The one clear lesson to be learned from the natural disasters
that hit Queensland last month is that prevention is always better
than cure. Businesses who had prepared in advance for emergencies
were better able to respond to the situation and rebuild their
businesses after disaster had hit.
Preparing for emergency situations is even more important for
ICT professionals, as disruption to your IT systems will have
wide-reaching consequences for your entire business. We recommend
that all businesses consider putting together an ICT disaster
recovery plan that outlines the steps that need to be taken if
One important element of an ICT disaster recovery plan is a
'disaster recovery agreement', which provides an
organisation with outside services (often provided in the cloud) to
ensure business continuity is available during times of emergency
or natural disaster. Such services are generally only available to
an organisation during certain types of emergencies.
Here are the key questions that are important to address in a
disaster recovery agreement:
During what period and under what circumstances can a customer
access the supplier's services? Is there a clear definition of
'emergency' or 'disaster' which entitles the
customer to use the services?
Does the supplier provide a warranty that the services will be
continuously available during times of need?
Does the customer have the option of accessing the services in
times which are not an 'emergency' or
Does the customer have specific obligations as to the operation
of its own facilities? Does this limit or excuse the obligations of
How are the supplier's fees or charges to be
Are there clear obligations on the supplier as to privacy and
How is liability dealt with under the agreement? Is the
liability of the supplier capped?
Can the supplier subcontract its obligations?
What is the duration of the agreement? Is the agreement
What is the governing law of the agreement?
What you can do practically to prepare your IT systems for a
disaster is a topic at our upcoming seminar ICT Governance and
Disaster Recovery: A practical and legal perspective, to be held on
Thursday 10 March. To find out more about this seminar or to
register, please visit the Australian Computer Society's
For more information about ICT governance and disaster recovery,
please contact HopgoodGanim's Intellectual Property and
As a licensor or a licensee, here are some tips you should consider when negotiating your next licence agreement.
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