Grant Duxbury, Director of Engineering at Aptum, explains how a Business Continuity Plan is essential when navigating large-scale natural disasters and even overcoming more minor disruptions.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that disruption can happen when we least expect it, whether it’s inevitable or preventable. According to Gartner, only 12% of businesses were ‘highly prepared’ for the impact of COVID-19 and only 2% of companies are ready to continue as normal if faced with further challenges. Even before the pandemic, over 91% of organisations were already experiencing business or IT-related interruptions.
In a post-pandemic world, businesses must be prepared for the unexpected or risk running into further difficulties and disruption. To mitigate interruptions, organisations must incorporate business resilience into an overall Business Continuity strategy.
Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) means taking a comprehensive approach to ensure business goals and objectives are kept top of mind even when experiencing disruption. A BCP is essential when navigating large-scale natural disasters and even overcoming more minor disruptions like supply chain problems or other challenges that businesses face from time to time.
BCP should also encompass every business area, including IT, systems recovery, supply chain, human resources, payroll and health and safety. In short, everything that is involved with keeping a business running in case of a malware attack, server failure or any other significant interruption should be included. Companies that do not act now to minimise future disruption risk falling behind competitors. Unfortunately, many companies don’t know where or how to start.
Building a plan
To start building an effective BCP, businesses should conduct a risk assessment and a business impact analysis. Once you understand the importance of each workload or system and the impact it will have if it goes down, you can determine the required service level agreements (SLAs) and develop workarounds if needed.
There is no single technology or set of technologies that all organisations universally use, as each business has their own unique needs. However, there are several commonly used to boost IT resilience and help ensure Business Continuity.
Any effective BCP must include Disaster Recovery, however, it’s often overlooked as IT teams do not prioritise its development. Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is an invaluable solution when preparing for the unexpected. DRaaS replicates your data and hosts it in the cloud, allowing you to quickly switch to your backup systems if your production environment goes down. However, DRaaS by itself will not guarantee Business Continuity; it needs to be complemented by a long-term backup and retention strategy for your data.
By replicating business data to the cloud, you can benefit from rapid, efficient failover of your production environment and concentrate on your business objectives without worrying about data loss or downtime.
Cloud’s role in BCP
Aptum’s recent Global Cloud Impact Study surveyed 400 senior IT professionals found 89% of senior IT decision makers see cloud as essential to Business Continuity. However, simply moving workloads to the cloud isn’t going to meet your Business Continuity Plan requirements.
Data replication can be complex, not every application can be easily moved to the cloud. Each workload operates best on different infrastructures. Whether you have legacy infrastructure, use public or private cloud or have taken a hybrid approach – it’s all about ensuring the right workloads are in the right place for the right reason.
In other instances, organisations may find that while it is possible to shift workloads to the public cloud, it isn’t the best choice. Instead, a private cloud might be a better option, where an organisation owns and manages the infrastructure. In addition to determining the best cloud solution based on an organisation’s needs, there is also a necessity to follow best practices, move at scale and ensure data is secure. A hybrid cloud Disaster Recovery can provide flexibility, an improved user experience and meet compliance.
The more sophisticated a cloud migration project is, the more intricate are the design and development choices. Implementing the ideal solutions for an organisation’s environment may require expertise that companies simply don’t have available in-house.
Engaging an expert
Engaging with an expert can help remove the complexities of cloud migration and Business Continuity planning. Service providers that offer cloud migration services like DRaaS have invested time and money to hire expert staff. They also ensure any changes in your production environment won’t impact your recovery data sets through processes and controls that ensure your backup data remains protected.
Companies that do not have the expertise shouldn’t risk designing or implementing a BCP alone; partnering with a third party expert can help take cloud strategies to the next level. By committing to assessing, building and executing a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan through the cloud, any company can ensure they are ready for the future – no matter what it may bring.