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How to Maintain Business Continuity After A Disaster Strikes

Disaster Concept

June 12, 2018 Posted by in Business Continuity

The secret to maintaining business continuity after a disaster strikes is in being fully prepared with a robust business continuity plan long before disruption occurs.

To do this, you must consider the following six steps when researching for and preparing your business continuity plan.

1. Understand The Threat Landscape

Winter storms, ransomware viruses and fires are only some of many real threats for which all businesses should proactively prepare. Your IT department needs a full understanding of all of the threats likely to hit your building, communications room or servers in order to help prepare for the worst. This can be done by assessing risks based on the location and accessibility of your data centres, as well as any malicious attacks that could occur.

When planning to mitigate a disaster, treat every incident as unique – a local fire may affect one machine, whereas human error may lead to the deletion of entire servers.

2. Set Goals For Recovery

While some companies assume they are protected in the wake of a disaster if they duplicate their data, many learn the hard way that their backup stopped functioning during a disaster or their data is inaccessible afterwards. The IT team needs to define criteria for Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), or how long your business can continue to run without access to your data, and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), which is the maximum age of data that will still be useful to back up. The IT team will also need to identify critical systems and prioritize recovery tasks.

3. Determine The Level of Support Necessary To Achieve These Goals

Employees can cost you thousands of dollars in downtime by losing critical data at the press of a few buttons, whether they do so intentionally or not. Determine the most appropriate recovery procedure for your business, whether that’s a file restore solution, local virtualization, off-site virtualization or partnering with a cloud provider for backup.

4. Don’t Ignore The Benefits of Cloud economics When Considering Your BC Strategy

If you don’t want to build out a separate physical data protection site, then consider partnering with a cloud provider who can offer the best support possible for your IT department’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery strategy, given their geographical location, performance capabilities and support offerings. Some look to focus on backup and data protection by offering a purpose-built cloud. This is something to consider should these be among your goals for recovery.

5. Create The Best Approach To Secure Apps

Some of your business’ most critical data likely lives across a mix of hardware and software, or in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. For example, you might use Salesforce for CRM. Using apps like Salesforce might seem effortless, but they actually pose huge risks for your data. Reducing the risk of data loss by ensuring your apps are protected is essential, especially if another disastrous winter storm occurs any time soon.

6. Continuously Assess Your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Strategy

Combating data loss and downtime is easier with a comprehensive strategy that should be tested frequently, as you prepare for likely scenarios. Critical questions to ask are: Which weather-related incidents are common in your area? Which projects do you consider a priority should downtime occur? While you can’t always predict what’s going to happen, you can prepare for the probabilities. By assessing these potential problems, you can help your team choose the best backup strategy.

Planning for disasters – weather-related or otherwise – is simple once you assess your risk landscape and goals for disaster recovery.

Through careful planning and an understanding of the worst-case scenarios, you can disseminate a comprehensive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery strategy across your organisation, continually evolving as you learn from mistakes.

After a disaster has stuck your business you should be able to regain normal functionality if you have followed the steps outlined in this blog post.

By storing your data and pertinent applications on a cloud-based network, a business can leverage the power of multiple servers in different locations. Barring a country wide emergency (or a series of small emergencies that hit every single server location), your business web presence will remain unhindered. Not only will you still have a functioning web site, your employees will be able to log in from any computer that has internet access.

By sourcing and utilizing the best emergency notification software provider for your particular business, you are investing in the secure future for your infrastructure and employees.

Disasters are often unexpected and how well a company deals with post-disaster recovery is pivotal to its survival. According to estimates by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25% of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster.

The type and severity of the disaster deeply influences what your business needs to do to maintain its continuity. Optimally, you would like to cause little disruption or inconvenience to clients and customers.

Business Continuity Plans explain in detail how employees will communicate with one another and keep doing their jobs in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Your business’s continuity and disaster recovery plan needs to inform employees of the proper evacuation routes and emergency phone numbers, as well as what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. After you have drawn up a solid plan, it is important to review it with everyone involved on a regular basis and to update it as necessary.

Try, try, and try again. The cliché ‘Practice makes perfect’ is often overlooked, but in preparation for a potential business disaster, you need to ensure that all of your staff, management, and stakeholders know their roles and how to implement them in order to face disaster and resume operations with as little hinderance as possible.

Many of our clients use RedFlag to prepare their staff and stakeholders for any form of natural or man-made disaster. Shouldn’t you?

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