Nearly 18,000 small businesses were shut down or destroyed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. No one could’ve expected the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Harvey. Even though you expect the best for your business, you need an IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan to prepare for the worst.
Most modern companies depend on their IT infrastructure to operate. That includes their website, software, project data, means of communication, and more. An IT disaster may be an accident, act of nature, or cyber attack that puts these aspects of your business at risk. If not prepared for, these disasters can destroy your entire business.
You must have a plan for IT disaster recovery to protect the data of your customers and employees. If you don’t, you could even find yourself in hot water legally. If a hack results in the theft of data you were responsible to protect, or an IT disaster prevents you from meeting contractual obligations to vendors or clients, you could also be liable and face unnecessary lawsuits from breach of contract.
What is Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity?
So, what do we mean by disaster recovery vs business continuity? Disaster recovery is an integral part of your business continuity plan, but they are not the same thing.
The IT disaster recovery plan stipulates how a company will prepare for a crisis, what the company’s response will be in the event of a disaster and what steps it will take to ensure IT infrastructure is restored.
Disasters can include cyber attacks, natural disasters, equipment theft, power outages, or terrorist attacks.
These disasters may damage your hardware, software, or data. Every second these attacks take your business offline is costing you money, and may even be losing you customers.
Aspects of a Disaster Recovery Plan
Assess Your Risks
Have your team assess everything that could go wrong physically based on your location. It’s also necessary to constantly monitor your IT infrastructure for vulnerabilities to cybercriminals. It’s important to stay compliant with industry regulations and it helps prevent data breaches that could ruin your reputation and your bottom line.
Assess Tolerance for Downtime and Data Loss
How long can you afford to be inoperative before your business is in jeopardy? Your team must determine how much you can spend to get up and running again in a timely manner. If you don’t know where to begin with your assessment, you can work with a managed IT Partner like NIC.
Designate an Employee Recovery Team
It’s important that everyone knows their role before disaster strikes. Have ongoing discussions with your employees or your managed IT partner to ensure all plans are up to date and there is no confusion about where responsibility lies when it’s time to recover.
Backup Your Data
Data loss can be devastating to your business. Implement an IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan that includes backing up your data in multiple locations. Ideally, these would be locations on separate power grids.
A business continuity plan outlines what steps a company must take to minimize service interruption. It is critical to keep your customers happy and maintain market share. One typical example of business continuity would be redundant servers used to host your website or store important data. But that’s just the beginning. An ideal IT continuity solution not only minimizes data loss, but includes failover systems that kick in when your main system is compromised.
Weighing the Costs of Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity
When designing your disaster recovery and business continuity plan, you must prioritize different business processes and assign resources only to the most critical systems. Otherwise, it could get very costly. This requires insight into the business priorities of every department.
You also have to consider operations like payroll processing & client billing. As scope grows, so does the complexity and cost of maintaining high availability for these systems. And that cost has to be divided between disaster recovery vs business continuity.
Many companies now use cloud based applications because of the resiliency and ability to continue operating in the event that the primary company data center should go offline. Cloud backup solutions are particularly effective at protecting and quickly restoring lost data.
Who Should Do the Planning?
Preparing for a disaster can be very complex and requires a strategic approach. Even though IT is usually in charge of implementing the business continuity and disaster recovery plan, the actual planning process should not be placed solely on the shoulders of the IT Department. Without proper insight into the business processes of each department, it will be impossible for IT or anyone else in the company to adequately prepare and budget for a disaster.
It’s a mistake to assume that business continuity vs disaster recovery should be strictly approached from a technological point of view. Disaster planning is a business problem that affects everyone in the company, from the CEO to customer service. A plan must be developed and implemented with top-down support across all organizational departments. Without this insight and cross-departmental participation, it will be impossible to put together a proper plan.
Putting a Plan in Place
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning help to ensure that all of the most essential business functions will remain available after a disaster until the disaster recovery process can be completed. This will minimize the short-term negative impact of the event on the company’s employees and its customers.
If your company would like help with IT disaster recovery vs business continuity, contact NIC for a consultation on cost-effective business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for companies of all sizes.