The importance of Business Continuity Planning is something that almost every organization has been forced to deal with due to recent events. However, before hastily implementing continuity plans, we must implement more than just a "catch all" response to disasters.
The ability of an organization to recover from a disaster is directly related to the degree of BCP [Business Continuity Planning] that has taken place BEFORE the disaster. Industry analysts claim that two out of five businesses that experience a disaster will go out of business within five years of the event.
Business Continuity Plans are critical to the transparent and continuous operation of all types of businesses. More importantly, these strategies are assuming increased importance as companies become increasingly reliant on technology to do business. As companies place more emphasis on IT and communications services - to support their customer communications and transactions, or to help manage supply chains - they become less tolerant of information and service loss as a consequence of disasters.
Most companies now realize that it is not sufficient to implement a generic, "one size fits all" Business Continuity Plan. For an effective response, with respect to maintaining operational continuity, it must be customized to specific risks and catastrophic scenarios which could range from major building loss to local system failure.
Organizations must plan for the recovery of key business functions, using priorities and timescales derived from assessed risks and accompanying data. Business Continuity Plans must cover perquisites for IT, data and voice communications as well as for essential personnel and offsite locations. In today's world, it is no longer sufficient for an organization to recover its technology and communications infrastructure; it must have people available and accommodations in which they can work.
The current economic climate, as well as the elevated awareness of threats that include hackers, cyber-terrorists, natural and unnatural disasters, have all played their part in bringing Business Continuity Planning to the top of CEO and CTO concerns. Now, more than ever, it is critical for organizations to maintain operational effectiveness and flexibility in any scenario.
4Service takes a different approach to Business Continuity Planning. By applying our proprietary risk analysis and management methodologies, which have consistently proven successful in multiple implementations, an organization can assess and prioritize the specific risks faced by each department of its enterprise, in the event of a catastrophe. It can then identify its critical business processes, and organize priorities and timescales for recovery.
Subsequently, the company identifies its preferred options for achieving organizational recovery in the event of each different type of failure. This involves compiling data on all possible scenarios and then using it to simulate adverse effects on the organization's people, processes, IT and communications services and locations.
On the basis of a mutually agreed upon strategy, a focused, "organization-specific" disaster recovery plan is then developed that encompasses the organization's overall strategy, business recovery concerns, and a detailed action plan and related responsibilities for various disaster scenarios.
Natural disasters are not the only threats to your business operations. Hackers, for example, could seriously undermine an enterprise's entire operation. To counter this threat, it's essential to use results generated from risk analysis and management activity to undertake focused, organization-specific security testing, including vulnerability assessment and penetration testing of the network infrastructure.
Where an incident causes a company to close down its entire network, it is vital that employees and other users get access to their data and applications as quickly and securely as possible. To achieve this, companies can deploy various information management solutions which automate many manual network management procedures.
Despite the attention given to Business Continuity Planning following recent terrorist activities, companies are still failing to put strategic contingency plans in place. Analyst firm Gartner, for example, estimates that only 35% have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place and fewer than 10% have crisis management, contingency, business recovery and business resumption plans.
This is an alarming statistic, considering the high cost of not successfully "expecting the unexpected". In the event of a disaster, at best you could lose hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars through lost productivity. At worst you could go out of business without a second chance.
What's The Worst That Could Happen?
1. When developing your Business Continuity Plan, consider the following:
2. What are the specific risks to your organization?
(Risks include hackers, terrorism and natural disasters)
3. What effect would these have on your business?
4. If all your hard-copy finance records were destroyed, would you able to prove what payments you've made, and what customers owe you?
5. How can you recover?
6. How long will that take, what will it cost, and how effective is the solution?
7. Prioritization is a critical component of any DR plan. Is it more important to have your website up and running, or your phone system connected?
8. What about your employees?
9. You must recover your data and systems, but employees need to know where to report to work. If your offices are unavailable, where are you going to do business?
10. What can you do to prevent or minimize the effects of a disaster?
11. For example, if hacking is a real threat to your company, how can you improve systems security and enhance penetration testing?
4Service's Disaster Recovery Solutions, Real-Time Data Protection, Business Continuity Planning and Offsite Data Storage solutions: " No Recovery Strategy = No Data " ™. For service specific and other related information, please.
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