Many businesses have backup and disaster recovery plans in place. But those traditional strategies often are not enough to protect you from data and financial loss. An intelligent business continuity plan will help prevent catastrophic losses in the face of disruption.
Business continuity planning (BCP) is not optional. If there is an unplanned service disruption, the BCP will help your organization regain productivity. The plan typically contains all the information necessary for backups, workarounds, plan administrators and whom to contact at backup sites.
Planning for big disasters is critical, but business continuity covers a broader range of threats to your operations than flood protection or earthquakes. Pretty much anything that can take your business offline or wipe out data is a disaster waiting to strike. Computer viruses, fires and thefts can spell disaster for your business. Managing your business continuity is best done proactively. Look at these four situations and see how.
Ransomware can be devastating to businesses of any size, causing financial loss and damage to a company’s reputation. Ransomware is a particularly severe form of malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom to decrypt them. No one can access these infected files. They’re gone — unless you have backed them up.
As a result, a ransomware attack can lead to significant downtime, halting business operations and resulting in lost productivity. Furthermore, ransomware can also expose sensitive data, resulting in regulatory compliance issues and legal consequences. When one of our clients experienced a ransomware attack, we isolated and quarantined the ransomware and restored the files from a backup appliance, causing minimal disruption instead of a full-on disaster.
It’s essential to have a robust backup and business continuity plan in place so you know what to do during a ransomware attack. Regularly testing these plans can ensure that your business can quickly recover from a ransomware incident and continue operating with minimal disruption.
2. Server Crashes
Server crashes happen more than you might think. A server crash can severely impact your business continuity, leading to downtime, lost revenue and damage to the company’s reputation. In addition to the time and effort required to recreate lost data, a server crash can result in security risks and compliance issues. Without adequate backup and disaster recovery measures, businesses risk losing critical data permanently.
We know of one situation where a server crashed with no backup in place, and the company had to spend 200 hours — about eight 24-hour days — recreating their baseline data. This company was working with an IT provider who neglected their company’s backup services. It’s safe to say that this company changed its IT provider and is now one of our many valued clients.
It’s crucial to work with a reliable managed IT provider who can ensure that your servers are regularly monitored and maintained and backup solutions are in place. Investing in proactive IT support can help prevent server crashes and minimize the impact of any unforeseen disruptions on your business continuity.
3. Fires, Floods and Natural Disasters
Fires, floods and natural disasters can strike at any moment, leaving businesses vulnerable to significant data loss and downtime. The unexpected can happen, from the sprinkler system malfunctioning and short-circuiting your server to a building fire or a cataclysmic earthquake. In addition to physical damage to infrastructure and hardware, disasters can disrupt power and internet connectivity, making it challenging for businesses to operate.
In these cases, you need a virtual copy of your data to temporarily replace your physical server until you return the damaged hardware. This ensures your information is not lost and prevents downtime, which can be costly.
That’s why businesses must have business continuity solutions in place that include regular backups of critical data and access to virtualized servers that can quickly replace physical servers in the event of damage or destruction. With robust business continuity plans, businesses can ensure they’re prepared to handle the unforeseen disruptions that come with fires, floods and natural disasters, maintaining business continuity and minimizing the impact on operations.
4. Careless Employees
Careless employees can pose a significant risk to a company’s data and business continuity. Accidental or deliberate deletion of critical files or data breaches caused by negligent actions can result in substantial financial and reputational damage. Businesses must implement proper access controls and security policies, such as limiting user access to sensitive data and conducting regular employee security awareness training.
Backing up data regularly is also crucial, as it provides a way to recover from data loss caused by careless employees. By taking proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with negligent employees, businesses can ensure they’re prepared to handle any unforeseen disruptions and maintain business continuity.
Business Continuity With Cloud-Based Solutions
Business continuity planning emerged from disaster recovery plans, focusing on getting the IT infrastructure back up and running. As data has become the lifeblood of some companies, the need for more comprehensive plans has emerged with a focus on returning to normal business operations.
A business continuity plan can get sticky as businesses transition to the cloud. For many organizations, this represents the first time they have shared security responsibilities with a third party, and it may be challenging to get comfortable with this arrangement.
The company must be willing to give over a little control to take full advantage of cloud benefits. Unfortunately, no cloud provider can save a company from itself. No matter how much responsibility a third-party provider takes, they cannot be responsible for administration errors, lost devices or bad login practices.
When it comes to building a business continuity plan with cloud-based solutions, there are some essential steps to take:
- Identify critical business functions: First, you must identify the critical business functions your organization must maintain in case of a disruption.
- Produce a plan: You can produce a plan that outlines how to restore each process once you have identified these business functions.
- Document your plan: It’s essential to document your plan thoroughly and communicate it to all relevant parties.
- Test your plans: Testing your plans is crucial to identify any potential gaps and refine your approach.
- Ensure continual improvement: Continual improvement is vital to ensure your plan stays up to date.
- Insure your organization: Remember to insure your organization and have an incident communications plan in place to keep everyone informed during a disruption.
Essential Elements of a Business Continuity Plan
There are two critical metrics that every organization needs to set when building its business continuity plan – recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).
RPO is the maximum acceptable time between a data loss and the last good backup. RTO is the maximum acceptable time for a business to recover the necessary data and systems for standard business processes after a disaster.
It might seem like the answer is easy, as your organization likely wants to lose the least amount of data possible and be back up and running immediately. The tradeoff is the cost. The closer you get to zero on either of these metrics, the higher the price. Along with measuring these two areas to determine a company’s business continuity preparedness, it’s also important to classify applications and data according to how critical they are to the company’s operations:
- Existentially essential applications and data will immediately cause the organization to stop running if unavailable.
- Mission-critical data and systems are central to employee productivity and business processes, but there are ways to work around them if necessary.
- Optimal-for-performance systems, if not available, will cause a reduction in productivity. Service may not be as seamless, but the business can function at acceptable levels without them.
Partner With BlackPoint IT Services for Business Continuity Solutions
Organizations are increasingly aware of ransomware attacks or other cybersecurity attacks that could destroy their business. As a result, more companies have developed specific ransomware response plans.
Changing requirements, increasing cyber threats and cloud applications complicate business continuity planning. At the same time, an organization’s dependence on data has never been greater in an always-connected, digital economy.
Does your organization have a robust business continuity plan? Partner with IT experts who can assess, deploy and manage your systems and infrastructure. BlackPoint IT Services can help you assess your business continuity plan and determine what action plan is necessary to protect your assets for the future.
Contact us online today for more information, and we’ll reach out to you.