Ensuring Business Continuity when Disaster Strikes

Business Continuity and disaster recovery are extremely important for all businesses regardless of industry or size and rigid planning is required to mitigate the business impact should disaster strike.

The need for a business continuity plan within a company is crucial to ensure the continual running of the business after a disaster.

It is a well-known industry reality that for every five businesses that experience a disaster two will go out of business within five years from the disaster date. This makes stark reading and underlines the importance of ensuring businesses have a robust, organised and manageable business continuity plan in place for such disasters.

Disasters can come in various guises ranging from acts of terrorism to the threat from natural disasters and with the competitive landscape becoming more ruthless, business plans and strategies have a great significanceIn today\'s business environment, disasters can come in various guises ranging from acts of terrorism to the threat from natural disasters and with the competitive landscape becoming more ruthless, business plans and strategies have a great significance, as they are the plans that will ensure the future trading and success of the business.

When a business decides to move into the cloud, they are placing their business data, applications and software in the hands of a cloud computing provider. It is therefore important to ensure that this provider has appropriate business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place because when a company transfers to the cloud environment, they are placing a significant amount of their business resources within this environment. It is crucial to ensure and understand what will happen if that cloud environment becomes unavailable due to disasters either natural or deliberate.

Cloud environment

If a disaster occurs then the availability of all resources will be affected and it could be hard to get questions answered regarding uptimeA business therefore needs to ensure that they choose a cloud computing company that is robust and one that they can trust and there are many reasons why this is important. The main point is that cloud users will often have little or no knowledge of what technology is being used and the security that is employed, so they are putting their whole trust in the cloud providers IT systems and infrastructure. The cloud users also will have no control on the management of this infrastructure or what data centers are used. Many cloud computing companies rent their data centers and the infrastructure that they employ from other cloud providers. This means that if a disaster occurs, then the availability of all resources will be affected and it could be hard to get questions answered regarding uptime etc.

rolled-construction-plans

Disaster Recovery Plans should include:
  • Names, titles and functions of every team member who has a role in the disaster recovery process;
  • There has to be a core team with a head which has the authority to take charge in the event of a disaster;
  • Complete Contact details of members and alternate contacts;
  • Contact details of vendors, support agencies, consultants etc with whom disaster handling agreements have been entered into;
  • Should clearly state what defines a disaster situation;
  • Plan should address minor as well as major disasters;
  • Employee training for skills needed in the salvaging and resuming phases during and after the event;
  • List of functions that are critical for business continuity;
  • Priority of the functions;
  • Contracts/ agreement copies with disaster support vendors like salvage/ reconstruction consultant firms, alternative office sites, equipment vendors and so on;
  • Contact details of fire department, police, ambulance etc;
  • Floor plan/ blueprint of the building in which the organization is functioning.

By incorporating the above items and any thing more that might be relevant a complete and effective disaster recovery plan can be brought out.

With the right training to all concerned parties and periodic mock tests it is possible to recover successfully from a real life disaster.
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