Business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) is another popular topic always in the news. There are more horror stories out than you can count; but, the key is to realize the importance of planning and begin preparing your business. BC/DR covers disruptions from Internet service outages, natural disasters and data loss. That is why BC/DR is a best practice to help ensure the stability of your business. This article addresses the basics of defining BC/DR, overview of planning and testing.
What is Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery?
According to the Business Continuity Institute, business continuity (BC) is defined as: “the strategic and tactical capability of the organization to plan for and respond to incidents and business disruptions in order to continue business operations at an acceptable predefined level.” Disaster recovery (DR) is defined as: “the strategies and plans for recovering and restoring the organization’s technological infrastructure and capabilities after a serious interruption.” In summary, BC is considered a business function, whereas, DR is a technology function. However, it is important that BC & DR are linked to ensure all critical areas are covered. Communication is vital to BC/DR.
Business Continuity Plan Overview
It is important to understand the scope and resources when developing a plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides a number of resources for BC/DR. FEMA developed a list of four steps for BC planning: (1) business impact analysis, (2) recovery strategies, (3) plan development and (4) testing and exercises (see Figure 1 on PG 2). Businesses must understand and document all of the processes as a part of business continuity. This includes items such as: how is business conducted, key stakeholders, communication, ability to locate resources, etc. Business continuity goes beyond the technical aspects which are incorporated in DR.
Disaster Recovery Plan Overview
Disaster recovery focuses on re-establishing connectivity for the technology infrastructure. DR is different than business continuity, but is a very important because technology is the tool that facilitates communication for businesses. Part of the DR plan is to identify the vital technology systems and software for conducting business. According to FEMA, “priorities for IT recovery should be consistent with the priorities for recovery of business functions and processes that were developed during the business impact analysis.”
Why is BC/DR Important?
It is important to develop and test BC/DR plans so that your business is prepared. All businesses are susceptible to an outage. Here are two examples of major companies experiencing an outage. The Apple App Store experienced an outage in March 2015 of eleven hours which resulted in an estimated $25 million dollars in lost revenue. A cash register outage resulted in millions of dollars in lost revenue for Starbucks in April 2015.
BC/DR can be conducted internally or externally. It is recommended that businesses at least consult with an expert on their BC/DR plan; however, the most important thing is that you develop and implement a BC/DR plan. There is a quotation by Benjamin Franklin that provides a great summary on the importance of planning: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”