Backing up critical business data is an essential safety measure against system outages, natural calamities, data breaches, and ransomware. But is data backup really enough to secure digital assets against those eventualities?
Why you need more than data backup
Data backup is an automated process of making updated copies of files from your business’s network and servers and storing them in an off-site or cloud-based data center. While there, copies are secure from threats and catastrophe, but are practically useless. If a disaster happens and your business-critical files are lost, damaged, or become inaccessible, you’ll need measures to retrieve your backup quickly. This is where a business continuity plan (BCP) steps in.
Why you need a business continuity plan
A BCP is a step-by-step process that ensures business assets can be recovered quickly when natural disasters and cyberattacks strike. Data backup is one of its components and it is often part of a company’s risk management strategy. Here are five essential steps to business continuity planning.
- Define the risks, as risks can be unique to the business and are affected by factors like industry and geography.
- Determine how those risks will affect operations or daily processes.
- Implement safeguards and procedures like data backup and disaster recovery to mitigate the risks.
- Test procedures to ensure they work.
- Review the process to make sure that it is up to date.
Disruptions such as downtime lead to losses of revenue and higher operational costs. In a survey of 750 organizations, 24% of respondents indicated that the average cost of downtime per hour ranged from $300,001 to $400,000.
The essential components of a BCP
To help you understand BCPs further, let’s break it down to its components:
- Contingency plans and disaster recovery plans (DRP) are synonymous. Typically, contingency plans are prepared in case hardware, software, or networks become dysfunctional. They define different possible causes for system failure and detail an appropriate recovery process. On the other hand, a DRP often refers to a plan to minimize the effects of a disaster so business processes can quickly resume. DRPs involve a business impact analysis (BIA) to find out which business processes are the most critical and which IT resources are needed to get them up and running as quickly as possible.
- Risk assessments help identify possible threats that can halt operations or cause financial loss. They often employ a scoring system that classifies each threat as either mild, moderate, or severe. A risk assessment report is used to help plan ahead for possible threats, and every IT infrastructure component used for the management, maintenance, and storage of data should receive one. The assessment also defines a contingency and disaster recovery plan for each manager’s area of responsibility.
- Communication is a BCP component pertaining to a plan of action to communicate with customers, employees, and emergency services in the event of a disaster. In case your organization’s internet and phones are offline, your BCP should include a way to make the email addresses and personal cell phone or landline numbers of key personnel and employees accessible and available.
- Recovery time objective (RTO) refers to the duration within which a business process or system must be restored to avoid negative consequences. When determining RTO, consider how long it will take for your organization to regain access to critical systems during various durations of downtime, and what the financial implications are to your business. One of the crucial goals of an RTO is to communicate the impact of downtime to all stakeholders, especially those who may not realize that bottom line, reputation, and even jobs are at stake.
Is your business protected in these disaster-prone times? Make sure that before a disaster strikes, your organization has automated backups and other contingencies so you can reduce potential liabilities and get back to business quickly. Let Netquest’s Business Continuity Planning solidify your strategy against productivity- and profit-killing disasters. Call us today.
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