovery of information system functions using alternate equipment, or performance of information system functions using manual methods.
This guide addresses specific contingency planning recommendations for three platform types and provides strategies and techniques common to all systems.
This guide defines a seven-step contingency planning process that an organization may apply to develop and maintain a viable contingency planning program for their information systems. These seven progressive steps are designed to be integrated into each stage of the system development life cycle.
- Develop the contingency planning policy statement. A formal policy provides the authority and guidance necessary to develop an effective contingency plan.
- Conduct the business impact analysis (BIA). The BIA helps identify and prioritize information systems and components critical to supporting the organization’s mission/business functions. A template for developing the BIA is provided to assist the user.
- Identify preventive controls. Measures taken to reduce the effects of system disruptions can increase system availability and reduce contingency life cycle costs.
- Create contingency strategies. Thorough recovery strategies ensure that the system may be recovered quickly and effectively following a disruption.
- Develop an information system contingency plan. The contingency plan should contain detailed guidance and procedures for restoring a damaged system unique to the system’s security impact level and recovery requirements.
- Ensure plan testing, training, and exercises. Testing validates recovery capabilities, whereas training prepares recovery personnel for plan activation and exercising the plan identifies planning gaps; combined, the activities improve plan effectiveness and overall organization preparedness.
- Ensure plan maintenance. The plan should be a living document that is updated regularly to remain current with system enhancements and organizational changes.