Before creating a good business continuity plan, let’s outline the business continuity types, which must be considered when compiling a business continuity plan. The one thing you should really know, which your IT service provider may not clearly define, is that most backup & disaster recovery solutions are simply that – backup & disaster recovery. Though most backup and disaster recovery solutions have their flaws, we will not be discussing that in this article.
It is probably safe to assume that you have a backup and disaster recovery solution in place. That is a great start, but have you thought about the business continuity plan of the equation? Let’s say for instance you have one server which provides your users with access to files and application(s) on the network. If this server is down due to a hardware failure, and your backup and disaster recovery solution comes through for you, your users on the network will continue to work and access to these files and applications as before the failure. This confirms that your core disaster recovery plan is in place. It should always be tested on a regular basis by your IT provider to ensure its reliability over time.
Now, let’s talk about the other possibilities of failures where you will see how a business continuity plan is really different than disaster recovery. As with most companies, you probably have one or more users that really play a key role in your company. What would happen in the case their computer hardware failed? It is unlikely that you have a spare PC, but even if you do, it takes time to configure it for the user, migrate (or restore) their data, install the required applications, and get it ready for the user to get back to work as before. During this downtime, the business is suffering and many business functions may be delayed, not to mention the financial and physical burden on the business. Your backup and disaster recovery solution is unlikely to help you in this case, because the user is not a server, but the business role may be just as important.
Another scenario would be if your company’s location suffers from physical damage by flood, fire, or any other natural or artificial disaster. Again, for the sake of this example, we will assume your backup and disaster recovery is also replicating to the cloud where you can recover your server(s) and expose them to the web. Once these servers have been restored, how will your users access the data on these servers? We have to assume that the location is inaccessible and whether the users are at home, a hotel, or in a temporary location - configuring their computers to get them to a working order will be a challenge and may amount to days or weeks of downtime. We are still only discussing the data part of the business continuity plan, but wow will your users communicate with your customers, vendors, and each other? What will be the physical and financial burden of the business in these cases? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Though this is not a situation of data loss, being down for days or weeks can be catastrophic to the survivability of your business.
Your business data is nothing to mess with - that is why a bullet-proof business continuity plan is necessary. At QWERTY Concepts, we understand the importance of up-time, and the burden downtime has on the business. With this in mind, our internal R&D department has spent years developing, testing, and improving our backup & disaster recovery solutions, cloud disaster recovery solutions, business continuity plans, and cloud computing solutions. With 75% of all businesses in the US being small businesses – QWERTY Concepts focuses on building enterprise-level technology solutions to cater to the majority of America’s businesses.