Mutual Assistance Agreements (MAAs) provide an alternate processing option. Under an MAA, two organizations commit to helping each other in a disaster situation by sharing computing facilities or other technological resources. They offer support by decreasing the expenditure for either organization to establish and maintain expensive alternate processing sites, such as the hot sites, warm sites, cold sites, and mobile processing sites. However, there are a few disadvantages to Mutual Assistance Agreements:
- MAAs are difficult to administer. Both parties are assuming implicit trust that support will be provided in the event of a disaster. However, the unaffected organization could dishonor the agreement.
- Both organizations should be located within reasonable proximity to each other to expedite transportation of personnel between sites. If both locations are within a close distance, then both organizations are subject to the same disaster.
- Confidentiality issues often make organizations reluctant to share data with each other.
Despite these concerns, an MAA may be a useful disaster recovery solution for organizations, especially if cost is an overriding factor.