Business continuity is a business’s level of readiness to maintain critical functions after an emergency or disruption. These events can include:
Leading organizations make business continuity a top priority because maintaining critical functions after an emergency or disruption can be the difference between the success and failure of a business. If key business capabilities fail, a quick recovery time to bring systems back up is crucial. Getting a business continuity strategy in place before disaster hits can save a tremendous amount of time and money. The plan for recovery needs to include roles and responsibilities, as well as which systems need to be recovered in which order. There are many aspects of business continuity to consider and test, which is another reason to plan ahead. For instance, large data sets can take an excruciatingly long time to restore from a backup, so failover to a remote data center might be a better solution for businesses with a large amount of data.
When resiliency and recovery plans fail, or when an unforeseen event occurs, a contingency plan can act as a last resort. A contingency plan includes a practiced strategy and plan for last-resort needs. These needs could range from asking third-party vendors for help to finding a second location for emergency office space or remote back-up servers.
A business continuity and risk management plan usually involves three considerations:
There are many international standards and policies to guide the development of disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Business continuity management is the process of planning for and dealing with potential threats and hazards to an organization’s ability to maintain business continuity. This management requires:
Business continuity and disaster recovery are inextricably linked. Having a business continuity and crisis management plan in place can save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars, and can even mean the difference between surviving the business repercussions from a natural disaster or folding. With a good business continuity strategy, and effectively managed disaster recovery tools, businesses have a much better chance of getting up and running faster after a disaster. Ideally, well-prepared businesses should be in a place to continue operations as if nothing had happened. Businesses without a disaster recovery strategy and business continuity plan in place are much more vulnerable to being wiped out by a natural disaster or cyber attack.
There are a wide variety of business continuity tools to choose from, which all perform slightly different functions:
Whichever tools an organization chooses to support their business continuity, it is important to test the tools and disaster recovery procedures before disaster strikes.
Although working together no longer requires being in the same place, setting up a successful distributed workforce requires rethinking where and how teams work.