What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity refers to the implementation of risk management strategies in any company’s infrastructure in order to maintain normal business operations during and after disasters (natural or man-made). Business continuity planning typically involves having a comprehensive written plan with clear objectives, timelines, key people responsible for carrying out specific tasks/ roles in the event of a calamity and set criteria for measuring success of the business continuity program. Risk management can also play a key role during unexpected developments such as the recent pandemic where businesses struggled to keep the lights on with many employee’s sick or unavailable and the sudden transition to the full remote work paradigm.
Most BCP programs start with the first step of conducting a comprehensive business impact analysis (BIA) to understand the scope of the program and identify all relevant legal, contractual, and regulatory obligations. This helps companies to plan accordingly and justify the cost of having a BCP program in the first place to business leaders. The BCP program must allow for alternatives to maintain all essential functions including customer services and data security during and after the disaster. This could potentially also involve setting up emergency office locations, backup data centres, and secondary or emergency information technology administrative rights and personnel. For more information on how to implement BCP programs at your local business, please contact IT Support Vermont.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery refers to the process of resuming normal business operations after an interruption has taken place due to the impact of the disaster. The disaster can include anything from significant power outages, natural calamities, technical breakdown/ malfunction or human error. The primary focus of disaster recovery is not on simply mitigating the damage caused by the cyber-attack but on the resumption of normal function in the business. Just as BCP sets businesses up to rely on backup business processes during or immediately after a disaster, a DRP or disaster recovery plan (DRP) focuses on transitioning systems and people back to regular processes.
5 Key Differences Between BC and DR
Business continuity has a much broader scope compared to disaster recovery. This is because business continuity needs to cover all essential business functions in the organization as well as relevant supply and delivery chains. On the other hand, disaster recovery programs only need to focus on the systems actually impacted by the disaster. These systems generally need recovery or replacement in order for the business to continue normal functioning. An effective disaster recovery plan, such as that offered by Managed IT Services Vermont, will also include specific planning for data recovery and emergency security patching for vulnerabilities.
Business continuity comes into effect the moment a crisis strikes an organization and continues well after the crisis until the impact has abated. Disaster recovery plans, on the other hand, come into effect typically after the emergency has happened, and remain in effect until the business has resumed normal functions.
Once the planning stage is over, and the plans are actually implemented on the ground, the processes involved in deploying each of these plans differ markedly.
If your organization is faced with a threat to business continuity, your continuity planning team will take actions appropriate for the specific scenario.
For example, during the crisis, the actions dictated by a BCP program can include:
- Alerting all relevant people to the occurrence of the threat
- Next step would be to send out a critical piece of communication that acts as a guidance document for employees. This informs them about the necessary emergency procedures and critical points of contact that they can get in touch with during the emergency.
- If the workplace needs to transition to backup systems and alternative operations (including remote work), the BCP plan will come into effect to implement a smooth transition
- BCP programs will also take measures to maintain the integrity and functioning of the internal network infrastructure
- The program will also include a clear communication module to check in with all employees. This is the necessary steps in order to ensure their safety and well-being and provide emergency assistance, if required
- The program will adjust and manage supply chains as per the availability of partners including falling back on backups if primary partners are not available
- The program will also maintain direct lines of communication with customers and other stakeholders to keep them updated and notify them of any changes
- Disaster recovery plan will come into effect after the emergency to restore normal functioning. The steps can include:
- Providing emergency assistance to employees directly affected by the disaster
- Restoring damaged assets
- Recovering lost data or systems
- Notifying employees when it’s safe to return to the workplace
- Resuming normal productivity levels
- Relevant Stakeholders
- This is a key difference between business continuity programs and disaster recovery programs that’s often overlooked. Even though both programs happen in the same organization and with overlapping goals, the stakeholders involved in each, despite overlaps, will differ. For instance, it is primarily up to the business continuity planning team, employees, customers, vendors, and partners to be involved in the business continuity program. Disaster recovery stakeholders compose of the disaster recovery team, customers, employees, and essential services vendors and partners. Each of these programs will also need to check on all the relevant stakeholders to see how they are faring during and after the disaster and provide assistance and support whenever required. To know more about BCP and DRP planning an implementation at your business, please refer to IT Consulting Vermont.