This guest blog post was contributed by our Community Partner: Stemp Systems
What do you think of when you hear the words “Disaster Recovery Plan?” Is your plan a manual backup onto an external USB drive that you take home every once in a while? Or maybe you use a system which automatically backups all your data to a cloud based system?
Most organizations have some type of disaster recovery plan that starts and ends with backing up data. But what happens if there is an emergency that temporarily shuts your business down like a storm, fire, power or Internet outage, robbery or other event that could bring your business to a standstill? Even if we were to make the big assumption that your backup is complete and offsite or your systems are hosted in the cloud, your disaster recovery plan still has some giant holes.
In the disaster scenarios above, your data may be secure but the infrastructure required to use and access your data – your servers, computers, internet – may all be destroyed or otherwise inaccessible. Backups are great to recover lost, corrupt, accidentally deleted, or overwritten data. But for business disasters, you need what is called a Business Continuity Plan.
A comprehensive business continuity plan protects not only your data, but also your ability to run your business seamlessly even when affected by various levels of disasters ranging from localized short-term issues to a permanent loss of a building and infrastructure. Business continuity planning is not an event that, once completed, is placed on a shelf. It is also not a process specific to technology. Business continuity relates to all aspects of a business and must be considered under multiple disaster scenarios.
Finally, business continuity experts highly recommend that the plan be tested under realistic situations. For example, if testing the business continuity plan for a power outage scenario, the circuit breakers to the office should be shut down so the office has totally no power. And do the test at 5:00PM during a winter month so there will be almost total darkness for an added measure of realism and stress. The experts say that how we react under stress will be totally different than how we react in an artificial test mode.
In order to create a Business Continuity Plan, you must:
- Conduct a thorough analysis of your business to identify time-sensitive or critical functions and processes and the resources that support them.
- Create a plan to maintain the continuity of each of these functions and processes given various disaster scenarios. Then test the plan under realistic, stressful situations.
- Organize a business continuity team in charge of managing any business disruption.
- Provide training for your team in order to assure that everyone is ready when and if the time comes.
There is never a good time to focus on developing a BC Plan, and when you need one, it’s already too late. Start planning for the possibility of a business interruption today, even if it is just focused on a technology interruption. From my experience, what you will learn from the planning process will also benefit your non-disaster mode operational efficiency.
About Stemp Systems: Stemp Systems is a passionate team of technical wizards who have been taming technology since 1986. Today, almost 100 medical practices and community health centers, law firms, real estate organizations, and construction companies trust us as their outsourced IT management and support experts because we’re a dedicated business partner who’s deeply committed to exceeding expectations. For more information on Stemp Systems, please visit www.stempsystems.com or join our presentation on business continuity at the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Friday, September 18, 2015.