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Creating a Strong Business Continuity Plan

Creating a Strong Business Continuity Plan

Businesses rely on their computers to get work done. On occasion, downtime arises, so they need a backup plan. In the past, organizations focused on disaster recovery, but that approach is insufficient. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) enables a corporation to get employees back up and working quickly.

Nowadays, companies depend on their computers as much as electricity. If a system goes down, little to no work is done in many (sometimes all) departments. As a result, organizations must put steps in place to keep the enterprise running if an outage occurs.

Legal mandates also require system resilience. In financial services, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) Rule 4370 explicitly states that enterprises create comprehensive recovery plans. In health care, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HiPAA) regulation stipulates that health care providers have contingency plans in place so patient information can quickly be restored.

Poor Planning in Most Organizations

Yet, many organizations lack a strong BCP. For example, 90% of enterprises do not have a plan to mitigate the damage from a flood, according to Uptime Institute. Such flawed thinking creates potential financial problems. The average price of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute, and it costs businesses from $140,000 per hour to $540,000 per hour, according to Gartner Inc.  A BCP enables corporations to proactively rather than reactively manage the risks stemming from unexpected downtime.

A BCP goes beyond a traditional disaster recovery plan in many ways. With the latter, the goal is to get the computer systems up and running. The former is broader and includes steps, such as helping individuals move to temporary desk, so they actually begin working. After all, what good are computer systems if employees cannot access them?

What should be included in a Businesses Recovery Plan? One item to consider is how to set up shop, if the office is unavailable. The first step is sourcing backup computer equipment.

Purchasing it themselves and storing it on site is one option, but that approach has limitations. When an outage occurs, employees will need to collect the equipment and transport it to the recovery site. In some cases, that location may be inaccessible.

Also, the business takes on a significant capital expense: buying new computer equipment. The storage area is essentially non-productive workspace. Nowadays, technology constantly evolves, so the equipment may well be outdated when it is actually needed.

More than a Backup Computer

The needs extend beyond simply booting up new computers. The systems must provide access to storage systems, so employees can house their data once they begin working. Those links will need to be connected to the main systems once they are running again. Employees also require virtual workspaces, places where they have a desk and all the other amenities found in an office. Items, like printers and communications lines.

More importantly, companies require that the systems are delivered in a timely manner. Business dynamics change rapidly. The devices must be available in hours or a day or maybe two and not in weeks or months.

Remote Worker Complications

Compounding the problem, corporations have dispersed workforces, individuals working in small offices and from home. When disaster strikes, they need to be included in the recovery plan, so, businesses need standby remote locations that span from cities to states to around the world.

Remote employees rely on communications lines to access corporate resources. During a calamity, the main lines may be down. Enterprises need a solution that is independent of any one terrestrial networking service and is also completely self-contained, so it is not impacted by natural disasters.

The requirements list for restoring corporate systems has gotten longer as technology has evolved. In the past, a company only needed to find one system that mirrored the capabilities found in its data center. Today, they need an array of systems in a variety of locations.

In a growing number of cases, BCP needs exceed a business’ tech support capabilities. Also, the time needed to put the plans together and ensure their reliability could be spent on improving the business. One option is having a third party take on this work rather than doing it yourself. They focus exclusively on BCP and have the expertise needed to create robust contingency plans.

Sooner or later, your systems will go down. How much it impacts the enterprise depends on the legwork done before the event. If you are proactive, clearly communicate to employees what needs to be done, and simulate the problem, you will limit the potential damage when an outage occurs.

Make sure that your business continuity plan is reliable and be sure to test it regularly. If you need assistance, we can help! Contact Pronto Recovery today to get started!

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