Why Disaster Recovery Services Are Important For Your Business Continuity Plan
These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a business strategy not driven by data. As the world becomes progressively more digital, any loss of data or extended downtime is translated into a loss of revenue and productivity. This can have an enormous impact on the reputation and profitability of a business. As a result, disaster recovery services have become an important component of business continuity strategies for a number of different industries and sectors.
Data loss and disruption can happen at any time, for a number of different reasons. From cyber attacks and natural disasters to malfunctions in your IT infrastructure and even human error, for any business large or small, the inevitability of downtime is always lurking just over the horizon. That’s why many businesses, in increasing numbers, are factoring bespoke disaster recovery strategies into their overall business continuity plan.
So what is a business continuity strategy? And why does disaster recovery play such an important role in this kind of plan?
What is a business continuity strategy?
A business continuity plan, also known as a BCP, is an important document outlining a set of processes and practices that will ensure a business continues to operate during a disruption. A BCP is more comprehensive than just a disaster recovery strategy. It often contains contingencies for every part of the organisation that might be affected. This includes digital assets and IT infrastructure, human resources and any parties with a vested interest such as business partners.
Your BCP checklist
A BCP typically contains a checklist listing data backups, where that data is stored and detailed strategies on how operations can be maintained. The document may also list administrators and contact information for emergency responders and important personnel such as the IT support service responsible for managing offsite and onsite backups.
The primary components of a business continuity plan should outline…
- Accessibility – A BCP ensures the right processes are in place. This means a business can access crucial applications regardless of any failure, crash or disruption. Accessibility in the event of a disruption is crucial. This is especially pertinent when the disruption might result from a physical malfunction in your IT infrastructure.
- Organisation – The document should outline the inter-organisational structures and responsibilities of each employee.
- Technology – A BCP should list the systems, networks, servers and business-specific infrastructure and technology necessary for operations to continue. It should also include how to get everything back up and running.
- Continuity – Perhaps the most important component, a BCP should safeguard a business’s ability to keep things running during a disruption. Business continuity should also be maintained during planned outages such as scheduled backups or maintenance.
- Recovery – By establishing ways in which a business can recover its network and data through a list of processes and necessary steps, BCP can ensure full recovery even if a disruption renders a centralised workspace unusable and/or inoperable.
- Facilities – A BCP should also list important facilities at all locations. This is in case a primary location is destroyed and operations need to be moved.
The history of business continuity plans.
The concept of a business continuity plan emerged in the early 1970s alongside disaster recovery. Although it was early days in terms of technology, a number of businesses at the time, particularly financial organisations such as banks, investment firms and insurance companies, began investing in alternative locations to store important data, networks, servers and company infrastructure such as computers. This ensured that in the event of a disruption or disaster, businesses would not experience severe data loss. Later down the line, the 1980s also saw the emergence of commercial recovery sites which offered shareable IT services. However, the emphasis was still very much on recovery.
In the 1990s, there was a sharp increase in corporate globalisation. With more interest in data and data accessibility as well as increased reliance on computers and digital networks, many businesses began thinking about business continuity and how they could maximise productivity and efficiency. At this point, many were also coming to the realisation that business continuity planning could help businesses gain a competitive edge as well as boost customer retention. However, at the same time, business continuity planning was becoming a lot more complex. This was because application architectures such as distributed applications, distributed processing, distributed data and hybrid computing environments were becoming more common.
Cyber security and data vulnerability.
These days, large and small businesses alike are all too aware of their vulnerability to digital threats such as cyber attacks and data theft. The popularity of hyper-converged IT infrastructure and cloud-centric digital assets has culminated in heightened risks and more vulnerability when it comes to data. When one link in the chain breaks or comes under attack, the impact of that disruption can be felt throughout a business. Failing to maintain resilience and adapt to newfound risks and opportunities in the current climate means businesses are now facing revenue loss and eroded customer trust.
As a result, business continuity strategies are having to include cyber security and resilience plans that can assist a business in withstanding disruptive and malicious attacks. Most BCPs typically include ways in which a business can defend itself against those risks and protect critical applications and data. Disaster recovery services have also become an important component of a business’s BCP because it ensures an organisation can properly recover from a data breach, disruption or infrastructure failure in a controlled and measurable way.
Of course, there’s also the issue of increasing data generation and retention, meaning in the event of a disruption, data recovery and business continuity strategies no longer lends themselves to a one-dimensional approach. As a result, ensuring your business has a BCP with an effective disaster recovery plan in place is more important than ever.
Does my business need a business continuity plan?
Back in the day, if there was a threat to a network, most disaster recovery strategies simply included instructions for powering down a mainframe and the office computers. However, these days there’s only so much a business can do to minimise the risk of disruption. With modern systems and networks more complex than ever, current IT infrastructure tends to be too complicated to have the same hands-on “have you tried turning it on and off again” approach businesses employed twenty years ago.
To not only withstand the current climate but thrive, many businesses are developing more holistic business continuity plans that aim to keep operations up and running, protect data, safeguard the businesses, retain customers and ultimately reduce long-term overheads. Having a BCP in place can minimise downtime and help to achieve more sustainable improvements in overall operational continuity.
As our world becomes more driven by data, every second of downtime is bad for business. That’s why in this day and age, it’s never been more important to put a BCP in place. Doing so can curb the impact of any potential disruptions. It can also create a less stressful, more proactive workplace where employees are empowered to get operations back on track following a disruption. By ensuring continuity in the day-to-day running of your business, your staff will have the freedom and flexibility to complete their tasks with minimal interruption. In turn, this can further foster operational growth.
What is disaster recovery?
A key component of a BCP is a disaster recovery strategy. Disaster recovery is a set of preparations that aim to minimise downtime in the event of a disruption.
A disaster recovery strategy details how to handle IT disruptions to networks and servers as well as any computers, mobile devices and tablets. The plan covers how to establish productivity and enterprise software within a centralised office following the disruption. This means key business needs can still be met even if an organisation is experiencing long-term disruptions.
Disaster recovery focuses on IT infrastructure and the systems that support business processes. A business continuity plan establishes the necessary controls and processes an organisation will need to keep operations running when a disaster strikes. Essentially, a BCP is more of an overview covering every possible impact on a business following a disruption and offering a solution. Disaster recovery is more specific. It often details how to get IT infrastructure, networks, servers and digital assets back up and running.
A disaster recovery plan should be clear and concise and focused on the key activities and functions required to recover operations. It should also be tested, reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As a result, it is vital your disaster recovery strategy has an owner or manager to keep everything up to date.
The benefits of business continuity and disaster recovery services.
The most simple way of integrating a disaster recovery strategy and business continuity plan into your operations is through a professional IT support service. Depending on the services you employ, your IT management service will be able to ensure your business has the right processes in place in case of a disruption. They’ll also implement regular backups of your data and network.
Working with a specialised IT support provider has several advantages. One important benefit is having a service level agreement. As the name suggests, a service level agreement is a contract between your IT support company and your business. It specifies a particular level of service provided to you.
A service level agreement, also known as an SLA, means your IT support company will be required by contract to provide your business with a specific response and resolution timeframe. As your IT service will be contractually obligated to restore your operations within the predetermined window of time, the BCP and disaster recovery strategy laid out for you is guaranteed to be forward-thinking, effective and efficient.
Outsourcing the management of your BCP can also significantly reduce your overhead costs. Many reputable IT support businesses also provide flexible payment plans, including short-term contracts with no long-term commitment. As a result, even small businesses that almost always have a smaller budget and workforce are still able to outsource the management of their disaster recovery and business continuity plan to a reputable, professional IT support company.
Business continuity and disaster recovery services at Acronyms IT Support.
It’s difficult to find a corporate strategy nowadays that isn’t data-driven in some way or another. From cyber attacks and natural disasters to malfunctions in your IT infrastructure and human error, data loss and disruption can happen at any time. For large and small businesses alike, the inevitability of downtime is always lurking just around the corner.
As the world becomes progressively more digital, any data loss or prolonged downtime can result in a loss of productivity and income, which can have a significant impact on the reputation and profitability of even an established business. As a result, disaster recovery services have become a crucial part of modern business continuity plans. That’s why so many businesses are factoring bespoke disaster recovery strategies into their overall business continuity plan.
Fortunately, the team at Acronyms IT Support are here to help. Since 2003, we’ve been helping large and small businesses alike with their disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Our experienced team of consultants, engineers and technicians offer a vast array of dynamic digital solutions, from disaster recovery services to cyber. Our knowledgeable staff can assess your business and implement the bespoke business continuity plan your organisation needs to flourish and grow.
If you have any questions about implementing a business continuity strategy or would like to speak to us about our managed IT services, contact the team at Acronyms IT Support today.