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Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
By Sarah Anderson
If you are a business owner, then you know that part of the success of your business is getting it up and running, generating a certain level of momentum that keeps you moving forward and reaching new goals. You want to see your business on a steady uphill swing, and any interruption of that momentum may take months or even years to recover from. Interruptions can mean unforeseen disasters like fire or water damage.
Water damage can effectively shut down your business for an extended period, resulting in loss of business, revenue, and continued growth. Disaster recovery is the process of getting everything repaired, restored, and back to normal in the wake of a disaster, while business continuity is the concept of having a contingency plan in place to allow your business to keep functioning throughout the aftermath of a disaster. Unlike disaster recovery, business continuity plans seek to prevent, as much as possible, the loss of business or revenue during the time required for restoration.
Why a Business Continuity Plan is Important
Obviously, it is important for any company to have both a disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place, just in case the inevitable happens. Any plan put together should include a method for employees to continue to communicate with each other, where they will go, and how they will best be able to continue performing their duties.
Unfortunately, we also tend to learn by doing, and many companies make mistakes as a result of never having been through an actual disaster. Some of the most common missteps include inadequate backup for documents, files, or operating systems, failure to properly plan and test recovery procedures as opportunity presents, failure to conduct a business impact analysis and addressing all gaps found in the recovery model, failure to set recovery time objectives as it relates to critical systems and applications, and the continuance of operational activities. There is also the failure to provide adequate funding to allow for through testing of any disaster recovery or business continuity plan.
Steps to Take
The good news is that many disaster recovery solutions may be outsourced, such as offsite data storage, mobile phones, and remote workstations. In many cases it is far more cost efficient to do so than purchase extra equipment.
In any business scenario, it is important for the powers that be to be convinced of the necessity for an effective damage recovery/business continuity plan. Various departments may be asked to provide a comprehensive report detailing financial loss over the course of any given day, which may be increased over the number of days required to restore the business operation to 100% capacity. As with most business owners, money usually talks, especially if couched in language detailing just how much stands to be lost in the event of an unexpected disaster.
At the end of the day, disaster recovery/business continuity is basic risk management. It is largely up to the individual company as to how much risk they are willing to take, and the steps they are willing to take to defend themselves against all contingencies.