You need to be sure that your business is prepared for disaster, which will necessitate a disaster recovery plan. While there are many steps that go into creating one, we wanted to highlight a few in particular and outline a few best practices to follow for each. Here are three of the most vital elements of a successful business continuity strategy, with a few tips to help you fulfill them most effectively.
In order to ensure your business’ continuity in the face of disaster, you first need to be prepared to deal with the specific disaster that is threatening it. This means that part of your disaster recovery planning needs to be devoted to evaluating which of all the potential threats out there are most apt to impact your business. After all, while it isn’t technically impossible, a business located in the middle of a desert probably won’t experience a severe flood, so devoting more of your business continuity resources to mitigating other issues is a wiser investment.
We aren’t saying that you should create a plan just in case a stray piece of asteroid falls to Earth and damages your business’ transformer specifically, but having a strategy that accounts for the possibility of physical damage to your business and a power loss event could help protect you from other circumstances as well.
Regardless of the size of a given risk, your plan needs to sufficiently cover the fallout it would cause by outlining the process needed to mitigate it.
When it comes to any kind of business disaster, there are a few pieces of data you’ll need to identify in terms of your business. Knowing which of your systems are the most crucial will be handy if you ever need to prioritize attending to one over attending to another—a real potential in a disaster situation.
This means you need to identify your different systems’ maximum tolerable downtime, or MTD. Basically, how long can you go without that system before permanent damage is done to your business? This not only gives you an estimation of how long you have to act, but also helps you gauge which of these systems is most essential to your continued operations. Going further, your MTD can also help inform your RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective) so you can better craft your defenses, knowing how often a backup should be taken and how long it will take before that backup could be implemented if need be.
No one person should be solely responsible for enacting your disaster recovery plan—what happens if that person isn’t available during a disaster, or worse, was taken out of commission by the disaster event itself? On top of that, there’s just going to be a lot to do, so many hands make light work.
This is why you need a hierarchy of people who are responsible for different parts of the plan under different circumstances—you’ll be far less likely to be left without a key person to enact your disaster recovery strategy if need be. These processes should all be written out as well, so there’s a copy to reference in case the people responsible for a given process are unavailable and others need to pick up where they left off.
Once your business continuity plan is mapped out, you should simulate a business disaster event to see if it holds up when put into action. This gives you the opportunity to identify any points of failure and resolve them before you’re caught in an uncomfortable situation. Furthermore, your plan should be updated whenever there are any changes within your organization to ensure nothing fell through the cracks during the transition.
Horne & Benik is here to help you put a few choice solutions in place to better ensure your business’ continuity, from the means for your team to work remotely to the protections your data will need. Give us a call at (603) 499-4400 to learn more.
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