After recent events around the world, disaster recovery and business continuity are once again front-page news. These are not merely concepts employed only by Fortune 500 corporations. These are precautions that are necessary for all businesses, regardless of size. The difference is in the implementation.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are often used interchangeably. However, at Axcient we see them as two separate phases of a process. Business Continuity (BC) focuses on reducing the impact of a disaster on the business, by providing ways to continue operations during and after the event. Disaster recovery is the process of recovering the systems and data after the event occurs.When thinking about true BC strategies there are three main elements to consider: business impact analysis, risk assessment, and communications. A Business Impact Analysis identifies which systems need to be recovered in priority order by identifying the systems and processes that are the most critical based on the effect an outage would have on the business. A Risk Assessment identifies possible sources of risks and develops contingency plans to mitigate each risk. Finally, the Communications Plan provides clear direction on who does what, who goes where and what the organization says to the outside world.
Is it really necessary to go through all of this planning? Yes, it is. Not only do you want to protect your business, but there are certain legal requirements (Sarbanes-Oxley, for example) that can only be met by having documented and tested BC plan in place. There are also real business benefits to having a BC plan – insurance carriers take BC into consideration when calculating premiums. Many customers consider BC plans when selecting vendors to provide good and services.
To get you started on the right path, here are 5 additional key items to get your BC Plan started:
- Train multiple employees for critical tasks in case someone is unavailable
- Identify offsite meeting places and facilities to move critical operations and employees
- Secure alternative means of communication in case phones line and cell providers are down
- Understand local emergency response teams disaster procedures and plans
- Communicate information to employees, drill when possible, and remember to update the plan when there are changes to the environment
Creating a Business Continuity plan is one of the best ways to protect your business from disaster. Don’t put it off. Contact one of our managed service partners and see how they might be able to help.