Establishing risk management processes is key to effective disaster recovery.
At its core, business continuity is there to ensure that your essential functions stay up and running in the event of a disaster, such as a data breach. Effective business continuity plans are there to help businesses recover from a disaster with as little downtime and collateral damage as possible.
From natural disasters and external threats to cybersecurity incidents and health-related closures – the latter of which we’re now all-too-familiar with – business continuity looks at all possibilities to ensure that your critical services remain intact.
Business continuity requires work on your organization’s part: from assessing your most important functions to allocating your budget accordingly, but the benefits far outweigh the effort.
Why do you need business continuity?
As any business owner will know, today’s consumers expect top of the line service, and they want it yesterday. Most of us will know from experience how frustrating it can be when downtime occurs, whether it’s a social media platform like Instagram or your phone network provider. And in an age when downtime is unacceptable, business continuity is invaluable.
Business continuity involves taking a good hard look at your organisation and analysing any potential areas of weakness. By gathering key information, organisations can improve their technology, communication and resilience, addressing factors which would otherwise have fallen by the wayside.
With a plan in place, businesses can run to at least minimal level even in the thick of a crisis. It helps you respond quickly and effectively when faced with an interruption, ultimately saving you time, money and reputation.
Business continuity vs. disaster recovery
It’s easy to confuse business continuity with disaster recovery. After all, both deal in the matter of ensuring your business stays viable should an incident occur. What’s more, both kinds of plan specify an organisation’s planned strategies for operation after a system failure.
However, the two terms are not interchangeable. In fact, disaster recovery planning is simply a subset of business continuity planning.
Disaster recovery involves looking at your business data, focussing on how to store data in a way that can be more easily and efficiently accessed in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Meanwhile, business continuity also takes this into account, but looks further. Business continuity looks at factors such as risk management, potential oversights and necessary planning – all of which are key to helping your business stay operational long after the disruption has been caused.
A solid business continuity plan should contain three key factors
Any business continuity plan worth its salt must design infrastructures and critical functions with a multitude of possible disasters in mind. From data redundancy to staffing rotations, effective business continuity planning works to boost the resilience of an organisation, should a threat arise.
Building resilience against various scenarios helps organisations to maintain a set level of service in any situation, even when on location or off site.
It’s not enough to build defences against threats. Business continuity must also establish ways to recover from an incident should disaster strike. This involves identifying how to restore business functions quickly, creating time objectives for different systems, applications and networks. Organisations should prioritise what needs to be recovered first, creating resource inventories and establishing third-party agreements to make the process as smooth as possible.
When creating a business continuity plan, you have to assume that things won’t go smoothly. A contingency plan is there to address a variety of potential external scenarios that can include a clear chain of command. This lets everyone know what their responsibilities are in the wake of an incident, be it hardware replacement, leasing new office space, assessing damage or reaching out to clients.
Putting in the time and effort now to plot out an effective business continuity plan will help to protect and secure your business in the long run, providing you with peace of mind.
This article was provided by the experts at Security Risk Management. To find out more, visit www.srm-solutions.com.