Keep the Doors Open Using a Business Continuity Plan
Making a quick recovery from a weather-related or other catastrophe can mean the difference between a business closing its doors or continuing to grow. Outages for any reason can cost companies millions in lost revenue and productivity in just a single day. For that reason, companies of all sizes should create and practice a comprehensive business continuity (BC) plan. Here’s what should be considered in a well-constructed BC strategy.
What Can Be Automated?
Removing the human element from certain mundane tasks or practices whenever possible gives the organization the advantage of “autopilot” for those items. Many BC plans fail to address how employees will access an alternate site or execute the plan after a disaster. In the case of a large disaster, travel may be prohibited or sites may be inaccessible.
The more tasks (especially regarding power or data backups and switching) that can be automated, the less likely these operations are to be interrupted. In addition, any tools that are able to live in a secure cloud environment should, so that remote workers can access them after a crisis.
Realizing the Failure Points of Virtual Systems
The reality of technology is that anything has potential to fail. While virtual systems such as storage, desktops, and servers are generally more stable and less likely to fail, the possibility still exists. BC planning must include a plan of action in the event such a failure occurs.
At a minimum, BC plan testing should be done on an annual basis, and ideally every quarter. Testing the plan will help identify gaps in recovery coverage as well as where tasks can be streamlined. Every department should have a sub-plan for their area and participate in a comprehensive test as well as execution of their own procedures. Practice runs help all stakeholders become more efficient in performing recovery processes, which will result in less downtime should a disaster occur.
Many companies operate via a single data center or have on-site data management. What if that site was compromised and inaccessible? There must be an alternate site where backups can continue and data is able to flow normally. For that reason, using a cloud-based BC strategy is imperative.
Cloud recovery means that remote workers have accessibility to the information and tools they need to resume operations. Having multiple methods of backup that don’t rely on one single physical point of failure is smart. Ideally, the selected data center vendor would have multiple locations that are geographically distributed so that a regional emergency does not compromise the entire company’s business. Many data center vendors have systems in place that are designated as “high availability” due to their solid redundancy and quick failover processes.
Assess and Allocate Appropriately
Not all of a business’s software or applications are essential after a crisis. Disaster recovery can be quite expensive, and the company may save significantly if restoration of low-priority applications could be temporarily deferred. Prioritizing each application as high-medium-low and focusing recovery efforts in that order will prevent overspending.
BC plans are an urgent need for any size of company. When the organization has an effective plan in place in the event of a crisis, it can recover quickly and preserve more of its revenue stream. To learn more about effective BC plans, contact us today.