If your IT infrastructure failed today, how long would your business survive?
Would you be able to recover your lost data? If so, how long would that take?
These are but some questions to think about when assessing your current Business Continuity strategy.
Business Continuity can be defined as the mitigating actions to prevent data loss and the ability for your business to continue to operate in the event of a disaster. In the interests of simplicity, I won’t distinguish between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity which are different concepts, albeit closely related.
You are likely aware of the importance of backing up, so you don’t lose data that’s critical for your business to function. Some examples include customer data, accounting records (including P&L and Balance Sheets), business transactions and invoices.
Safely and securely backing up company data is crucial for success, as losing data can be devastating, with studies showing 60% of business that have a significant data loss go out of business.
Data loss is also more common than you’d expect. System failures, blackouts, malicious activity, accidental deletes, theft, equipment malfunction, natural disasters (such as fire, earthquake or flood), or malware and ransomware attacks to name a few!
Having outlined the need to consider business continuity, what exactly is required to protect your business?
Have a plan!
A robust business continuity plan is an essential part of your disaster recovery strategy and compliance requirements. Who will do what, when and how in the event of a disaster?
In the unfortunate case of a disaster, it’s already an extremely stressful time. Having activities and roles clearly documented (and tested) reduces stress, improves recovery time and accuracy of recovery.
Define your RTO and RPO
Defining the maximum allowable data loss in the event of a disaster (Recovery Point Objective) and the maximum allowable time to restore that data (Return To Operation) are the amongst the most important inputs in planning your business continuity strategy.
Can your business function without IT for 120 hours, or only 4 hours in the event of a disaster? It’s important to carefully consider these metrics, as there is a strong cost/benefit correlation that defines the most applicable solution.
It’s critically important that backups are created frequently, and a policy is in place to ensure they are not overwritten unknowingly. It’s vital that these backups are restored and tested at regular intervals to ensure the integrity of the data that’s backed up.
It’s imperative that a copy of the backups are securely stored offsite (in multiple locations), or in the cloud to mitigate the loss of the premises due to natural disaster. Backups should be stored with file versioning, so specific files can be restored if corrupted by Ransomware etc.
Recalling/Restoring backups needs to be tested (ideally quarterly). Taking “successful” backups that are either corrupt or don’t contain the expected data is all too common. You should periodically restore critical data to ensure data integrity and all expected data is contained in the backup.
Business Continuity is an extremely complex topic. In this blog, I’ve merely provided an overview of things to consider when creating a Business Continuity strategy.
Technology has also changed considerably in the last few years and there are many cost-effective and simple tools that can assist your business with backups for disaster recovery.
For help in Business Continuity and backup strategies and solutions for your business, contact Evolocity today.