Blog Published: 17/10/2018

Blogger - Simon Hurrell

Are you confident that your business could survive a disaster scenario?

Putting it simply, business continuity is a set of processes and techniques used to help an organisation recover from a disaster and continue or resume routine business operations. Another term that often accompanies Business Continuity is Disaster Recovery, commonly abbreviated to BC and DR. The abbreviation BCDR is also used as a broad term to cover both, which combines the roles and functions of IT and business in the aftermath of a disaster.

Business Continuity VS Disaster Recovery

So why are there separate terms?
  • Business Continuity (BC) deals with the business operations side of BCDR. It involves creating policies and procedures that ensure essential business functions and processes are available during and after a disaster. BC can include the replacement of staff, service availability issues, business impact analysis and change management.
  • Disaster Recovery (DR) on the other hand is primarily focused on the IT side of BCDR. It defines how an organisation’s IT department will recover from a natural or artificial disaster. The processes within this phase can include server and network restoration, copying backup data and provisioning backup systems.
So Why Should I Take Notice?

At its simplest, BCDR is an insurance policy; it is there to identify and protect your company’s most vital elements from a disaster. It doesn’t add any extra revenue streams and it doesn’t save you any money unless you have a disaster.

BCDR can in fact be quite costly, but as with all risk-reducing solutions, a business has to weigh up what they can afford with what it would cost them in the event of a disaster. Crudely put, you wouldn’t drive a car or use a building without insurance, so why run your business without some form of BCDR in place? Companies, particularly in the construction sector, simply cannot afford to not have some form of BCDR plan in place to protect them from a major disaster. If your business was to go down, this would have a knock-on effect on the completion of your projects, potentially resulting in incurring more costs for deadlines not being met.
 
Another aspect to consider is a company’s data. It is one of the most important assets; especially in the ever-growing world of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and with the recent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If a company cannot access their data, it is likely to disrupt everyday practices meaning they are unable to provide their services to their customers.

More specifically, if a construction company cannot access their project data, it can cause huge issues when out on site because the contractors will not know which models/drawings have been approved and what the specifications are, causing the whole project to come to a halt.

Business Continuity Plan

A disaster can come in many forms and a business should prepare for all manner of scenarios. This is where the Business Continuity Plan or BCP comes in. A BCP allows you to consider all aspects of your business and prepare for any disaster scenario even if you only document that plan.

A disaster scenario could simply be an IT issue where hardware has failed and cannot be repaired instantly, but it could also be something that has temporarily affected the whole site eg a power cut or fire.

Another example of a disaster scenario could be something that doesn’t affect the IT at all. As drastic as it seems, it could be that a large number of staff have caught an infectious disease and cannot risk infecting other people or work due to illness. Other scenarios could involve anomalies like legal actions limiting or stopping the business in some way, uncommon weather patterns affecting transport, a cyber-attack or even unplanned events like a terrorist attack or major incident.

A BCP can follow the same format for a number of these scenarios with communication being the key to inform staff and customers of what is going on, what to do next, when further communications will be out, and timescales. A business should also plan to test its BCP by acting out scenarios during times where it will cause limited disruption to the business. Disaster Recovery should also look to be tested at regular intervals (ideally annually) to make sure that the solutions in place work to expectations, which should also be documented within the BCP.

How do I Put a BCP Together?

If your business doesn't have a business continuity plan or you are unsure on whether your current plan is adequate, the first thing to do is confirm what your company’s expectations and needs are. This should be focused on the services the company consumes and how it would affect the business if disrupted. The completeness of data and not just availability is an important consideration when reviewing recovery requirements as in many cases, factors such as regulatory controls are also driving the needs instead of the operational requirements of the business.

Once a business has confirmed what it requires, Excitech can work with you to create your business continuity plan. Building upon the experience of being a provider of Disaster Recovery services for a number of years, we have developed offerings and solutions to accommodate the demands of different requirements, customers and systems.

We'll work with you to understand which processes and functions are most critical to your business and ensure the most appropriate and cost-effective availability solutions are proposed. We have 30 years' experience with providing technology solutions and services to the construction sector meaning we have identified a number of solutions that work specifically within our industry, allowing substantial amounts of data to be saved and recovered whilst keeping costs at a minimum.
 
For more information, visit our webpage or keep an eye out for our next blog post to find out the solutions we recommend for your BCP. You can also contact us on 01992 807 44 or marketing@excitech.co.uk.

 

About the author

  • Simon Hurrell

Simon Hurrell

IT Solutions Architect

Simon has been working in the IT industry for 15 years with his focus and qualifications over the last 5 being within the IT Architecture space. Simon has worked for a number of IT organisations including some large, well-known data centre and cloud providers.

His knowledge covers a broad range of subjects within IT, and he has helped many clients choose solutions to solve problems and meet their business needs. Some of these include large infrastructure solutions, cloud-based projects, client-based hardware replacement programmes, and multi-stage IT tenders for new IT incumbents.

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