When they hear the term disaster recovery, most businesses think primarily about restoring access to their corporate data and IT infrastructure after a catastrophic event. And although that description is technically accurate, it obscures a larger, equally important point that businesses need to consider. Recovering from a disaster requires a much broader plan, which most businesses neglect to fully think through.
Disaster Recovery ≠ Business Continuity
The term disaster recovery is often used interchangeably with business continuity. In fact, many DR and DRaaS vendors describe their own services as business continuity solutions. This is unfortunate, because it leads to confusion about what disaster recovery encompasses—and what it doesn’t.
As a leading provider of Cloud Backup and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service solutions, we at OffsiteDataSync can help your business with DR in the textbook sense of the term. We can help you establish appropriate Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) for accessing your data and apps. We can customize a cloud-based environment for your team to access your systems from anywhere if a disaster were to take down your primary infrastructure.
We can even help you develop a Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment, to help better understand where your organization is most vulnerable from an uptime perspective, and help you determine which systems you’d need to prioritize if some type of catastrophe took your company offline.
In short, we can prepare your business to recover technologically, and enable your staff to resume normal IT operations, extremely quickly after a disaster. But to be operationally prepared to recover from a flood, cyberattack, power outage, or other type of disruptive event, your company needs a broader process in place for business continuity—and DR is just one component.
What’s Your Business Continuity Plan?
To get a sense of how wide-ranging a business continuity plan needs to be for it to work after any real-world catastrophic event, consider just some of the things you’d need to include:
- Do you have a secondary location where your staff can reconvene if a natural disaster makes your primary location inaccessible or unsafe?
- Have you equipped your secondary location with the IT infrastructure your team will need to operate there? Phone and Internet access? Computers?
- If your plan is to have employees work from home after a disaster, will they have the equipment and services they need to carry out their jobs?
- What security and/or regulatory issues might arise with your employees working from home or another location other than your corporate offices? Will they have secure internet connections? Do your industry’s data-privacy regulations allow for offsite access to customer data?
- Have you rolled out one of the team-messaging apps company-wide? This will help ensure that all employees are on the same platform, and anyone can participate in real-time chats online with any other employee.
(The last thing you want when your entire staff has to work remotely after a disaster is for people to have difficulty communicating because they use different apps.)
- Do you have cloud-based communications accounts—for audio and video conferencing, for example? This will make it much easier to hold virtual meetings with your staff, and for various departments to collaborate and hold meetings, even if they’re unable to be in your offices.
- Have you established and assigned secondary roles for your employees in a business-continuity situation? For example, if your company’s mail will be delivered to a PO Box or private mail-collection service instead of your office, who will be responsible for picking up this mail and distributing it as necessary?
This list could go on, of course, and the questions you’ll need to ask as you develop your business continuity plan will be unique to your company.
The point we hope you’ll take away here is simply that DR is only a subset of business continuity. After a disaster, you’ll certainly want to know that OffsiteDataSync is there to help you get your IT environment back up and running. But to enable your team to become fully operational and productive as quickly as possible, you’ll also need to activate a much more comprehensive plan. We hope you’ll start thinking about that plan now.
And as you begin that process, we’re here to help you think through the DR aspect of your business continuity plan. Read our free disaster recovery planning ebook, and get started on your data protection strategy.