There is often confusion between disaster planning and business continuity. We have pulled together 7 common questions to explain the differences and to share how your company can benefit from prudent planning before disaster strikes.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Plan ahead and you will be ready to face any challenge that comes your way.
What is a disaster recovery (DR) plan?
A DR plan is a carefully constructed, comprehensive set of policies and procedures designed to help an organization ensure sustainability during and after a significant business disruption.
An effective DR plan:
analyzes internal and external threats,
examines safety and security protocols
explores mission-critical operations and recovery priorities
establishes appropriate response and recovery procedures
What is a business continuity plan?
Business continuity planning (BCP) refers to the processes a company takes to ensure that normal business operations can continue during a disaster.
Successful plans typically involve:
accounting for uninterrupted access to data
a safe place for employees to work
ensuring that network connections, online systems, phones, network drives, servers, and business applications remain up and running
Unlike disaster recovery, which is data-centric, business continuity is business-centric. Plans are graded by their ability to limit downtime and put systems in place to prevent the company from going offline.
Important disaster preparedness tips for your business continuity plan include:
registering your equipment
documenting replacement dates and part numbers
incorporating fault tolerance through redundancy
diagraming your network and including power equipment
setting up monitoring with configurations and action policies to ensure automation (like virtual machine migration)
enabling remote reboot capabilities of hardware like UPSs and PDUs
By contrast, disaster recovery solutions involve restoring IT infrastructure and accessing copies of data stored offsite without focusing on making a business operational during a crisis.
Why should my organization invest in business continuity and disaster recovery?
In short, doing so could prove to be the difference between remaining in business and going belly up. Disasters are imminent and well-documented and heavily tested strategies not only identify vulnerabilities and prioritize mission-critical operations and key products and services, but also document important company information from network diagrams and product inventory to clients, suppliers and trade secrets.
How will a business continuity plan change IT’s perspective on hardware?
When disaster is looming, there are key hardware features that may have once seemed trivial that can ultimately keep your lights on and your customers happy. It’s difficult to change your perspective to a disaster-first one until that inevitable moment where all eyes are on you in the face of a power or network outage, but that’s how you have to think when business continuity planning.
Examples of such features are deploying rackmount PDUs with built-in plug retention grips and environmental monitoring probe.
How does my company benefit from a DR plan?
An effective DR plan will help:
ensure that significant disruptions don’t derail the entire company
strengthen business resilience and reduce downtime
solidify relationships with clients and suppliers — affording a competitive edge, enhancing an organization’s reputation and attracting quality candidates
avoid costly compliance, contractual, and regulatory fines
Should my organization have a DR plan even if it’s not located in a disaster-prone area?
Regardless of where they operate, their size or revenue, all businesses are subject to unexpected disruptions. Unfortunately, most of these disruptions are difficult to predict, from sudden earthquakes to storm-induced power failures to fires or floods. Yet they often have dire consequences that involve loss of life, loss of premises, and loss of company assets or revenue, all of which can render a company powerless to deliver products and services. This is where a DR plan comes in.
What are RPOs and RTOs and why do they matter?
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are two of the most important parameters of a disaster recovery plan, as they provide the basis for identifying and analyzing viable strategies for inclusion in the plan. Viable strategy options include any that would enable resumption of a business process in a timeframe at or near the RPO/RTO.
To learn more about business continuity planning, click here:
Creating a disaster recovery or business continuity plan may seem overwhelming at first. Once you have a plan, sourcing providers to support its execution may also be daunting. The great news is that you don’t have to go it alone.
To best review your business’s needs, confer with an expert. An agnostic technology agent or consultant can ask the right questions to determine what you need, help you gain a deeper overview of the wide range of solutions available and how each one fits in with what you’re trying to accomplish. In addition to assisting you with procurement, they can also handle ongoing care.
Comtel Communications, a telecom/technology consulting agency based in Richmond, Virginia since 1991, provides best-in-class solutions and unbiased counsel to a diverse group of small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses, totaling more than $18.2M in annual billings. Leveraging unique access to 350+ national and international providers, Comtel benefits its clients through competitive quotes from multiple sources, to ensure their business goals are met with current and dynamic telecom and technology services. Acting as a partner, long after contracts are signed and services are deployed, Comtel offers superb back-office support to manage upgrades, track orders, and provide training to clients.
Author: Mike Martin