Disaster recovery and business continuity are vital to your company’s ability to overcome any type of disruption. Disruptive events may include natural disasters, power outages, or even a cyber attack. The reality is that most businesses will face some kind of incident, with 54% of companies experiencing downtime for more than 8 hours in the last five years.
Disaster recovery and business continuity, although linked, aren’t the same thing. Let’s explore how they are different and why it’s essential that these two processes are connected.
What’s the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery?
Business continuity planning is the comprehensive process of ensuring your operations aren’t disrupted when something happens so you can continue to keep your business running and serve your customers.
Disaster recovery is what happens after an incident and how you’ll resume business once something occurs.
While both business continuity and disaster recovery are related, there are differences so you can’t substitute one for the other. Yet, they should be integrated.
What should your business continuity and disaster recovery plans include?
The foundation of both plans is to determine how employees will keep functioning. The details will vary based on the size and scope of your organization. For tech companies, the focus would be on getting your product back online so as to not disrupt your customers. For manufacturing, the focus may be on getting machines back to work to produce goods. Most companies want to protect their data, with 90% of surveyed businesses saying data integrity and backups are part of their disaster recovery plan.
One thing that business continuity and disaster recovery planning have in common is communication. If you don’t have these plans in place (and many businesses do not) then it’s essential to develop plans that focus on specific steps to take, which all need to be supported by communication.
In developing both plans, you need multiple stakeholders to participate, including leadership and IT teams. You should define your core processes that need to be recovered and assign roles as to who will do what inside the team as well as externally by any IT consultants.
Further, your planning should establish a process for locating and communicating with employees should a catastrophic event occur. They’ll need your guidance in order to proceed with the next steps of getting your business back up and running.
Where should you start with planning?
First, you’ll want to do a business impact analysis. This will help you identify the most critical systems and processes. You’ll also want to define how these systems and processes would be impacted and what steps you can take to protect them.
Connecting business continuity and disaster recovery
Even though these two processes are different, they still must be aligned. Your business continuity plan is about how you’ll continue the business should anything occur that could disrupt operations. While disaster recovery includes the granular details of how to get back to full uptime. They go hand in hand and must be aligned so that your business is ready.
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You can also do a risk impact analysis, looking at potential threats, their probability, and the impact on people, property, and your business. This enables you to create a framework around the true risks that you may encounter.