In today’s ever-evolving business landscape where there’s zero tolerance for downtime, a simple human error, a cyberattack or natural disaster could bring your business to a standstill. Having a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) response plan is key to business resilience and for the survival of your organization.
What Is BCDR?
Techopedia defines BCDR as a set of processes and techniques used to help an organization recover from a disaster and continue or resume routine business operations. It is a broad term that combines the roles and functions of IT and business in the aftermath of a disaster.
BCDR enables organizations to adapt to and bounce back from disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations.
What Is the Difference Between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?
The term “business continuity and disaster recovery” is a fusion of two components — business continuity and disaster recovery. BC and DR plans are designed to bring things back to normal in the event of a disaster or a catastrophe. Although they complement each other, they are not the same and their functions are different. While a business continuity plan is a company-wide strategic planning, disaster recovery is mainly IT-focused.
Business continuity: According to the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) and Business Continuity Institute (BCI), business continuity is “the strategic and tactical capability of the organization to plan for and respond to incidents and business disruptions in order to continue business operations at an acceptable predefined level.”
A business continuity plan focuses on how an organization maintains critical business operations during and after a disaster. This plan includes every aspect of an organization: its employees, communication channel, office building, IT infrastructure, business partners, etc. It comprises specific actions and pre-determined responsibilities that must be taken when disaster strikes.
Disaster recovery: DR is part of a business continuity plan. The DRJ and BCI define disaster recovery as “the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure, systems and applications, which are vital to an organization after a disaster or outage.”
A disaster recovery plan concerns with restoration of important IT applications and data after a catastrophe. DR focuses on minimizing downtime as well as the impact of a disaster by ensuring vital support systems are up and running as quickly as possible with minimal loss of data.
How Are Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Connected?
Business continuity and disaster recovery are essential aspects of an organization’s overall risk management strategy. Having a business continuity strategy without a disaster recovery plan would be ineffective, and disaster recovery alone does not ensure business continuity. Both BC and DR plans need to work together to mitigate the business impact of a potential disaster.
A good business continuity plan ensures that business-critical functions are unhindered when disaster strikes and requires a disaster recovery plan that ensures all IT systems, software and applications are accessible and recoverable. Both business continuity and disaster recovery are equally important since they provide specific procedures and strategies on how a business will resume after a crisis.
What Is a BCDR Plan?
A business continuity and disaster recovery plan is a combination of strategies, policies and procedures about how an organization should respond to or adapt to potential threats or unforeseen disruptive events while minimizing the negative impacts. A BCDR plan should account for a variety of scenarios — from accidental deletions and hardware failure to malware attacks and natural disasters. It helps ensure that routine tasks continue smoothly with minimal or no downtime, or data loss following a disaster.
A BCDR plan encompasses what steps should be taken to ensure vital business processes are uninterrupted and how to quickly restore IT systems and data to resume business after a disruptive event.
Goals of BCDR Planning
The fundamental goal of BCDR planning is not only to provide data recovery but also to minimize the effects of a crisis on business operations and enable an organization to get back to normal quickly in the aftermath of a disaster.
Listed below are five goals that you can use to fortify your BCDR plans.
- Assess the state of business: Assessing the current state of an organization can help identify the threats and set priorities for remediation efforts. The plan should be updated routinely to account for changes to things such as personnel or systems.
- Find weaknesses and provide solutions: The risks should be constantly evaluated to identify any gap that could potentially disrupt business operations and jeopardize BCDR strategies. It is important to acknowledge risks and address gaps uncovered during routine assessment of the BCDR plan.
- Review and test the plan: Review the BCDR plan on at least a yearly basis to ensure it remains up to date and covers all aspects of the business for rapid recovery. There are several ways to test your plan, from tabletop simulations to full cut-over. Depending on your environment and the resources available, you may use one or several testing methods throughout the course of your evaluation.
- Identify location for data storage: Identifying where critical business data and assets are being stored is one of the crucial objectives of BCDR planning. This will help disaster recovery personnel to start the recovery process even if the designated IT professionals are unavailable.
- Know the disaster recovery teams: Knowing recovery personnel, their roles and how they can be reached during an emergency is another important goal of a BCDR plan. Communicate roles and responsibilities to all key stakeholders and keep this documentation accessible to employees and updated regularly.
Why Is It Important for an Organization to Have a BCDR Plan?
A business continuity and disaster recovery plan helps organizations prepare for potentially disruptive events. It enhances an organization’s ability to continue business operations with little or no disruption and minimizes the risk in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
Organizations without a BCDR plan cannot survive or recover from a major disaster. In fact, the effects of large-scale disasters can shut down operations. More than 90 percent of companies without a DR plan that suffer a major disaster are out of business within 12 months. A BCDR plan is like an insurance policy for an organization. BCDR programs help an organization to reduce overall risk, get back up and running after an outage or disruption, mitigate the risk of data loss and protect against reputational damage.
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For companies, being able to effectively tackle any disaster can have a positive impact on customers and partners. However, developing a comprehensive BCDR strategy can be a challenge due to its complex nature or lack of in-house expertise. Unitrends can help your organization achieve resiliency and prepare for unforeseen disruptive events.
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