DISASTER RECOVERY BUSINESS CONTINUITY
KEEP YOUR COMPANY
Severe weather. Power Outages. Vandalism. Device failure. Human error.
Disasters come in all forms, and sometimes, you can’t prevent them—but having a disaster recovery and business continuity solution in place can keep your company in business when disaster strikes.
These days, most businesses need IT to make money. If your company relies on email, database systems, or any other electronic data to do business, you need a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Without reliable IT, you are at the mercy of circumstances if your equipment fails or your technology services are interrupted.
One Dallas-based client experienced a disaster that could have forced their business to close its doors. After receiving notification of an outage, we called the client’s primary contact and sent a field technician to the site to investigate.
What we found was unlike anything we’d seen before. The client’s server room had been destroyed—hard drives were pulled from the onsite servers and local backup appliance, ethernet cables had been ripped from the walls, and a hole was cut into the ceiling which allowed the weekend’s rain to fall onto the equipment.
The cost of office repairs, equipment replacements, and lost revenue could have easily bankrupted this company, but luckily, our client has disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. We had the client’s data backed up offsite and were able to spin up their server in the cloud. The company was able to return to operation the next day without suffering significant downtime or critical data loss.
The outcome of any disaster, whether natural or man-made, is always the same—your company’s critical data is gone, at least temporarily. With a disaster recovery and business continuity solution, you can retrieve that data and keep your company working.
Disaster recovery deals with a company’s ability to restore its technology services after an emergency or other unexpected event occurs. Disaster recovery utilizes a combination of hardware and software to protect a company’s data based on its business needs. Disaster recovery plans also outline specific steps taken—such as data backup and server restoration—to protect and recover a company’s business-critical data.
Business continuity focuses on a company’s ability to remain in operation, or recover to an operational state, during or following a disaster. Business continuity plans are comprehensive, consider all essential functions of a business, and can provide solutions to long-term challenges—such as supply chain breakdowns or employee illness—that have the potential to disrupt business operations.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
DISASTER RECOVERY AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY?
Although disaster recovery is data-centric and business continuity is business-centric, the concepts go hand in hand. In fact, disaster recovery is only one part of a company’s business continuity plan. Business continuity puts procedures and technology in place that allow companies to work through a disaster while disaster recovery uses that technology to backup, store, and recover business-critical data.
Disaster recovery answers the questions of where your company’s data is, when that data was last backed up, and how long it will take to restore that data.
Business continuity considers the competitive nature of business and is structured to prevent companies from experiencing significant amounts of downtime. A business continuity plan defines what a disaster is and who can declare a disaster within your company. It also specifies where and how employees will work, and the tools available to do their jobs if your business experiences a disaster.
WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED A
DISASTER RECOVERY AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN?
Disaster recovery and business continuity is a critical element of effective IT design. Disaster recovery and business continuity protect your company’s ability to make money by protecting your company’s data, employees, and public image.
A disaster recovery and business continuity plan will get your business back to work sooner by reducing the amount of downtime following a disaster. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 25 percent of businesses that experience a disaster will never reopen.
Disasters come in many forms, including data breaches and ransomware attacks. Data breaches and ransomware infections can cripple a company’s ability to operate by causing financial losses, significant downtime, and damage to its reputation. Twenty-five percent of businesses experience a data breach each year and in 2017, ransomware cost businesses more than $5 billion.
Companies that utilize disaster recovery and business continuity along with cybersecurity policies are less likely to suffer a data breach or ransomware infection.
Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are like insurance, and sometimes, disasters are inevitable. The sooner you can get back to work and serve customers, the better the chances are for your company’s survival.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE
What should my business consider a disaster?
For businesses, any event that has the potential to cause loss of life, property damage, or economic damage should be considered a disaster. Disasters fall into two categories—natural and man-made.
Natural disasters are typically environmental or weather-related events that humans can’t control. Man-made disasters are events caused by human action or inaction such as building fires, water damage, power outages, theft, network failure, and data breaches.
What are the components of a disaster recovery and business continuity plan?
Disaster recovery and business continuity plans define similar processes and procedures for crisis communication, temporary locations, and security policies, but the scope of each plan is different.
Businesses should take these six steps when creating a disaster recovery plan: (1) complete a business impact analysis; (2) complete a threat assessment; (3) compile important documents; (4) develop and outline disaster prevention, detection, and resolution strategies; (5) test the plan; and (6) revise the plan as needed.
Companies should follow these four steps when building a business continuity plan: (1) identify business-critical departments, functions and processes; (2) understand the interrelatedness of each department and function; (3) determine the maximum amount of downtime each department can endure; and (4) develop and outline procedures to maintain operations while your normal environment is restored.
Where does IT fit into my company’s disaster recovery and business continuity plan?
Disaster recovery and business continuity are so broad that companies often decide to develop plans for each department within their business. An IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan will focus on the protection and maintenance of all your company’s technology and data.
Your company’s chief operating officer or general manager should work alongside your managed IT services provider to create a plan that best fits the needs of your business. With input from your company’s C-suite, your managed services provider can build, implement, and maintain disaster recovery and business continuity solutions such as data backup appliances and cloud services platforms.
Your C-suite’s participation is important because they can identify any documents, departments, and services that are critical to maintaining the continuity of your business. Your C-suite can also determine the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) of your DR/BC plans. The RTO refers to the maximum amount of time your network and services can be down after a disaster while the RPO refers to the frequency of data backups and the age of the files recovered from them. Once these are identified, your IT provider can propose the most impactful disaster recovery solution.
Your IT provider should also test the disaster recovery and business continuity plan to ensure it works, as well as inform and train employees on new processes and procedures.
How often does my company need to review its disaster recovery and business continuity plan?
Because each business is different, companies must decide for themselves when it’s right to update their disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Typically, businesses revise their plans when changes occur within their IT environment.
Companies should also review their disaster recovery and business continuity plans when plan execution procedures or external factors change.
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