Protecting your Organization: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, there are many factors to consider in ensuring your company’s longevity. A simple human error or natural disaster could strike at any given time – bringing your business to a halt. To ensure survival in instances like these, implementing a well-structured business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) response plan is essential.

Recovery after a disaster needs to happen quickly, or the consequences can be too great to overcome. According to FEMA, 9 out of 10 small companies that endure a disaster fail within the following year if they cannot restore operations within five days of the catastrophe. To avoid worrying about your company being one of them, you can take the steps necessary to create a comprehensive BCDR plan. 

Business Continuity v Disaster Recovery

Although business continuity planning and disaster recovery have different meanings, the two terms work best when developed simultaneously. Effective business continuity plans limit operational downtime, whereas strong disaster recovery plans limit abnormal or inefficient system function. Instead of reacting to a calamity, both disciplines take a preemptive approach – aiming to minimize the effects of a catastrophe before it’s too late.

BCDR Planning 

Team – A dedicated team to put into action immediately will be effective in saving you time and money

Business Impact Analysis (BIA) – An in-depth understanding of your business and the cost implications of threats is essential. Factors to consider include lost sales and income, increased expenses, regulatory fines, and new business plan delays.

Resource Planning – This type of planning refers to the identification of key resources, including staff that play a role in response to an event.

A Deeper Look into Disaster Recovery

As self-explanatory as the term may sound, disaster recovery plans contain many layers that businesses must consider. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity (BC) – focused mainly on the IT systems required for a successful recovery. 

The following steps should be included in an organization’s disaster recovery plan to guarantee business continuity: 

Know Your Threats - Understand the history of your business, your industry and the region, and map out threats you‘re most likely to face. These may include natural disasters or internet connectivity issues.

Recognize Your Assets - Familiarize yourself with network equipment, workstations, software, cloud services, mobile devices, and more.

Define your RTO - Recovery Time Objective (RTO) refers to the period of downtime your organization can sustain. Obtaining technological means can help bring operations back online within the RTO. 

Understand Your RPO - Recovery Point Objective (RPO) refers to the maximum age of files an organization must recover from backup storage to resume normal operations post-disaster. Organizations use RPO to determine the frequency of backups required.

Test Backups and Restoration of Services - Just like systems can crash in a disaster can too. It is critical to test your organization’s ability to restore data back to your production site – once you set up your plan and then periodically.

Single Point of Failure (SPOF)

There are many risk factors that businesses overlook – until it’s too late. A single point of failure (SPOF) is a person, facility, piece of equipment, application, or another resource for which there is no redundancy in place. If such a resource goes down, any system or process of which it is an essential part will come to halt.

 A few examples of common SPOFs include:

· Single pieces of equipment, such as network devices or servers which may impact one or more applications or processing functions

· Expensive pieces of equipment where only one is needed for processing, such as a custom stamping machine

· Manufacturing locations for specific products which cannot be made elsewhere

· An individual with special knowledge or the only person performing a process

Such situations pose obvious problems from the point of view of business continuity. If a crucial resource goes down, so does your operation (or at least that area that is dependent on the resource).

Ensuring Business Continuity

An extended outage poses financial, personal, and reputational risks for your company. Business continuity and disaster recovery enable your organization to maintain resiliency by responding quickly to an interruption.

You may not be able to control a natural disaster – but you can protect your business by ensuring a comprehensive BCDR plan is in place. Although we at Riverstrong can't protect your organization from every threat, we can help you weather the most brutal external storms. To learn about how we can keep your business intact, get in touch with us today!


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