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Disaster Recovery Plans and Business Continuity Planning have a lot in common but are separate aspects of keeping your business operating in the event of a disaster. Disasters can arise from a fire, flood, equipment failure, unintended deletion of data, cybercriminal acts or other events and may result in significant disruption to your business.

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a broad plan which is designed to keep a business operating during a disaster.

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a set of specific comprehensive guidelines on how a business focuses on restoring data access and IT infrastructure after a disaster.

An effective DRP should help any business recover from a disaster in the shortest time possible. The longer it takes for a business to recover, the greater the negative impacts are likely to be.

 

Thoughts on Business Continuity Planning?

Business Continuity is defined as an organization’s capacity to ensure that the vital operations and functions continue during a disaster and to minimize the risks. It involves developing systems to protect and recover from threats to a company.

It involves planning for any interruptions that may impact your business operations. This is done by identifying possible threats and evaluating their effects on your business’s daily operations.

Business Continuity Management allows a company to continue with its services during a disaster and ensure that its revenue keeps streaming in.

The following are some of the benefits of having an effective Business Continuity Plan:

  • Protect your business: The quicker you can restore your business, with minimal disruptions for your clients, the better.

 

  • Enhance your staff’s working spirits: When you have a properly managed system that is highly effective during and after a disaster, your staff can carry on working and will be more confident.

 

  • Develops solid working relationships with third parties: With an effective Business Continuity Plan in place, your reputation will be boosted by proving that you’re a dependable business partner.

 

What to include in your Business Continuity Plan or Disaster Recovery Plan

When developing a Business Continuity Plan, you should do the following:

  • Outline the scope of the plan
  • Outline critical business areas
  • Outline the key functions
  • Define tolerable downtime for each key function
  • Craft a plan to maintain operations

 

The following are the core items to include in your own Business Continuity Plan:

#1. Goals:

What does your company or business do when a disaster strikes? The plan should include a clear Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

 

#2. Workforce:

This includes all the people responsible for implementing the Business Continuity Plan. The plans should clearly state their contact details for ease of coordination in the event of a disaster.

 

#3. Asset inventory records:

You should have a detailed list of the company’s software and hardware on the premises. You need to identify what needs to be protected, their locations, and suppliers.

 

#4. Risk assessment: 

Identify the kinds of risks that are likely to face your business. Please discuss with your employees who handle critical systems to find out the most likely causes of system interruptions and their impacts on the services.

 

#5. Communication: After preparing a BCP or DRP:

Circulate the document to everyone involved in the recovery process, from the senior managers to the emergency response teams, for ease of coordination during and after a disaster.

 

#6. Data backup:

Your DRP should include how and where the company’s data backup is stored. The specific devices and folders should be outlined, along with the backup procedures, and the recovery process from the backup.

 

#7. Test and review your DRP:

It’s advisable to test your Disaster Recovery Plan by performing a disaster drill to ensure that all the involved teams act according to the laid out plan. Look out for any loopholes and revise the plan accordingly. Review the DRP from time to time and adapt any changes to ensure that it reflects your company’s present structure and IT infrastructure.

 

Where should I locate my disaster recovery site?

There is no hard rule on the distance between your primary data storage center and your secondary data center. Every business has unique needs, and the disaster recovery site will depend on several factors. They include:

 

Environmental effects: Include seismic zones, flood zones, among other factors. Will the distance between the recovery sites minimize the risk of a single disaster affecting both regions?

 

Latency: Ensure the distance between your primary locations is minimal to avoid network latency issues.  

 

Metropolitan Area: It’s advisable to choose a disaster recovery site outside your current metropolitan area. This will protect you from events such as power outages, fibre outages, or floods from affecting both sites simultaneously.

 

Too far may be risky at times: Large distances between your primary location and the recovery site can complicate the recovery efforts. Travel time, network latency and bandwidth factors may negatively affect the cost and speed of data duplication. This may impact your Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).

 

What is RPO and RTO?

It’s very hard to predict a disaster, but it’s important to prepare adequately in advance and lay down procedures for responding and surviving a disaster. Both the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) are essential elements that should be considered when creating a business continuity plan.

 

RTO refers to the time by which business functionalities must be restored after a disruption.  A business may plan to resume operations within a few hours to several days after a disaster to avoid adverse effects on business continuity.

 

RPO refers to the amount of data an organization is willing to lose after a calamity. A business RPO may plan to lose not more than 2 hours of data. This means that data backups must be done every one or two hours to achieve this objective.

 

Summary

Effective Business Continuity Plans are living documents that evolve with your business, that identify risks and areas for improvement, and that are regularly tested to ensure that they work.

When you work with our expert Managed Service Provider team at TLC Solutions, we can help you to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that your business can successfully continue to provide service during and after a disaster.

At TLC Solutions, we strive to be the greatest MSP. Our team is highly focused on providing solutions that make business sense for our clients. Backed by the experience of managing an extensive portfolio, TLC gives its client a competitive edge in the modern tech integrated world.

If you would like to know more about the positive impact properly managed IT systems can have on your operations or if you would like to learn more about what MSP can do for you, feel free to reach out to our experts.