Business Continuity is the ability for a business to remain at least partly functional during an interruption. When talking about business continuity, these interruptions are minor and typically resolved within a few days. Larger interruptions called “Disasters” are covered under a Disaster Recovery Plan, which is still part of Business Continuity, but cover protocol that help businesses remain functional during larger, more long term interruptions. Here is an easier way to look at Business Continuity Vs. Disaster Recovery and when they would go into effect:
A Business Continuity Plan is the documented actions, hardware, software, and additional services put in place to make sure critical portions of the business can remain functional in the event of an interruption. The first step in creating a solid Business Continuity Plan is identifying the key functions your business will need in order to remain functional. You’ll also need to create a budget for your plan. If you’re a smaller business with a small budget, you can still take some small steps to help keep you minimally functional during interruptions. If you’re a larger corporation, you may have the means to put protocol in place that would make it seem like business is functioning as usual even though the power might be completely out to the building. Every business has different needs. We can help you analyze those needs and construct an IT Business Continuity Plan for you.
To give you a better idea of what types of things are included in an IT Business Continuity Plan, let’s talk about one of the most common practices we see which is failover internet service. A business has high speed internet service with Provider A that they use for their everyday business practices, but also have a low speed, low cost internet service with Provider B. If Provider A has an internet outage, the internet will failover to Provider B allowing the business to stay connected to the internet. The internet speed will be slower, but it is a compromise that means still being able to function and not break the bank by having two high speed plans. Remember this isn’t a permanent fix, it’s just a temporary solution until Provider A is back up and running. Other common practices are battery backups, remote access, etc.
Disaster Recovery Plans are protocols put in place to help a business remain functional in the event of a complete disaster such as losing a building, server crashes, etc. Just like a Business Continuity Plan, you need to determine what portions of the business need to stay running because they are critical to its functionality and decide on a budget. Protocols that can be put in place for an IT Disaster Recovery are back up power generators, 3rd party off-site email and data backup services, cloud back-up services, etc.