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Observing Preparedness Month by Looking at Disaster Recovery and How it Relates to Business Continuity

Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting

Introduction

September is preparedness month and if 2020 has taught us anything, it is the importance of preparing your business to survive great obstacles. 2020 has seen many businesses significantly downsize, file for bankruptcy and even shut down operations completely, despite the fact that the ____ did in fact create a preparedness guide that looked at many of the struggles businesses could face during a pandemic. The “this could never happen” mentality prevented many businesses from taking advantage of such literature, however, many companies have since strongly embraced preparedness and business continuity to avoid being a statistic such as the one that states that “90% of businesses without a disaster recovery plan will fail after a disaster.” 

Discussion

What is the point of disaster recovery and business continuity? Both of these processes are methodologies that mark and organize a company’s resources (i.e. equipment, software, staff and more) and create a plan for their resources given the event of a disaster. While the goals of both processes are the same, they do have differences so let’s start off by discussing the differences between the two. According to PhoenixNAP, “business continuity consists of a plan of action that ensures regular business will continue even during a disaster while disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity planning whose plans involve restoring vital support systems.” Disaster recovery and planning looks much more specifically at IT capabilities as well, ensuring that technical operations remain afloat or are back to normal as quickly as possible. 

So, what constitutes a disaster? Disasters, as they relate to business operations, are wide ranging in both size and type – an IT disaster can be something a small as hardware failure caused by a natural disaster, such as what happened to many businesses during Hurricane Harvey, or something much more serious, such as a data/information breach caused by hackers. That being said, when planning for a disaster, you can expect at least one of these systems to fail and should have a plan for if one aspect fails, as well as if they all somehow fail: computer room, hardware, connectivity, software and/or data storage systems. Some steps you can take to prevent losses to your data and technical systems include creating an accurate inventory of your hard- and software, creating a task force or team that has defined roles for each member and a set communication strategy and letting that team set recovery point and time objectives, as well as define how to handle personal information (if relevant). The key to making sure any plan you create will succeed is to test it and not just once but regularly. Finally, another key factor to ensuring the success of your company is exactly the same as ensuring the safety of the information on your personal computers – back up your information! Your computers should have set and scheduled backups and you may even consider scheduling less frequent hard copy backups. These steps can help mitigate the losses or difficulties accompanied by a disaster and increase the chance of success for your business surviving said disaster.

Conclusion

Disaster preparedness is an extremely relevant field of study and, as we continue to see the effects that lack of preparedness for the Covid-19 Pandemic had on businesses, it is a great time to reflect on what your company can do to improve its disaster recovery and business continuity plan. We offer these services here at Vikriti Management consulting and would be happy to assist you in creating or assessing a disaster recovery plan.