66% of small businesses would shut down if they experienced a data breach, according to the TechRepublic. As we rely more on technology to store and process our data, we need to have a backup plan to protect our businesses against threats. Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) are closely related practices and techniques that organizations use to recover from a disaster and resume operations.
The objective of the plan is to ensure the company limits any risk and restore its core functions quickly after an interruption. A disaster recovery plan shouldn't be taken as insurance for events that will likely never happen. Instead, consider it your organization's lifeline for continuity of operations. Below are five best practices for business continuity and disaster recovery.
Meaning of a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan
To ensure your organization has the capabilities needed to tackle threats and disasters, you need a plan. This is where business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) comes in. These two terms are related and connected, but they don’t mean the same thing. Business continuity is defined as the strategic and tactical capabilities of an organization to plan for and respond to disruptions that may affect the business and ensure mission-critical functions continue at an acceptable level after a disaster.
On the other hand, disaster recovery involves the policies, processes, and specific steps an organization must take to recover and access vital operations after an outage. It is mainly focused on recovering data, technology, systems, and infrastructure after an incident occurs. To protect your company, both plans have to be implemented and put to work together. In case you want to secure your server, BC/DR is considered to be one of the best server disaster recovery solutions.
What do BC/DR Plans Include?
BC/DR plans can vary greatly depending on the size of a company, the nature of the business, and its priorities. Each company has varying priorities; some will consider customer information, transaction records, or supply chain logistics to be a top priority in their plan. After identifying a priority, all other factors, including IT, physical systems, and human resources must be added to the plan. The plan should state who would be responsible for announcing a disaster, who will mitigate its effects, and the steps each employee will take after a disaster.
Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
The first step towards protecting your company is to conduct a business impact analysis. This is where you scrutinize your business and identify the most important systems and processes. Then, analyze the level of damage a disaster could inflict on your business. If the impact of disruption could bring your entire business to its knees for a considerable time, you will need to invest more in BC/DR. Otherwise, you may never be able to bring your operations back to life.
Your IT team needs to be well aware of the risks that your business faces, especially when it comes to data loss. Having an elaborate disaster recovery plan is not enough if you want to prepare for the worst. What you need to focus more on the finer details of what needs to be done in case something happens. Here are a few things you need to do:
Strengthen Your Data-Backup Plan
The purpose of having a data backup plan is to help mitigate the potentially long downtimes that your company or business may face in case of data loss. How well you’re prepared will determine how fast you can get back to business without significant operational issues. One of the best ways to strengthen your disaster recovery plan when it comes to protecting vital data is to use the 3-2-1 rule:
- Store three different copies of critical corporate data
- Store two copies in various types of media (offline and online)
- Have one copy of all vital data stored offsite to reduce potential risks of theft
You can also turn to cloud-based disaster recovery solutions that offer data back up plans. By embracing a regular data backup culture, you can be sure that your business will keep running even after a data loss, maybe due to a cyber-attack or a natural disaster.
Adopt the Best Practices for BC/DR
Adopting the best practices in your plan ensures you get the desired result after experiencing an outage. First, ensure you have a contingency plan for all the components of your organization in the event of a disaster. Keep your plans up to date and ensure any organizational changes are reflected. Perform regular tests in a realistic way to evaluate your level of preparedness. Ensure you have an offsite location to backup your critical data.
Work as a Team to Ensure Business Continuity
Ensure that all hands are on deck when it comes to preparing your business for any potential data loss or unexpected disaster. Your disaster recovery plan should outline who’s in charge of what and how different tasks should be handled. For instance, with IT experts dealing with threat analysis, your customer service team could be communicating with clients or customers to alert them of any downtime and what steps are being taken to ensure they’re protected.
From natural calamities, IT system crashes, employees with malicious intent, cybercriminals to even rodents chewing your cables, the chances of an organization being hit by a data disaster are huge. Luckily, a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan will guard you against every-day and once-in-a-blue-moon scenarios, and safeguard your physical, virtual, and cloud resources.