4 Things to Consider When Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Plan

As many as 25% of businesses who lose access to their data never reopen their doors.  This startling fact means that service providers practically have a moral obligation, if not a revenue incentive, to make sure that their customers have a business continuity plan.  Even in times when total outages are not occurring, employee productivity, customer satisfaction and company reputation can be affected.

Business continuity is the process of making sure the business information services are resilient to accidental, intentional or natural disruptions to their data.  Sometimes, the business continuity issue is simply human error. Perhaps someone deletes a key file from a system which causes it to break.  Other times, device failures or even natural disasters will require the implementation of the protocols in the business continuity plan.

Infrastructure

How can we help our customers develop business continuity plans?  First we have to look at their entire IT infrastructure to determine where the weak points might be.  Perhaps the customer has many mobile employees using remote endpoint devices, tablets and phones. Perhaps the customer is utilizing public cloud in their stack.  Depending on what is in that stack will help determine what pains must be taken in the business continuity plan.

Maximum acceptable outage

A second consideration is the relative impact on the business if business information is lost or inaccessible for a period of time.  There is a tautology that says there is a direct relationship between the amount of time, money and effort put into a business continuity plan and the amount of time it will take to recover the business system.  If a system is mission critical, it should be put a plan where the data can be re-established in just a few minutes or even seconds.  For instance, at Acronis, our Acronis Backup products offer an Instant Restore feature that can instantiate the recovery of an image in as little as 15 seconds.  Of course to do this you need to invest in a virtualized environment with a ready supply of VMs.

Dependencies

A third consideration is the way the systems are tied together.  If there are a lot of dependencies, your business continuity plan will need to account for this.  It is important that when systems are coming back online, that the business continuity plan has run books that will bring up the systems in a reliable order to ensure that employees can become productive again quickly and start making money for the company.  Acronis offers Acronis Disaster Recovery Service to ensure that systems and even entire data centers can be brought back online even during a complete failure.  And we keep costs low by utilizing a virtualized environment in our tier 4 datacenters so that your customers can start immediately.

Clearly defined procedures

Finally, business continuity plans have to be written. Often, the disruption will occur at just the moment when the key employee who created the plan will be sick, gone for the day or on vacation.  We don’t want to leave these things to random chance.  The plan must include all of the necessary steps for recovering each and every system in the IT stack, including an overarching plan for the entire datacenter.  The business continuity plan has to accessible and trained on for every business window.  It is important that these plans be tested periodically and that key employees are able to do so independently.  This requires training.  Fortunately, Acronis also offers great professional services and certification training programs to equip your customer’s team.

If you wish to learn more about disaster recovery and business continuity solutions, contact an Acronis representative in your area or visit http://www.acronis.com/en-us/business/disaster-recovery-service/

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