Defining Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Needs

RecoveryWhat kind of Technology do you use?   Is your entire business on a single Desktop PC or Notebook?  Does your office use a File Server or multiple Application Servers? Do you have multiple offices?  Do you have just a few employees or an office of hundreds?  Are any of your services, such a email already hosted in “The Cloud?” Does your business use traditional phone lines, a PBX, Voice Over IP?  Is your company already using inherently resilient Software-as-a-Service products for Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligences, Project Management, or Financial/Accounting Services?

Technology is the great equalizer and remarkably, many of the Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Solutions are similar regardless of the size of the organization or specific technologies in use.

Every Business has the same goal:  Restore business operations as quickly as possible.

For example, all Businesses need the following Disaster Recovery Services to achieve Business Continuity as the recovery progresses:
Reliable Communication to Family, Friends, and Emergency Services
Food and Water
Extended Communication Capabilities to Staff, Customers, and the Media
Access to Business Critical Data (Sales and Financial Systems)
Ability to recover and return to normal operations as quickly as possible
Cross-Training of Staff to assist in Rapid Recovery

How these functions are accomplished depends on the scale required to accommodate the number of Staff affected by the Disaster or Disruption to normal business operations.

If you are an individual consultant that only bills once per week and you backup your data after each accounting session, then the inability to bill for a few days may not be an issue.  However, if you are a sales based organization with the need to file customer orders throughout the day, being off-line for more than a day could seriously impact your cash flow.

The key consideration is in designing any Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan is to determine how much data can you afford to lose between the time of the interruption event and the last backup of your data.  And, how long can you afford to be off-line, without access to your Business Critical Operations before it negatively or permanently impacts your business?

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