Business Continuity: Preparing for the Worst
Accidents happen; businesses face issues, disruptions, and downtime that can be detrimental to the success of their daily operations. Business continuity is about preparing your company for the worst, making sure you’re up and running and ready to avoid these disasters. It’s a challenge to provide a simple clear-cut definition of business continuity, as it’s dependent upon the nature of your industry and exactly what sort of solutions you need to continue your business’ operations; so, it’s not always just data backup. Let’s start with the misconceptions, exploring what it isn’t, to understand what it is.
First is a misconception about the causes of the disasters themselves. Most businesses remain under the impression that disasters happen only because of things like negligence. People believe that their servers crash, or their Internet went down, and that’s all that can happen, when in fact, in this day and age the biggest risk to companies are actually by cyber-attacks—making cybersecurity an essential part of many business continuity plans. It’s been happening to enterprises for some time, and it’s now going down the funnel to SMBs who don’t have the resources in place for protection or simply aren’t prepared. Every year there are massive cyber-attacks, extorting valuable information from massive organizations. The list isn’t short, think about companies like Google, Yahoo!, Sony, and Adobe and the costs that these attacks can incur.
After coming to an understanding of the causes of disasters that businesses are facing today, we can approach what business continuity really is and what it can do to help. This clarifies the following misconception, that business continuity and disaster recovery are essentially the same thing. This leads to the idea that business continuity is simply a data backup option, having your data and information stored in case of any server crashes; When, in reality, data backup is actually a solution for disaster recovery.
While disaster recovery goes hand-in-hand with business continuity, it’s only a component to a grand plan that keeps your business safe and secure. While disaster recovery is being prepared to recuperate after something negative happens your company, business continuity seeks to avoid these issues altogether. So, remember, disaster recovery IS NOT business continuity, it’s a part of it. Both, hand-in-hand, should be the aim for any organization.
A range of solutions are possible, from onsite or online cloud data backup, to colocation, to failovers and high-availability Internet, and it’s often a challenge to understand what your organization really needs without understanding all of the potential risks in place, and most businesses don’t realize until they’re actually hit with a disaster. My recommendation is to research some like-company past disasters and weigh the opportunity costs against potential risk.