Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Fundamentals

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning is about making sure your company can quickly become  operational after a systems failure, natural disaster or other interruption.  A holistic approach is required to get your doors open and employees productive.  According to recent InformationWeek research, IT professionals polled about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are most concerned about protecting databases (68%), followed by email (45%), accounting data (39%) and network services (36%).

It is important to separate basic data protection from business continuity planning.  Most companies have some type of backup in place to provide basic data protection.  When data is lost in an isolated situation, such as a hard drive failure, virus infection, or a lost device, your local or online backup provides a reactive way to rapidly restore your data.  Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery provides a proactive plan to pragmatically reduce the risks of a disaster recovery scenario.  Here are some important considerations:

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Risk Assessment

Start by gaining an understanding of your environmental risks and exposure.  For example, the geographic area your business is located in,  may make you more prone to flooding, hurricane, earthquakes or fire.  These variables may raise your risks.  However, if you are adjacent to a hospital or fire department, you may have a lower risk of losing power during a disaster.

Tailor your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan to Your Company’s Needs

Evaluate your core systems to determine what applications and data you need to operate.  Basic services such as phone, email or order processing may put your business at risk even with the a brief outage.  If you are a manufacturing or retail business,  you may need to focus on supply chain integrity.  If you are in a highly regulated industry such as: finance, healthcare or government, you may need to focus on data recovery issues to ensure uninterrupted service.

Keep your IT Infrastructure Up to Date

Outdated and unreliable underlying technologies may not be compatible with the concept of IT readiness.  Older systems may be more vulnerable (e.g. malware attacks), less resilient (e.g. surviving a power surge) and make it a larger challenge to recover systems in the event of a disaster.  Keeping your IT infrastructure up to date and compatible with the latest compliance patches and operating systems will make it easier to bring new systems on line in the event of a disaster recovery scenario.

It is fundamental to your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan to understand your risks, tailor your plans to meet your needs and make sure your infrastructure is up to date and supported.  If you have questions about your risks and exposure contact your IT Service professional to review your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans.