Can you quantify what happens if your business goes down? Do you lose productivity, customers, or both? And, is your business going to lose its reputation?
A solid business continuity strategy seeks to mitigate the impact on a business when critical functions are interrupted. Business continuity is challenging for any organization to identify and address. There are so many factors that can disrupt operations. This can include anything that threatens a facility, whether it’s a natural disaster, a physical security breach, or a chain of custody breach.
Organizations that don’t have a business continuity strategy in place are at enormous risk. The strategy an organization chooses affects the potential downtime, which can in turn impact not just their bottom line, but perhaps whether or not they remain in business. Consider the following:
Six Factors to Consider When Planning Your Business Continuity Strategy
Evaluating What SLAs Really Mean
Many organizations assume that if they have 99.999% uptime—they’re covered. But in reality, true uptime is a little more complicated. Businesses depend on their IT systems. So reliability and system availability are significant issues whether they’re an unofficial standard, a corporate service-level agreement (SLA) or a contractual obligation. The key take-away is that you may have agreed to a certain uptime tier. It is important to know exactly what you have in terms of uptime, and what that means for your specific business needs.
Redundancy in the Data Center
The fundamental challenge of business continuity is that it’s all unknown. How can you possibly foresee an unidentified risk that you didn’t know about at a given location, let alone predict what the outcome will be? The answer is you can’t. What you can do, however, is to put some hard thought into how you plan your infrastructure. In other words, assessing data centers and redundancy is a way to achieve balance between ensuring critical systems don’t go down and being realistic about cost.
Conducting third-party vendor evaluations is a critical component of validating a business continuity plan. It starts when you sign up with a vendor—and it continues whenever you assess your strategy. After all, if a vendor goes down, you go down.
Budgeting your business continuity plan starts with an audit of your infrastructure. An effective business continuity strategy balances cost and risk by determining which workloads are mission-critical. It can be hard to make a strong financial evaluation case for business continuity because the only real way to measure ROI is after your organization has gone down. However, it is a necessary expense for protecting your organization.
Humans aren’t robots. We make mistakes. You may have a highly resilient data center from a technical perspective, but if the appropriate operating procedures aren’t in place, you may not meet your actual resiliency requirements. True business resiliency isn’t just about your data centers. It also has to do with making sure your data isn’t compromised. The fact is that employees often open the doors wide for a data breach, whether it’s a malicious attack or due to the fact that the organization doesn’t have security policies in place or chooses not to enforce them. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, a staggering 78% of respondents had experienced a data breach as a result of negligent or malicious employees.
Refreshing and Testing Business Continuity Plans
A business continuity plan does not last forever. It is important to put a strategic business continuity plan in place and revisit the plan at regular intervals to unsure that it still meets the needs of your business over time. After all, companies change and business requirements shift. A solid plan created a year ago might not cover you today.
If you're not thinking about business continuity as a continual process, then your strategy could be outdated. And if you're not building validation into your disaster recovery strategy, you may not be as protected as you think.
Business Continuity Encompasses Three Core Elements:
- Resiliency in how the business functions and how infrastructures are designed
- Recovery of data and the ability to restore functions that fail
- Contingency plan to cope with whatever incidents and disasters that may occur
Getting Started with Your Business Continuity Strategy
It's critical that you take time to figure out your specific backup, disaster recovery, and infrastructure needs before you have an incident. Build your plan accordingly.
If you have questions on how to best tailor your Disaster Recovery options on CenturyLink Cloud, contact us at 1.855.360.0520.
Additional Resources Regarding Business Continuity
Solutions:Continued Operations in a Changing World
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