The Ambassify Contingency Plan establishes procedures to recover Ambassify following a disruption resulting from a disaster. This Disaster Recovery Policy is maintained by the Ambassify Security Officer and Privacy Officer.

The following objectives have been established for this plan:

  1. Maximize the effectiveness of contingency operations through an established plan that consists of the following phases:
    • Notification/Activation phase to detect and assess damage and to activate the plan;
    • Recovery phase to restore temporary IT operations and recover damage done to the original system;
    • Reconstitution phase to restore IT system processing capabilities to normal operations.
  2. Identify the activities, resources, and procedures needed to carry out Ambassify processing requirements during prolonged interruptions to normal operations.
  3. Identify and define the impact of interruptions to Ambassify systems.
  4. Assign responsibilities to designated personnel and provide guidance for recovering Ambassify during prolonged periods of interruption to normal operations.
  5. Ensure coordination with other Ambassify staff who will participate in the contingency planning strategies.
  6. Ensure coordination with external points of contact and vendors who will participate in the contingency planning strategies.

Example of the types of disasters that would initiate this plan are natural disaster, political disturbances, man made disaster, external human threats, internal malicious activities.

Ambassify defined two categories of systems from a disaster recovery perspective.

  1. Critical Systems. These systems host application servers and database servers or are required for functioning of systems that host application servers and database servers. These systems, if unavailable, affect the integrity of data and must be restored, or have a process begun to restore them, immediately upon becoming unavailable.
  2. Non-critical Systems. These are all systems not considered critical by definition above. These systems, while they may affect the performance and overall security of critical systems, do not prevent Critical systems from functioning and being accessed appropriately. These systems are restored at a lower priority than critical systems.

Line of Succession

The following order of succession to ensure that decision-making authority for the Ambassify Contingency Plan is uninterrupted. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for ensuring the safety of personnel and the execution of procedures documented within this Ambassify Contingency Plan. If the CTO is unable to function as the overall authority or chooses to delegate this responsibility to a successor, the CEO or COO shall function as that authority. To provide contact initiation should the contingency plan need to be initiated, please use the contact list below.

Responsibilities

The following teams have been developed and trained to respond to a contingency event affecting the IT system.

  1. The Ops Team is responsible for recovery of the Ambassify hosted environment, network devices, and all servers. Members of the team include personnel who are also responsible for the daily operations and maintenance of Ambassify. The team leader is the CTO and directs the Dev Ops Team.
  2. The Web Services Team is responsible for assuring all application servers, web services, and platform add-ons are working. It is also responsible for testing redeployments and assessing damage to the environment. The team leader is the CTO and directs the Web Services Team.

Members of the Ops and Web Services teams must maintain local copies of the contact information from Line of Succession. Additionally, the CTO must maintain a local copy of this policy in the event Internet access is not available during a disaster scenario.

Testing and Maintenance

The CTO shall establish criteria for validation/testing of a Contingency Plan, an annual test schedule, and ensure implementation of the test. This process will also serve as training for personnel involved in the plan’s execution. At a minimum the Contingency Plan shall be tested annually (within 365 days). The types of validation/testing exercises include tabletop and technical testing. Contingency Plans for all application systems must be tested at a minimum using the tabletop testing process. However, if the application system Contingency Plan is included in the technical testing of their respective support systems that technical test will satisfy the annual requirement.

Tabletop Testing

Tabletop Testing is conducted in accordance with the the CMS Risk Management Handbook, Volume 2. The primary objective of the tabletop test is to ensure designated personnel are knowledgeable and capable of performing the notification/activation requirements and procedures as outlined in the CP, in a timely manner. The exercises include, but are not limited to:

  • Testing to validate the ability to respond to a crisis in a coordinated, timely, and effective manner, by simulating the occurrence of a specific crisis.

Technical Testing

The primary objective of the technical test is to ensure the communication processes and data storage and recovery processes can function at an alternate site to perform the functions and capabilities of the system within the designated requirements. Technical testing shall include, but is not limited to:

  • Process from backup system at the alternate site;
  • Restore system using backups; and
  • Switch compute and storage resources to alternate processing site.

Disaster Recovery Procedures

Notification and Activation Phase

This phase addresses the initial actions taken to detect and assess damage inflicted by a disruption to Ambassify. Based on the assessment of the Event, sometimes according to the Ambassify Incident Response Policy, the Contingency Plan may be activated by the CTO.

The notification sequence is listed below:

  • The first responder is to notify the CTO. All known information must be relayed to the CTO using a GitHub issue in the compliance project.
  • The CTO is to contact the Web Services Team and inform them of the event. The CTO is to begin assessment procedures.
  • The CTO is to notify team members and direct them to complete the assessment procedures outlined below to determine the extent of damage and estimated recovery time. If damage assessment cannot be performed locally because of unsafe conditions, the CTO is to following the steps below.
    • Damage Assessment Procedures:
    • The CTO is to logically assess damage, gain insight into whether the infrastructure is salvageable, and begin to formulate a plan for recovery.
    • Alternate Assessment Procedures:
    • Upon notification, the CTO is to follow the procedures for damage assessment with combined Dev Ops and Web Services Teams.
  • The Ambassify Contingency Plan is to be activated if one or more of the following criteria are met:
    • Ambassify will be unavailable for more than 48 hours.
    • Hosting facility is damaged and will be unavailable for more than 24 hours.
    • Other criteria, as appropriate and as defined by Ambassify.
    • If the plan is to be activated, the CTO is to notify and inform team members of the details of the event and if relocation is required.
    • Upon notification from the CTO, group leaders and managers are to notify their respective teams. Team members are to be informed of all applicable information and prepared to respond and relocate if necessary.
    • The CTO is to notify remaining personnel and executive leadership on the general status of the incident.
    • Notification can be message, email, or phone.

Recovery Phase

This section provides procedures for recovering the application at an alternate site, whereas other efforts are directed to repair damage to the original system and capabilities.

The following procedures are for recovering the Ambassify infrastructure at the alternate site. Procedures are outlined per team required. Each procedure should be executed in the sequence it is presented to maintain efficient operations.

Recovery Goal: The goal is to rebuild Ambassify infrastructure to a production state.

The tasks outlines below are not sequential and some can be run in parallel.

  1. Contact Partners and Customers affected - Web Services
  2. Assess damage to the environment - Web Services
  3. Begin replication of new environment using automated and tested scripts. At this point it is determined whether to recover in Heroku, AWS, or Rackspace. - Dev Ops
  4. Test new environment using pre-written tests - Web Services
  5. Test logging, security, and alerting functionality - Dev Ops
  6. Assure systems are appropriately patched and up to date. - Dev Ops
  7. Deploy environment to production - Web Services
  8. Update DNS to new environment. - Dev Ops

Reconstitution Phase

This section discusses activities necessary for restoring Ambassify operations at the original or new site. The goal is to restore full operations within 24 hours of a disaster or outage. When the hosted data center at the original or new site has been restored, Ambassify operations at the alternate site may be transitioned back. The goal is to provide a seamless transition of operations from the alternate site to the computer center.

  1. Original or New Site Restoration
    • Begin replication of new environment using automated and tested scripts. - Dev Ops
    • Test new environment using pre-written tests. - Web Services
    • Test logging, security, and alerting functionality. - Dev Ops
    • Deploy environment to production - Web Services
    • Assure systems are appropriately patched and up to date. - Dev Ops
    • Update DNS to new environment. - Dev Ops
  2. Plan Deactivation
    • If the Ambassify environment is moved back to the original site from the alternative site, all hardware used at the alternate site should be handled and disposed of.