A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document describing the policies, procedures, and actions that will help restore vital business functions during a disaster or crisis. Business continuity specifically comprises the larger human-related aspect of a crisis plan, such as the steps employees must take in order to keep business operations running smoothly. Disaster recovery refers to the technology-related aspect of the plan and maintains these systems in the case that a primary work site is unusable. A variety of elements can be contained within a business continuity plan and includes preventative, detective, and corrective measures. These steps are focused on issues of data protection, details of employee training sessions, and the order in which servers should be restored. Read on to learn more about the three key components of any business continuity plan.
Preventative Measures: Data backup is a critical step when it comes to preventative disaster recovery, and can encompass tape backups sent off-site during scheduled intervals, disk backups made directly to an on-site disk or on-site and automatically replicated to an off-site disk, as well as hybrid cloud data backup methods that replicate data both on and off-site. Other preventative measures focused on reducing risks can include conducting regular examinations of IT systems and installing backup generators. Preventative measures are especially important for catching and stopping avoidable events, such as human errors and technology failures, in their tracks. Furthermore, by staying knowledgeable about an IT environment, those responsible for executing DR plans will be able to respond more effectively to a technology failure or crisis.
Detective Measures: Detective measures are focused on staying abreast of potential threats, and can include installing anti-virus software and sever monitoring software. Another essential detective measure includes employee training. Making sure employees are trained on the cyber security landscape and that they know how to respond appropriately when confronted with threats can alleviate potential disasters within the organization. Performing regular DR tests is also key to ensuring that organizations understand their DR plan’s weak spots, and that all employees know how to react during an event. Additionally, employee training can help prevent human errors that lead to DR events.
Corrective Measures: Finally, corrective measures are focused on re-establishing a firm’s IT infrastructure after a disaster occurs. Technology emergencies large and small can render a firm’s production infrastructure unusable, so firms must be prepared to respond. Corrective measures can include re-installing data and restoring other critical IT functions that went down during the event, such as Internet, email, and other applications. An important aspect of the corrective phase is a disaster recovery (DR) duplicate of the production environment. This off-site, real-time replica of production files and applications can be rapidly activated in the case of an emergency, allowing business to continue in spite of an outage.
By routinely taking a preventative and detective approach to BCP/DR, firms can avert many potential failures. While certain disasters, such as naturally-occurring weather events, are unpreventable, by staying abreast of threats and by planning appropriately, organizations can ensure that their business operations will stay fully functional in the case of a crisis.