By Ntiva Editorial Team on Sep 4, 2017

Disasters in the News: The Importance of Business Continuity!

Unfortunately, it often takes media-worthy incidents such as major hurricanes, floods and fires to convince businesses that in today's world, they absolutely need a robust business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) program in place.

Ask yourself these questions  - and note the answers to these questions should be updated on a regular basis to measure your BC/DR preparedness.

  • What would you do differently today if you knew your primary production data center was going to experience an outage tomorrow?
  • How are you protecting your most critical applications?
  • Are there documented processes and procedures for mitigating human error?
  • How do you know the plans are precisely followed?

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan and Program

Did you notice we said BC/DR program and not plan?

We aren’t just using the words interchangeably; there is a real difference. A plan is your action guide for when disaster strikes. It is a documented set of tasks and procedures that should be followed when a disruption event occurs or is detected in the pipeline.

On the other hand, a program involves the management oversight, risk management functions, and documentation of the actual BC/DR plan. In other words, it is planning and management of your plan and management.

Does that make your head spin a little?

4 Pillars of Success for Business Continuity

Maybe it seems a little excessive, but if the CIO isn’t thinking about the data center on a daily basis, is he/she thinking about the BC/DR plan?

Probably not, and that’s why there needs to be oversight to ensure that the plan is kept up to date.

To ensure the success of the BC/DR plan, consider these four pillars of success for the program:

Management Buy-In

Imagine your IT department sitting around a conference room for the weekly check-in meeting. Next on the agenda: a continuity audit. Who will be raising their hand to volunteer to lead that task? You might find a lot of side glances until someone finally gives in and adds it to the to-do list. For a successful program this needs to happen differently. Management buy-in and funding will be essential to ensuring that the program is always at its best.

Senior leaders must display to the IT department that continuity is not a checkmark on a list, but a strategy that ensures the overall success of the company. It is not one and done, but something that they will invest in continually.

Accountability

Transparency and attaching monetary rewards are great ways to keep people accountable. If the team or person responsible for continuity planning is required to provide status reports up the ladder on a regular basis, they are more likely to ensure the plan is up to date. That way no one can hide that they haven’t completed an audit or documentation on BC/DR.

To go one step further, bonuses can be directly tied to the program by outlining responsibilities in job descriptions and performance evaluations.

Prioritization Based on Business Impact

When it comes to business operations, nothing is created equal. Continuity planning should be impact driven, meaning resources should be allocated based on the degree of business interruption in the event of a disaster. Budgets and resources aren’t unlimited, so be sure to place more attention on what poses a greater risk and divvy up the remaining money, planning, and time.

Continuity

Your BC/DR plan wasn’t made in a crockpot. Don’t ever set it and forget it.  The most important part of a BC/DR program is to have one. That way there are continuous efforts to ensure the plan is current and will actually do what it is supposed to in the event of a disaster or outage.

Regular reviews and updates are fundamental in keeping the business running when suboptimal situations arise.

Don’t Wait for the Next Cautionary Tale

Don't wait to hear of yet another major cyber security breach or a natural disaster before you get your BC/DR in place.

At Ntiva we help our clients reach their business continuity goals by focusing not only on restoring operations quickly, but also preventing outages from the start.

 

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