Technology malfunctions, networks go down and servers fail. These are facts of life. But business must march on! In this article we'll look at what you should be doing to ensure that you don't lose data and can establish and keep Business continuity.
From small business owners failing to backup their work each day, to multimillion dollar companies that don't have a comprehensive disaster recover plan, most businesses are exposed to the problems of business continuity and disaster recovery.
But it doesn't have to be this way, and in this in depth article, I'll be guiding you through what business continuity and disaster recovery are, how they're different, why they are both of critical importance to your business and lastly but definitely not least I'll walk you through 5 things you can do now to start protecting your business.
Let's start at the beginning by defining some terms.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity is the management, oversight and planning involved to make sure that there is a continuous operation of all IT functions in the case of system failures or other emergencies which might compromise functionality.
The overall goal of business continuity is to make sure that the business can continue to run during a disaster. The goal of business continuity is to assure that when a failure or disaster happens, (as they always do) data will still be accessible with little to no lag or buffering time needed for your customers.
Let's look at Netflix as a quick example; Netflix needs data to run various shows and movies to their customers in 192 countries. If a disaster happens to one of their servers or networks, they need to be able to have the service up and running again quickly, so that you the consumer can enjoy your movie and not see a million of those black screens that say, "This particular title is currently unavailable."
Good let's move on…
What is disaster recovery?
Disaster recovery on the other hand is a small but extremely important part of business continuity.
Think about it like this, the goal of business continuity is to keep everything the same no matter what is happening to the server or network. With perfect business continuity, customers don't even notice when there are problems because the customer's service is unaffected. Disaster recover is a process used to keep business continuity by being able to save data in order to be able to recover it in the case of a disaster.
There are many kinds of disasters in IT ranging from the loss of an unimportant set of data to the loss of an entire database or data center. Disaster recovery assists you in being able to recover the data when disaster strikes.
Why is it important to implement business continuity and disaster recovery processes?
Technology disasters happen, they are a part of doing business in the Internet era and you have to account for them.
Not only do you need to have management processes in place to determine what needs to be recovered first to stay in business, but also what your customers need to feel like this is normal, and more.
What happens if you don't do these processes?
If you don't implement business and continuity processes in your business, you are in danger of having your entire database wiped out by a single devastating disaster or freak occurrence!
You don't want to risk that, and I don't want that to happen to you, so I'm going to share with you
5 things you should be doing now for better business continuity and disaster recovery!
- Define Your Key Assets and Operations
- Determine Your Recovery Timeframe
- Define Solutions
- Create a Plan
- Assign roles and responsibility
Let's break down further
Define your key assets and operations. The first step to any sort of business continuity or disaster recovery process is to identify the key assets of your business as well as the processes that keep your business operating. You should have a good idea of the value of the business your protecting as well as the best practices for your particular industry.
Determine Your Recovery Timeframe. Every minute your business is down, is money lost. You need to figure out exactly how much money is being lost so that you can document the costs of assets as well as the cost of not being available to customers. Once you know how much your business being down costs, you can zoom in on the processes which will allow you to get up and running again the fastest. After any unplanned outage, you must know exactly how long it will take you to have your business as close to normal as possible.
Define Solutions. Now that you know both your assets and your timeframes, you can figure out the right solution and approach to continuity and data recovery. There are a variety of different solutions out there from disk backup to data replication. Think of this process, as an equation, your recovery time and assets will determine what solution is best for your business and budget.
Create a plan. Building on our last piece of the puzzle we'll now use our approach and solutions to draft a plan known as a BC/DR plan. This plan will list in detail the key processes, communication procedures, and responsibilities should be managed. The clearer your plan is the easier it will be to enact it in the face of a disaster or critical event.
Assign roles and responsibilities. Business continuity and disaster recovery requires fast acting, which means that everyone must know what his or her roles and responsibilities are. A good BC/DR plan will clearly outline exactly who is responsible for what, the correct communications protocols and the time frame each person has to complete their responsibilities to get the business up and running as close to normal again as quickly as possible.
No matter what your business is, if you need data to run it, you need to make sure you have a competent BC/DR plan in place and that you, and everyone else who works with the business knows the process backwards and forwards.
If you would like to learn more about how a Private Cloud can help your business complete the form to the right or give us a call us on 0800 817 4727