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The Ethics of IT Disaster Recovery Planning: Five Case Studies



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Journal of Information Systems Security
Volume 4, Number 1 (2008)
Pages 2140
ISSN 1551-0123 (Print)
ISSN 1551-0808 (Online)
Nanda Surendra — West Virginia University, USA
A. Graham Peace — West Virginia University, USA
Daniel Connolly — West Virginia University, USA
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




Several highly visible and publicized disasters during the past five years, and the increasing realization that Information Technology (IT) is vital to the functioning of several core business processes, are motivating many companies to invest large amounts in IT disaster recovery. According to a recent survey (Witty, 2006), nearly 50% of companies invest almost 10% of their IT budget in this area. However, there is very limited published academic research on IT disaster recovery. A large number of practitioner articles are available, most of which focus on technology and procedures. This paper adds to the Information Systems academic research, and supplements the practitioner research, by focusing attention on the ethical and social aspects of IT disaster recovery. In an exploratory study, case studies at five organizations from different industry sectors were conducted. Three commonly accepted ethical theories - Stockholder Theory, Stakeholder Theory and Social Contract Theory - were applied, to analyze (1) how a disaster is defined, (2) how business and IT service priorities are determined in a disaster recovery or business continuity plan, and (3) how a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is operationalized. It was found that the Stockholder Theory framework dominates the disaster recovery planning process, with little attention paid to the stakeholders identified by the Stakeholder and Social Contract Theories.




IT Disaster Recovery Planning, Business Continuity Planning, Business Ethics




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