The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan

It is critical to have a comprehensive Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan in place. A well-planned and documented process can be the difference between continuing your revenue-generating activities and keeping your employees after emergency strikes, or going out of business or deep into debt.

It’s important that your IT support team or IT consulting firm first understand the current IT environment and all of the locations of your data and intellectual property before building a comprehensive disaster recovery and continuity plan. The final product is an extensive document will be the blueprint for how the business will survive everything from a major equipment failure to a natural, criminal, or accidental emergency, such as an earthquake, fire, sprinkler flood, as well as a cyber attack, software corruption, data backup failure, major human error or gross negligence, and theft.

A comprehensive customized disaster recovery and business continuity plans include:

  • Clear identification of the objectives, including disruption tolerance
  • Defined Retention Time Objectives (RTO)
  • A system in place to mitigate risk
  • Automatic failover
  • Local and cloud backups
  • System failure notifications
  • An employee communication plan

Your direct input on the above is critical for creating a customized plan that is applicable and appropriate for your organization. Communicating with your Managed IT Service provider is key, as well as including multiple leaders from your company to for input and buy-in.

You may wonder what RTO means. Defined Retention Time Objective refers to the maximum amount of time that a company is willing to not have access to its data as a result of a major incident. It also refers to the targeted duration of time within which a business process must be restored after a disaster (or disruption) in order to avoid negative consequences associated with the disruption in IT business continuity. Keep in mind, this is a target; a goal – not a guarantee. For example, if a the decided upon RTO is set to only 6 hours, then a high-level, usually pricey cloud-based backup solution must be in place and maintained. The most important data should then also be stored onto an encrypted, onsite backup solution, usually a NAS device. The NAS device may not be available depending on the emergency, but can be helpful in restoring data quickly if it is accessible.

An experienced Managed IT Services team already has processes and procedures that they can customize for your unique business needs. The Business Continuity plan should be part of your IT Roadmap and key leaders in your company should understand the action plan as well as their role. If you have questions about an IT Roadmap or Business Continuity plan for your organization, we are happy to provide answers.