Most companies don’t give a thought to the consequences of a disaster- natural or manmade. And they do so at the risk of the occurrence of such a mishap and its associated negative outcomes. Most companies that do not have proper plans in place end up suffering huge economic damages and operational losses that may run into millions of dollars due to their unpreparedness in dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.Most companies don’t give a thought to the consequences of a disaster- natural or manmade. And they do so at the risk of the occurrence of such a mishap and its associated negative outcomes. Most companies that do not have proper plans in place end up suffering huge economic damages and operational losses that may run into millions of dollars due to their unpreparedness in dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.
Business continuity is a major concern for most companies. Operations must not stop – in any case. Any risks, potential or real, must be ascertained early and kept at bay via disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plans. Since almost every company would have its unique requirements, it is a great idea to go for customized DR plans.
DR plans and business continuity plans have to work in tandem. Both of these are equally important in the event of a severe disruption or interruption in services.
Business continuity planning
Whether big or small, any issue with business continuity in terms of operations can spell doom for its progress. The basic purpose of business continuity means having the ability to replicate the business’s IT systems and data. This replication would help in immediate, almost seamless, resumption of services post a disaster. But that’s not all – having a business continuity plan also means keeping all the business functions running, and not just the technological aspects.
This type of planning is a relatively new concept, which came into existence due to the need for zero downtime at all hours. This is a comprehensive plan, which includes all the steps a company must take in order to stay running post a disruption.
Parts of a basic disaster recovery plan
The DR plan, on the other hand, comprises of the preparations a company must make to meet a disaster. These include the company’s responses and steps that would ensure resumption of operations.
With time, IT systems and networks are gaining huge strides in advancement and complexity both, which means that the chances of more things going wrong are also amplified.
Business disasters can be of three types – manmade (chemical or biological threats, civil unrest, terrorism, etc.), natural (floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.) or technological (power failure, infrastructural issues, etc.).
Any extended loss of productivity that’s caused by downtime can lead to reduced cash flow in the form of lost orders, late invoicing, missed delivery dates, etc. Then there are costs associated with increased labour hours that are spent in dealing with the recovery actions required to make up for the lost time.
The negative effects originating from even one such disaster may even lead to extremely long-term complications that could plague the company for years altogether. These effects can be loss of image and reputation, data loss, out of budget costs, and others.
Having a simple, clear and doable disaster recovery plan is a must for all companies of today. It is an essential document that would require 2-4% of the allocated IT annual budget. While a disaster cannot be completely eliminated, its effects can be mitigated with a proper plan to a great extent.
It can prevent loss of data, loss of consumer confidence and trust, and lead to saving on the time and effort being spent on repair and resumption.
It is vital to test the disaster recovery plan on a regular basis. It will wipe out any potential snags and help the owner update it as and when needed.
Always remember – A stitch in time saves nine! While the saying is old, its aptness is undeniable in the times of today.