Fuel your business with the right continuity and disaster recovery plan
Disaster recovery is a hot topic across all industries as it impacts business continuity. Organizations with operations offices located in areas prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes (Louisiana and Florida), wildfires (California) and others need a policy on getting back to business when impacted by an event.
Business continuity and disaster recovery are related but are not the same. These business aspects employ different strategies and have to be implemented at different stages, depending on the event that has affected operations.
Let’s define business continuity and disaster recovery, and how they are different.
Governments and regulators have partnered to make business continuity a primary requirement in all industries. Organizations have also come on board as they recognize the effects that disruptive events can have on their operations and society.
Today, various government agencies and industry regulators have incorporated business continuity in their compliance management programs. A good example is the Payment Card Security Standards Council, which requires businesses to have a continuity plan in case of cyber attacks on their websites through its PCI Compliance guidelines,
A business continuity plan (BCM) must be incorporated in an organization’s business continuity management (BCM) program. The plan should include comprehensive actions on maintaining or resuming business operations in the event of cyber attacks or natural disaster.
Business continuity primarily focusses on risk management strategies that will ensure the continuation of operations in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. The strategies can include emergency information technology administrative rights, data backup, and establishing emergency office locations.
Disaster recovery refers to the actions to be undertaken to get the business "back to usual" at the end of a disaster. The strategies implemented in a disaster recovery program will get your business operations back to normal in the event of a disaster.
A disaster recovery plan will help your business transition back from alternative processes to the regular processes after a disaster.
The major difference between business continuity and disaster recovery is evident when the two plans are implemented. Implementing a business continuity plan is meant to keep your operations functioning during and immediately after a disaster. On the other hand, a disaster recovery plan will help you to get the business back operational after a disaster has already happened.
Both disaster handling plans come in action when your business has been affected by a disaster. While the two disaster management strategies are similar in some ways, they are distinctly different.
For instance, if a fire destroys your office building, you can allow your employees to work from home. This is a business continuity strategy that allows your business to continue operations in spite of the fire disaster. However, the remote working solution will not get your business operations back to normal.
To get your employees back to the office, you will need to implement a disaster recovery plan. The plan may involve replacing things damaged by the fires, for example, communication gadgets, office furniture, etc.
Business continuity risks can be easy or difficult to identify depending on their nature. For example, you can easily identify natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes than cyber events. If your business’ premises are located in an area that is prone to natural disasters, you can effectively plan for interruptions that may result.
IT business continuity risks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks are harder to plan for. A DDOS attack happens when a malicious third-party sends hundreds or thousands of bots to your server, which make it start responding intermittently slowly. As a result, your web applications or website can be inaccessible to your customers due to your server been overwhelmed.
Such IT risks are not easy to anticipate and, therefore, difficult to plan for.
Understanding your current IT infrastructure is critical to identifying the business continuity risks that your organization faces. Asking the following questions will help you to identify IT business continuity risks:
There should be open and efficient communication across your organization for effective business continuity and disaster recovery planning; this is especially important for businesses in the healthcare industry.
You can use business continuity software workflows to create an overarching program that will address incident response handling and recovery process. With some solutions, you can assign tasks to different parties across the organization, which is helpful in streamlining your risk management process.