Unitrends just released a free BC/DR planning tool called BC/DR Link , and we wanted to tell you a bit more about it.  It’s a free online service tool that helps you build and customize a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan so you can be confident in your ability to respond to a disaster or outage rapidly and effectively. I took a test run of it today and below you’ll find what I think are the coolest and most helpful parts.

Free Stuff!

First, as mentioned above (twice), it’s free. I’m sure you’re thinking, “So what, so are a lot of things on the internet.” Fair point. But this is something that people pay for being given away for nothing. The BCDR Link template alone is something a business continuity(BC) consultant would charge a hefty fee for, not to mention the hosting of the plan securely in the cloud. That means it’s not scattered on random drives throughout the company that may be inaccessible in the event of an outage.

Stuff You’d Expect and Stuff You Wouldn’t

First it’s based on the latest International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and DR Standards – ISO 22301:2012 and ISO 27031: 2011. The built in editor is similar to Microsoft Word with all the buttons you’d expect, so whether you’re creating a plan from scratch, or uploading an existing plan (another very cool feature), you’ll be able to manage it effectively once there. Next is the menu functionality on the left hand side, seen in the screenshot below.

BCDR Link screenshotBC/DR Link gives you the “must have’s”, like the ability to engage tech support and your emergency response team, but also gives you other features like a media and communications plan. This is helpful if the outage situation is causing your firm’s reputation to take a hit and a PR plan needs to be mobilized… fast. You even have a legal action & escalation section if something like a security breach is affecting your organization.

Storage & Management

BC/DR Link gives you 1GB of cloud storage FREE, and this is where your plan and all associated information live. Don’t worry it’s secure – SSL is used on the entire site so all data is encrypted between browser and server, and you can encrypt your files before uploading them (256 AES encryption) and BC/DR Link will store the encrypted version.

Note that the 1GB should not be used for backup storage. It’s for storing your plan and pertinent information like insurance policies for flood or fire, evacuation diagrams, your backup retention schedule or critical vendor supply list.

At any time you can print the plan in full, or just specific parts. It’s a best practice that all stakeholders always have a hardcopy they keep outside of the office, such as at home or in the car. You can also view the plan on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These last two points (hardcopies and mobile access) are of huge significance because in the event of an outage, it is likely you may not be able to access your desk or work computer.

Lastly you can invite users right from the homepage. You can give them full admin access, or view only – perfect for folks that need to know what to do in the event of a disaster, but aren’t on the BC/DR team or in executive management.

Final Thoughts

I recently participated in a Tweet Jam sponsored by TechTarget, the focus of which was DR plan testing and how often you should be doing it. It was a lively conversation enjoyed by all. But the conversation presumes one thing – that a DR plan is in place (otherwise how would you test it). If you don’t have one, or aren’t satisfied with the one you have, check out BC/DR Link today. It’s a FREE tool created by an organization that has years of experience in assisting customers with urgent response in critical outage situations.

PS: Have the DR plan but ready to take the next steps in data protection and continuous availability? Check out the full suite of Unitrends products today.