Operating a business means being prepared for the worst but expecting the best.
Part of that includes developing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan which will serve to keep a business running and restore it back to a point in time following a disaster.
Over time the terms have begun to be used interchangeably but managing director at Gabsten Technologies, Hemant Harie, urges businesses to treat business continuity and disaster recovery as their own plans.
“A disaster recovery plan is the domain of the IT department and forms part of the overall business continuity strategy, which needs to be championed by the business as a whole. There are many different elements that make up a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, which organisations need to ensure they have in place for adequate protection,” explains Harie.
When developing these plans Harie says a business must do some homework. The first bit of this work understand and quantify business critical systems as well as identify data locations. Only then can a business begin to understand whether the systems and data it uses will form part of the business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
“It is also important to consider the impact of a mobile workforce on the type and location of data that needs to be included in any plan or strategy,” adds Harie.
Building off of that, establishing proper reporting procedures is vital.
“In the event of a disaster, the last thing an organisation should be doing is trying to remember what needs to happen next in the BC or DR strategy or for that matter, who is accountable for executing which aspect of the strategy and for which business unit. Business and IT custodians also need to ensure access to the relevant resources is maintained. This must include regular reporting on any changes to requirements, which may be impacted during a disaster,” explains Harie.
It’s also important to test your disaster recovery plan to verify that it will work as intended should things go awry.
“Data management specialists will be able to help an organisation to evaluate its data so that only relevant data is backed up and protected, saving the business in storage and recovery costs. However, testing is the most important step in ensuring that there are no holes or problems in the business continuity and disaster recovery plan,” says Harie.
This process and plan should be test frequently. For businesses that read frequent as annually Harie says that this can be dangerous especially with a business that is growing rapidly.
Of course a business can and should engage with service providers which can analyse backup requirements and do testing on your behalf.
While testing internally might be easier, Harie says that results can often be skewed. Asking for the help of an expert can really help business owners focus on doing what they do best.
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