Business Continuity: What’s your approach to disaster recovery?

Ensuring business resilience is rising higher up corporate agendas. While it’s a complex, high-stakes area to get right, there are some common steps and goals, writes Ellie Howard.

The fundamental starting point for any organisation should be thinking about the consequences if key business functions, systems and processes experienced downtime or disruptions, and reviewing how you would respond. For organisations who already have a business continuity strategy, or for those looking to introduce one, it’s crucial for IT leaders to ensure proactiveness and maintain response times to align with their business operations.

But this is no mean feat.

When devising a sustainable business continuity plan, there are multiple considerations to take into account. I’m working with several firms on this at the moment. For all, the primary areas to consider are understanding your IT landscape, identifying the associated risks that could affect your infrastructure and operations, and assessing business impact.

Business continuity is all about preparation in the event of a disaster. This could be caused by all manner of threats to the organisation’s IT infrastructure including cyber-attacks, data breaches, natural disasters, hardware failures and human error. In today’s ever-evolving technological landscape, these are all significant concerns which are often either overlooked or not frequently scrutinised.

Your IT infrastructure may be hosted in several ways – on premise, public cloud, private cloud, or most likely a mix. The availability of these platforms becomes integral to business operations regardless of where the data is hosted. Therefore, one of the key steps should be regular assessment of potential disruption, and how can this be mimimised to a point where organisations shouldn’t see an impact on their user experience if a disaster recovery plan is invoked.

One architecture firm I work with takes a very pragmatic approach to setting EUC recovery timeframes to ensure business continuity; they’ve implemented measures ensuring they’ll have office workers up and running again faster than the time it takes for them to travel home.

The principles of disaster recovery, particularly RTO and RPO, are crucial for maintaining a reliable continuity plan. It’s important to prioritise data effectively, setting adequate timeframes for restoring critical systems and acceptable levels of data loss. It’s even more crucial to reassess these regularly. Having these metrics in place allows organisations to set clear objectives, distribute resources efficiently and achieve the end goal of minimising operational disruption.