Business Continuity for many organizations ends with the implementation of one solution – a system backup. There are many types of system backups including file-based or imaged based, onsite, or offsite, daily or hourly. And system backups are a major factor in the success of a business’s recovery, but it is not the only component.
By its very definition Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company. Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) typically focuses on the processes to recover and protect a business’s IT Infrastructure.
Now, you may be asking yourself “Aren’t the two the same?” The short answer is – No. Disaster Recovery Plan focuses on IT Assets whereas Business Continuity Plan focuses on People, Processes, Technology, and Infrastructure. So, while components of recovering IT Assets are included, it is not the sole focus. So, let’s touch on these areas at a high level.
People. Human personnel is the lifeblood of a business. Their expertise and experience ensure that the needs of day to day operations happen seamlessly. So, it is a fair statement to say that backups do not cover the human element which is why proper planning is necessary to identify the Who of a business continuity plan. People need to be aware of their responsibilities in a disaster scenario and how they will continue to aid the business in limited operations.
Processes. No one thinks about getting paid until they do not. Management doesn’t worry about the procurement of products until it does not happen. What processes within the business must continue to happen during a disaster scenario and which do not? These questions must be answered, and the underpinned People, Technology, and Infrastructure must be identified to help keep those processes working. If you are not aware of the critical processes and the items that support them, your business continuity plan will struggle in execution.
Technology. Most companies have processes that tie into Enterprise Resource Planning Systems. This can be accounting, inventory management, reporting, and many other critical needs. Things like NetSuite ERP, SAP ERP, and Sage ERP are the lifeblood of some companies but what happens if they are offline? Is there a backup plan? Knowing the weaknesses in the technologies and how an organization would operate in a limited capacity is again, one of the key needs to be addressed in a Business Continuity Plan.
Infrastructure. One should not assume that this is limited to servers or key workstations. Infrastructure is concerned with things like Internet access and Power as well. If these things are not present, it does not matter how good a backup is, no one will be able to make use of them without the two things mentioned above. So, companies need to consider the need for generators and maybe cellular Internet connections depending on their uptime needs.
Overall, if you take anything away from this article, it is that a Business Continuity Plan essentially covers what your Disaster Recovery plan leaves off. It fills the gaps and ensures that you are aware of all areas of the business and how they will continue to operate in the event of a disaster. A system backup solution alone is not considered Business Continuity and just because you can spin up a system in the cloud does not mean it allows for your other business processes to function.
Partnering with a firm that understands this key difference can be critical to your business recovery success. If you’d like a consultation or help to develop your Business Continuity Plan, contact us here or give us a call at (877) 901-2022