Safeguarding Your Business from Disaster




 

How do you make a strategic choice when deciding on your company’s business continuity and disaster recovery planning?

There is no such thing as 100 percent uptime. The question is not a matter of if you experience an outage event, but when. Although the media is quick to report on cyber and terror attacks, a company’s business continuity can be put at risk by a number of less dramatic reasons – internet outages, power outages, human error, bad updates, software glitches, database corruption, fire, natural disasters, vendor failure and more. Any of these can cause disruption to the methods by which we access and utilize technology.

Disruption equals loss. Whether we like it or not, technology is the core of how the marketplace functions. How does an organization know what is necessary for creating a disaster recovery plan? Too little leaves you at risk and it’s easy to be sold a solution that is overkill when you don’t understand what is truly needed. By taking the time to create a business continuity plan, disaster recovery becomes a strategic leveraging of technology to remove the stress and fear of detrimental disruptions in your workflow.

Where does a business continuity plan begin and how can such a time-consuming task save you money in your disaster recovery (DR) budget? A good start is a departmental assessment of the workflows and the technology utilized within each. Next, a team will need to map the way each department interacts with others, and how. Is it all human interaction? Is it through software applications? How do those software applications integrate? Answers to these types of questions gives insight into the true order of business and interdependencies within a company. It is like an intricate maze of dominoes. Once a comprehensive understanding of overall workflow is in place, the next step is an analysis of what risks could cause any or all of the dominoes to fall, as well as help you see where protective measures can be placed to prevent disruptions in one space from affecting others detrimentally.

Based upon the order of business and interdependencies discovered, a consensus can be strategically obtained for the workflow processes in order of priority and based upon interdependencies. Hidden interdependencies will often reveal themselves in this step, especially in heavily software dependent workflows.

Once a workflow priority is established, remediation and restoration methods need to be assessed.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are the most important parameters of your DR plan, and often have the most bearing on cost. RPO is the amount of data you can lose or re-enter into a system. RTO is the amount of time that can pass before the disruption begins to create unacceptable losses for your business. By taking your annual revenue and breaking it down into time-based increments you can determine what an outage costs, and more importantly what type of BC/DR plan is cost-effective.

Another factor that tends to get lost in the numbers while analyzing the best DR plan is not based on how much revenue you can lose, but what kind of outage your customers will tolerate. Do you have strong enough relationships with your client base to extend grace and understanding should there be an event that inhibits your service to them, and if so, what is their time tolerance? The cost of replacing a client and building new relationships is usually higher than the amount you might pay to keep specific or complete system on line as much as possible.

Creating a business continuity plan eliminates the fear factor and helps equip you with a laser focus when searching for a disaster recovery solution.

3z is a consulting practice and  privately owned, managed hosting, fully redundant data center focusing on compliancy needs located at 100 East Rivercenter Blvd., Suite 300, Covington, KY 41011. For more information, email cking@3z.net or visit www.3z.net.