A business continuity plan is exceedingly crucial to the operation of a company as it helps prevent, prepare, and recover from disruptive events such as natural disasters, accidents, and emergencies. Needless to say, a continuity plan is a business’s disaster recovery solution.
According to figures released by the International Data Corp, companies lose as much as $84,000 on average for every hour of downtime. This raises the question of the cost expected to be incurred by a possible threat versus that of implementing a continuity plan. A continuity plan has the potential of minimizing the chances of failure of a business following a threat, and with clearly outlined steps to be followed, is guaranteed to save on costs of returning the company to normalcy. It is therefore cost effective. To prove this, you can compare the proposed cost of creating and maintaining a business continuity program with the Annualized Cost Expectancy (ACE) of the business.
Documentation and Testing:
It goes without saying that a business plan should be documented. The disaster recovery solution should list down trained backup employees and the specific tasks they will take on during emergency. Contingency locations, e.g., where the top executives can meet, and contingency equipment like backups for important company information should be outlined. As much as testing the effectiveness of the disaster recovery solution is bound to interrupt the normal functioning of a business, it is imperative to consider that practicing for emergency situations will not only help in making necessary revisions, but all those involved from top executives to junior employees are more likely to remember the contingency plan, facilitating easy implementation.
Identifying a significant disaster:
As not all companies face the same threats, it is essential to identify specific threats to your business. This is done through the Business Impact Analysis, which identifies a business’s most crucial systems and processes and the effect that downtime would have on the same. Disruptions whose occurrences are ranked as unacceptable are labeled critical, and the RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) assigned for them.
Recovery Time Objective:
The RTO or Recovery Time Objective is the time period through which a business can be out of service without incurring major losses. It is expressed in hours. It is basically the time period during which the business must be reinstated after a threat and includes time used for communication between stakeholders and initiating the disaster recovery solution.
Damage assessment is how well the company is able to mobilize after the disaster. It involves analyzing the extent of the structural damage as well as damage to the company’s processes and equipment. e.g., for a company that identified fire as a critical threat, disaster assessment will include having an engineer survey the company premises after a fire.
Resume Critical Business Processes:
In conclusion, following the laid down plans of a disaster recovery solution, a business should be able to resume critical business processes as soon as possible. Therefore, to make the contingency plan more effective, a company should consider annual or bi-annual testing.
Deney Dentel is the CEO at Nordisk Systems, Inc., a managed and cloud computing service provider company in Portland, OR. Deney is the only localised and authorised IBM business partner in Pacific Northwest. You can also follow him on LinkedIn.