How to disaster plan for business continuity


The recent BA experience of catastrophic IT failure was a very public example of the damage data loss can cause. The disruption to a company, upheaval to customers and the damage to reputation that can follow an IT failure is vast. The impact may not be as public for many companies, however the damage can be just as devastating.

As an IT support company we can help to ensure that the potential for damage is reduced significantly through robust data storage & back up. It is also advisable to consider place business continuity and disaster recover planning.

Different companies will have different needs, depending on size, sector and the type of services they offer. For some having suitable data storage and back up will be sufficient. However other organisations may need to consider a disaster plan and or business continuity strategy. Here we try to help explain the different options:

Data Storage & Back Up

By backing up files you are protecting your business against data loss. Data loss can be caused by many things including hardware failures, accidental damage, virus and malware attacks and even natural disasters or fire, flood and theft.

A back up of your data is taken by copying or archiving files and folders so they can be restored if the original data is lost or damaged. Backups should be taken regularly and important files should be backed up every 24 hours.

To ensure our clients have adequate data storage and back up we utilise BusinessCARE Backup software:

  • the software automatically runs a local backup to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive of the full server system image
  • snapshots of data are taken at an agreed time (eg every 2 hours), which means if the system fails there is always a back up which is no more than 2 hours old. In other words you would only potentially loose 2 hours worth of data.
  • this information is then backed up online every night to Microsoft Azure cloud storage for disaster recovery scenarios. Data retention of this back up can be agreed with clients, but is often held for 90 days.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

Depending on the nature and size of your business, it may not be enough to only have data storage and back up. A Disaster Recovery Plan and a Business Continuity Strategy may also be essential to ensure the running of your business.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans are very closely linked, however separate strategies to cover both should be developed. Disaster recovery should focus on data recovery, while business continuity is a strategy looking at restoring the entire business operation. Dell explain the difference between the two:

“Disaster recovery refers to having the ability to restore the data and applications that run your business.  One important consideration is how quickly data and applications can be recovered and restored. Business continuity planning refers to a strategy that lets a business operate with minimal or no downtime or service outage”.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan focuses on restoring business data. It should be a clearly documented set of procedures to recover and protect the IT infrastructure of a business, should a disaster occur. Usually written as a part of a Business Continuity Strategy, a recovery plan addresses the data that is vital to the operation of the business.

Business Continuity Strategy

Business Continuity planning is broader than either of the above and is a management strategy designed to minimise disruption to the operation of the business. It considers access to data, business operations and physical business location. The strategy should be designed to ensure that normal business operations can be resumed as quickly as possible following a disaster. Solutions Review suggest that:

 “Successful continuity plans typically involve making sure that network connections, online systems, phones, network drives, servers, and business applications are allowed to run without downtime.”

There are many considerations in pulling together a disaster plan or more encompassing business continuity strategy. It is possible that secure data storage and back up is enough for your business. However, due to the complexity of the options available, it is advisable to seek professional advice.

SortmyPC can offer consultancy to help ensure your business is adequately protected. Please feel free to contact us on 0131 477 2644 for an initial discussion.

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