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Disaster can strike at any time, and it can be as simple as a server or system crash, or as severe as the recent worldwide natural disasters. No matter what it is, the disaster will affect your company’s operations and potentially its bottom line, or worse — force you out of business. Are you prepared?
Most companies have at least basic protection from emergencies and disasters in place. The most common forms of protection are insurance, server and computer backup, and basic preparations as required by law. While these protective measures are considered adequate for most companies, there is still a chance a disaster will strike, leaving your company in the lurch.
In the recent months and years an increasing number of occurrences, such as the earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand, have caused widespread disruption to businesses. To counter this, two business initiatives have risen to the forefront: Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP). In fact, these two terms have become common buzzwords, a quick internet search returns over 53 million hits on business continuity alone. The problem is that many professionals are unclear on what each really is. It’s important to be clear on each topic and the basic steps to take to be prepared for any disaster.
What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
BCP, first seen during the Y2K scare of the late 90s, is a plan that covers the way an organization prepares for and maintains all critical business functions. BC planning is comprised of activities that ensure maintenance, stability, and recoverability of service before, during, and after a disaster. The plan is typically set up on a day-to-day basis, and covers the whole organization.
It’s important to have a BCP for your organization because if something happens and you can’t deliver to your customers, they will go to another company.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster Recovery is considered a part of the overall continuity plan that focuses on the technical side of the business, including components such as data backup and recovery. Think of BCP as an umbrella and DR is under the umbrella — if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, the overall umbrella is more or less useless.
What Should be in Your DR and BCP Plans?
These plans both share a number of similarities, generally following the same steps involving the same elements. Both plans should include:
It’s important that you conduct regular tests of your systems and processes, and make changes as needed. Be aware that your business is always changing and so should your Business Continuity and Disaster Recover Plans.
With a carefully prepared and practiced plan, your business should be ready to face a variety of disasters with minimal downtime. If you would like to know more about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery please contact us.
Published on 10th March 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.