A serious outage generates business costs way beyond the data center. If you could truly quantify what happens when your business goes down, you would need to factor in lost productivity and damaged customer relationships. And, will your business lose its reputation in the process?
A thorough business continuity strategy is formed to mitigate the impact on a business when critical functions are interrupted. Business continuity is challenging for any organization to identify and address. There are many factors that can disrupt operations, including a natural disaster, a physical security breach or a chain of custody breach.
Organizations that operate without a business continuity strategy in place are exposing themselves to significant risk. The strategy an organization chooses affects potential downtime, which can in turn impact not just their bottom line, but perhaps whether or not they remain in business. Consider the following startling data point: 7 out of 10 companies that lose a significant amount of data are bankrupt within 12 months. To help you avoid this outcome, here are six things you need to consider about planning your business continuity strategy.
- Evaluating What SLAs Really Mean
Many IT managers assume that if they have 99.999% uptime—they’re covered. In reality, true uptime is a little more complicated. Businesses depend on their IT systems. So reliability and system availability are
significant issues whether they’re an unofficial standard,
a corporate service-level agreement (SLA) or a contractual
obligation. The key take-away is that you may have agreed to a certain uptime tier. You should know exactly what you have in terms of uptime and what that means for your specific business needs.
- Redundancy in the Data Center
Business continuity is about knowing what can’t be known in advance. How can you possibly foresee an unidentified risk that you didn’t know about at a given location, let alone predict what the outcome will be? The answer is you can’t. What you can do, however, is to put some hard thought into how you plan your infrastructure. Assessing data centers and redundancy is a way to achieve balance between ensuring critical systems don’t go down and being realistic about cost.
- Vendor Assessment
Conducting third-party vendor evaluations is a critical component of validating a business continuity plan. It starts when you sign up with a vendor. The process continues whenever you assess your strategy. After all, if a vendor goes down, you go down.
- Balancing Cost
Budgeting your business continuity plan starts with an audit of your infrastructure. An effective business continuity strategy balances cost and risk by determining which workloads are mission-critical. It can be hard to make a strong financial case for business continuity because the only real way to measure ROI is after your organization has gone down. However, it is a necessary expense for protecting your organization.
- Human Error
Humans aren’t robots. Everyone make mistakes. You may have a highly resilient data center from a technical perspective, but if the appropriate operating procedures aren’t in place, you may not meet your actual resiliency requirements. True business resiliency isn’t just about your data centers. It also has to do with making sure your data isn’t compromised. The fact is that employees often open the doors wide for a data breach, whether it’s a malicious attack or due to the fact that the organization doesn’t have security policies in place or chooses not to enforce them. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, a staggering 78% of respondents had experienced a data breach as a result of negligent or malicious employees.
- Refreshing and Testing Business Continuity Plans
A business continuity plan does not last forever. It is important to put a strategic business continuity plan in place and revisit the plan at regular intervals to unsure that it still meets the needs of your business over time. After all, companies change and business requirements shift. A solid plan created a year ago might not cover you today.
If you’re not thinking about business continuity as a continual process, then your strategy could be outdated. And if you’re not building validation into your disaster recovery strategy, you may not be as protected as you think.
Business Continuity Encompasses Three Core Elements:
- Resiliency in how the business functions and infrastructure are designed
- Recovery of data and the ability to restore functions that fail
- Contingency plan to cope with whatever incidents and disasters that may occur
Getting Started with Your Business Continuity Strategy
Take time to figure out your specific backup, disaster recovery, and infrastructure needs before you have an incident. Build your plan accordingly.
If you have questions on how to best tailor your Disaster Recovery options on CenturyLink Cloud, contact us at 1.866.728.8470.
Additional Resources Regarding Business Continuity
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