Business Continuity Planning: More Than Your Data Could Be At Risk

On June 13th, 2014, posted in: Managed it by Comments Off on Business Continuity Planning: More Than Your Data Could Be At Risk

Follow these 5 simple steps to develop a successful business continuity plan

We began our 5-part series “The Top 5 Advantages of Managed IT Services” with “Mobile Device Management (MDM) Made Easy”, which covered the benefits of incorporating a MDM plan into your office to manage the sensitive data stored in mobile devices throughout your workforce.

Today, we’ll be covering the importance of business continuity planning, 5 easy steps to build your strategic plan – and what is at risk if you don’t have a continuity plan in place.

Business continuity planning and disaster recovery are processes that help your business prepare for disaster – any type of disaster – from a tornado to a power outage or even a virus.

What are the Differences between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning?

Data RecoveryMany business owners and executives use the terms interchangeably when in fact, they have different meanings:

  • Disaster recovery is the process put in place to resume business operations after a disruptive event.
  • Business continuity planning is a more comprehensive approach involving the strategic planning a business puts in place to ensure systems, processes and procedures can still function in the event of a disaster.

The concept of business continuity has become much more prevalent today than in previous years, simply because there are many more points of failure due to the vast array of technology we heavily rely on each day.

5 Simple Steps to Develop a Successful Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity planning can be defined in 5 steps.

Step 1: Get Executive-Level Support for the Plan

For many businesses, the first challenge in getting a business continuity program off the ground is getting the support of a CEO or another senior executive. With rallied support underscoring the importance of the plan, leaders are more likely to get behind the plan and see it through to completion.

Step 2: Identify Must-Have Necessities

Business Continuity - Plan AheadNext, you’ll want to identify and document any critical functions of the business that absolutely need to be up and running as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster. Then, record the longest period of time you can be without these systems.

The answer to this question will become the maximum tolerable downtime, or MTD, for those systems. This step is critical to correctly allocating your business continuity resources, so take extra care in evaluating systems that are critical to the functional operation of the business.

For example, one department may initially indicate they need access to a particular system within 24 hours of a disaster, but further questioning might reveal they can effectively do their job while accessing a system several times a month rather than on a daily basis. This simple change could lengthen the MTD significantly and therefore dramatically affect the prioritization of resources.

Step 3: Determine Recovery Speed

Once you’ve determined what systems need to be recovered, it’s time to decide just how quickly you’ll need access to those systems. The answer to this question is critical in developing an effective disaster recovery system that ensures the company will be up and running as quickly as possible.

The answer to this question becomes your recovery time objective, or RTO. When determining recovery speed, ask your IT consultant or in-house IT staff, “in the event of a disaster, how long will it take to restore system XYZ to working order?”

Step 4: Investigate the Gaps

Business Continuity MilwaukeeAfter completing steps 1, 2 and 3, you have all the information you need to assess the impact of a disaster on your current systems. Look closer at the cases where MTD (maximum tolerable downtime) is less than the RTO (recovery time objective).

These gaps are areas where leaders in your company have expressed recovery requirements that you are not currently positioned to meet with your business continuity plan.

To address this issue, meet with your business executives or leaders once again and re-evaluate the numbers.

Ensure their MTD is accurate (and realistic) and ensure the recovery times from your IT consultant are truly insufficient for meeting these needs. If they are, ask your tech expert if they can make any changes to the current business continuity plan that would allow the system to recover before reaching the MTD.

This step ensures all parties are on the same page and provides a path to negotiating a solution regarding expectations vs. realistic recovery time. Any remaining gaps are areas that may require additional investment to reduce the RTO or alternatively, increase the MTD.

Step 5: Evaluate the Plan and Make Changes When Necessary

Once you have developed a robust business continuity plan, it’s important to maintain that plan and ensure the plan continues to adapt as your technology needs and requirements vary.

Don’t Let a System Failure Shut Down Your Business

Don't be unpreparedOne simple oversight in your plan can result in far greater losses than productivity alone.

Without a definitive plan in place, the aftermath of a disaster can affect every aspect of the business – from lost revenue, to compliance issues, decreased customer satisfaction and even the safety of your employees.

A catastrophic system failure creates chaos. Gone are billing and inventory records, customer lists … miscellaneous reports.

To recreate this information from scratch is expensive and time consuming. And depending on how much damage was done to the computer systems, it could be days, weeks or even months before operations return to normal. Be secure!

One of the best investments you can make in your business is developing a robust business continuity plan. However, according to AT&T, 84% of small businesses feel that recovering their data in the event of an emergency is important, while only 40% perform offsite data backups.

Some businesses may put off what they know is necessary because they presume a business continuity plan is a better fit for larger corporate companies.

But what if there was a comprehensive backup, disaster and recovery solution that’s practically maintenance-free and priced to fit small business budgets?

Quickly Revive Your Network in Almost No Time

Ontech Systems has designed a business continuity solution that quickly revives your network and ensures your employees can be productive again in almost no time.

It operates automatically to back up your vital data as frequently as every 15 minutes. If there’s a problem, files can be restored in about a half-hour, or if needed, the system can take over as a virtual server to resume operations until bigger issues with your network can be resolved. In a worst-case disaster scenario, remote server backup is also available to keep your files and data safe and secure.

Our business continuity solution:

  • Backs Up Data Every 15 Minutes, Every Day: Not even the most conscientious users save their work as consistently and thoroughly as our business continuity solution.
  • Gets You Back to Business – Fast!  Servers crash, networks fail … it’s going to happen. But with our virtual server engaged and deployed, we’ll have your systems up and running again in mere minutes.
  • Complies with Laws and Government Regulations: Violating government rules for protecting sensitive records at the federal level (such as HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley) as well as state or local jurisdictions can bring severe consequences. Our business continuity solution goes a long way toward helping you maintain compliance.
  • Recovers Vital Email: Everyone’s done it — deleted or lost an email containing critical information. Take advantage of our email recovery feature for Microsoft Exchange Servers and recover that important message from days or even months ago.
  • Provides Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): It’s true; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. RMM service is included with our business continuity solution so small issues don’t become big problems.
  • Keeps Data Safe When Major Disaster Strikes: Fire, flood, earthquake … devastating damage to your physical location is always possible. But if the worst happens, our remote SAS70 Type II and HIPAA-compliant data centers will have your data and records safely housed so you can resume operations.

Let us answer any questions you have about our turn-key business continuity solution. You’ll discover the easiest and most affordable way to keep your organization in business.

Call Ontech Systems today at (262) 522-8560 or contact us online for immediate answers to any questions you have about business continuity planning or disaster recovery. We will show you the easiest and most affordable way to ensure your business is covered if – and when – a disaster strikes.

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