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A Guide for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

With data being positioned as the new gold, it's vital that your business looks after this commodity. Come rain or shine; you need to be able to conduct business at your best. This article provides a guide to business continuity and disaster recovery.

Business continuity is about ensuring that your business can continue to function and run, no matter what. Closely related to this is the ability to bounce back from any technical setbacks or recovery from natural disasters. With more than one-third of businesses having no incident response plan for a data breach or cyber-attack, is why business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are so important.

A Guide for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

The importance of business continuity is that it ensures downtime is no longer insurmountable. Being offline not only impacts productivity but also means reputational damage amongst your clients and a lack of competitiveness within your sector. There is nothing worse than having competitors think you are no longer a threat because your business is susceptible to disruption.

Why you need a clear business continuity and disaster recovery plan

Without a clear plan as to how your business will move forward after a disaster or cyber-attack, you may find that your business has a stop-start existence. This is one of the clear business risks that must be accounted for and mitigated. Rather than accept being offline for any reason, having a comprehensive BCDR allows any business of any size to reduce the risk of data loss or improve crisis management.

Being a resilient business means being able to return to previous operations having experienced a devastating event or shut down. You can think of it this way, business continuity is the ability to fall over but maintain a high level of productivity. Resilience, however, is the ability to resist falling down in the first place.

Rather than consider continuity and recovery as two separate parts of a larger strategy, thinking about them as a holistic whole provides a greater platform from which to mitigate disaster.

How to set up business continuity and recovery plans

Even if you outsource this entire business function to professionally managed IT services, it is still worth knowing exactly what you should be looking for and how this should work for your business. In fact, it is recommended to outsource to professionals for circumstances like this. However, to keep you in the loop of what they will do, the list below provides a good starting point for continuity and recovery planning.

  • Establish essential functions without which your business cannot function. These will need to be risk assessed and protected.
  • Record, report, and store. All breaches or risks to your data and information must be reported, recorded and the related solution stored and available on the system.
  • Ensure that your data center has the required safety in place. Having LAN passwords, a zero-trust protocol, firewalls, and a backup protocol of the highest standards will all be for naught if the actual data center can be compromised.
  • Test, update and repeat. The best risk avoidance strategies are those that are regularly tested and updated. Risks change, and thus so too must the strategy to deal with them. 

An important part of this plan is also identifying where your weaknesses are and what infrastructure you have to support your business continuity and resilience. If you do not know where the risks are, you will be unsure how to target those risks strategically. Another important element of your BCDR plan is making sure you allocate resources to your plan. Over-investing is a real consideration if you over-estimate your risks, so finding a balance between the level of investment in BCDR and the financial implications of any disaster is key.

Finding the right plan, make sure you bring in the right people to develop and manage that plan, and investing in a good plan will all ensure your business is disaster-ready.

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