When disasters occur, many businesses are brought to a standstill, while others recover in no time. You might wonder and ask – “What did the latter do differently?”. Well, unlike the former, the latter business had Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plans towards their rainy days.
Many businesses focus solely on ensuring that they have backups of their vital files and documents. When this is done, they feel assured and unbothered about the safety of their businesses. While this is good, being unprepared for sudden disasters could be catastrophic.
We live in a world where people have zero-tolerance for business downtimes. If a business is unprepared for sudden disruptions, there could be severe consequences.
Minor interruptions like power outages in a community or disasters like floods could cause serious problems for many businesses. Therefore, BCDR planning is vital in every organization. A BCDR plan ensures the smooth running of a company’s operations as soon as possible, even after a sudden interruption.
The term – BCDR was coined from “Business Continuity” and “Disaster Recovery.” Even though the terms are complementary, they have different meanings.
The Business Continuity (BC) aspect of BCDR refers to the plans and responses of an organization to a sudden disaster. This includes the processes carried out before, during, and after the incident to ensure the regular running of the company. Business continuity also involves all aspects of the organization – the staff, buildings, business partners, etc.
Unlike Business Continuity (BC), Disaster Recovery (DR) is rather a reactive than proactive process. It refers to the responses of an organization in restoring the IT systems and applications after a disaster. A Disaster Recovery plan is focused on ensuring that the IT operations continue in a short while to avoid data loss and downtime.
The importance of BCDR in an organization cannot be overemphasized. Similar to how people get insurance for their properties, the BCDR plan serves as a means to insure your company. It prevents unnecessary downtime thereby, making your services always available to your customers. Also, it provides security to your staff, as well as causes an increase in your revenue.
Below are other reasons why your company should have a BCDR plan.
- Financial Security: No doubt, any business put to a standstill for several months will suffer substantial financial losses. A BCDR strategy is essential to combat this. Planning for a crisis will lessen your network downtime and allow you to resume normal operations quickly.
- Preparation For Emergencies: BCDR plan helps to prepare businesses for unplanned incidents. In cases of severe disasters, a company without a proper strategy might never recover. Thus, it would be best to always have a BCDR plan to keep your business prepared.
- Data Security: Imagine how devastating it will be to lose sensitive data about your business to a cyber-attack. That is what happens when you have no BCDR strategy for your business. A BCDR plan ensures that your data is backed up safely as many times as possible. This guarantees your data’s security in case of an outage or breach of cybersecurity.
When you are planning a BCDR strategy, there are several factors to consider. First, you need to evaluate your business operations and identify the critical ones. These critical operations are those essential for the running of your business.
Then, you should try to determine the potential issues that can disrupt those operations. The problems could be natural disasters, power outage, cyber-attacks, hardware failure, etc. Rank these crises based on how much havoc they can cause your business. After that, you can start preparing a BCDR plan.
Below are seven significant steps on how to execute a successful BCDR plan in your business.
- Set up a BCDR Team: This team will be responsible for executing your plans in case of a disaster. They will also inform and educate the other organization members on how to respond in such situations.
- Assign duties to staff: After setting up a team, you should assign responsibilities to all the members. These duties should be stated in the disaster recovery documentation and made accessible to other staff. If there are any reviews of the duties, they should be updated in the document as well.
The staff should also be able to identify each member of the BCDR team and how to reach them in an emergency.
- Carry out a Business Impact Analysis (BIA): A BIA helps to determine your potential financial losses if your primary business operations are brought to a halt. It also allows you to identify the essential processes in your business. That way, you can prioritize their recovery should any disaster occur.
- Draw out a Plan: Your plan should include detailed and clearly stated business continuity and disaster recovery steps. It should also contain your external contacts and their services you might require.
Additionally, you should include a means to disseminate information to the employees in case of an emergency in the document. This could be via a text or an email.
- Testing: The testing stage allows the employees to be familiar with the plan and test its effectiveness. The process can be as basic as reviewing the steps among the employees. Or it could be by executing it in reality to identify areas that needed to be improved. This process should also be done often. Most businesses underestimate the importance of BCDR testing. This is required to allow for continuous improvement on previous BC and DR plans.
- Execute the Plan: When a crisis arises, execute your plan accordingly. That way, you can ensure that your business continues its normal operations.
- Update and Review the Plan: Periodically, you should evaluate and update your BCDR strategy. Look out for loopholes in your plan that can interrupt your business activities. After an execution, determine the success of your plan and find ways to make it better.