Headed to RSA in San Francisco? May 6-9 | Join us!

Preparing for Disaster: Understanding Business Continuity Management and Disaster Recovery

Operating in an environment that continually transforms can be challenging and sometimes system failure is inevitable. Although having proactive prevention programs is necessary, it is equally as important to have reactive disaster strategies.

Potential causes of downtime include:

  • Natural risks: Hurricane, fire, earthquake, etc.
  • Human-caused risks: Terrorism, crime, manmade structure failure, etc.
  • Civil risk: Riots, labor disputes, local political instability, etc.
  • Supplier risk: Power supplier failure, transportation vendor failure, etc.

Implementing a proper plan could mean the difference between your business surviving a disaster or going completely under. Business executives recognize that not all plans are created equal and that developing the right strategy depends on the organization and its distinct needs.

Strategizing for Your Plan

For the most effective design, the strategy should have two major sections:

  1. Business continuity management (BCM) plan
  2. Disaster recovery plan (DRP)

Since these two elements considerably overlap, it’s imperative that they are incorporated into a holistic approach.

Business Continuity Management

When a disaster strikes, businesses are tested in their ability to restore their operations in the most efficient and effective manner. To ensure that their infrastructure can endure and counteract various problems, executives develop, plan and test their organizational foundation using a BCM plan.

This process helps define the mission-critical processes, the duration to restore processes, the key personnel involvement, the notification workflows, and the logistics of continuing operations.

Based on several recommended and mandatory BCM procedures, there are specific steps that should be considered while developing a plan:

Due to the potential and considerable damages associated with disruptive events, BCM plans are a necessity for any business. Research indicates that only 13 percent of businesses with no BCM framework in place could recover all mission-critical processes per predefined recovery objectives.

Disruptions come in all shapes and sizes, from minor events with an average duration of 19 minutes, to substantial events lasting over 7 hours. Based on the duration and category, a disruptive event can cost a business between $32,000 to $53,000 per minute.

However, establishing a BCM plan isn’t enough; for the most effective outcomes, businesses should continue to develop their plan each year as the business grows. One of the largest success factors is the maturity of a business’s program. By 2019, Gartner predicts that 35 percent of organizations with BCM programs that lack maturity will endure major problems recovering one or more mission-critical business processes. 

Disaster Recovery Plan

Another critical element to include is a DRP. The DRP is the process a business uses to support the infrastructure and regain access to resources that are needed to resume normal, critical business functions, either through maintaining a vital workforce or by recovering critical services and applications such as email, trading, voice, file server, accounting, and mobility.

Due to the variety of disruptive events that can impact businesses, it’s significant that DRPs are designed with versatility and adaptivity. Key elements of a DRP include:

  1. Policy statement and objective
  2. Authentication tools (passwords)
  3. Geographical risks and factors
  4. Tips for dealing with media
  5. Financial and legal information and steps
  6. Plan’s history

Currently, only 30 percent of businesses reported having a fully documented disaster recovery strategy. Among those, approximately 33 percent revealed that their disaster recovery plan proved inadequate during a critical response to an outage.

Recovering for Disaster

Businesses continue to evolve, implementing new and improved strategies to help manage the risks that disasters provide. A-LIGN offers the following services to organizations seeking business continuity and disaster recovery services:

A business’s success can heavily rely on strategic planning, therefore when it comes to mitigating the risks of a disruptive event, proactive and reactive plans are critical. Don’t just survive in the event of a disaster, plan to weather the storm and fortify your business. Take the first step towards establishing an indestructible plan for your business today.