Ensure Your Systems Availability With Business Continuity Planning

 In Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery

Keeping systems available is one of the top priorities for CIOs. The dependence of today’s enterprises on their information systems means downtime is too costly to tolerate. Having an effective business continuity plan is important to make sure your business is prepared to respond to any incident impacting your IT systems.

Causes of IT Downtime

Business continuity plans need to be able to respond to a variety of incidents that can shutdown your systems. These include

  • power failures, including UPS and generator failures
  • malware including ransomware and distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS)
  • human error, including saving bad data or deleting necessary files
  • physical facility issues other than power, such as floods or fire
  • IT hardware failures and network outages

Business Continuity Requires Secondary Sites

One approach to business continuity is to create a second data center that fully mirrors your production site. This second site needs to be the same size as your production systems in order to meet performance requirements, but doesn’t need to provide support for nonproduction systems or noncritical applications. In addition to matching the size requirements of production, the secondary site needs to match the production site in terms of operating system and third-party product versions in order to ensure that applications will run properly after failing over.

Today, use of virtualization means that the secondary site doesn’t need to be a physical site. For many enterprises, using cloud to provide disaster recovery is the most cost-effective solution. It reduces the need for capital expenditures to purchase the hardware at the secondary site. It also reduces operating expenses; since most cloud pricing is pay-per-use, keeping instances shutdown unless needed limits those costs. Disaster recovery as a service, offered by many cloud providers, provides significant automation and support for the recovery process.

Plan for Business Continuity

Having a secondary site, physical or in the cloud, isn’t enough to ensure your business can recover after a crisis. Create a full business continuity plan. This plan needs to be updated periodically to reflect the changes in your business and your technology. The plan should go beyond simply the technical procedures to bring systems back on line to address business issues as well.

Make sure you test your plan to make sure it will work! At the very least, distribute it to get feedback from the teams that will need to execute it. It’s far better to actually run through the plan, though that requires determining a test time and test process that won’t impact the production processes. Ideally, you’ll involve end users to validate the applications recovered properly and that they’re able to execute all their normal business procedures at the secondary site.

Because of the complexity and importance of disaster recovery, you may benefit from managed services that implement and monitor your backup and recovery process. Prescient Solutions has provided managed services and IT consulting to businesses in Chicago and Schaumburg for 20 years. Our disaster recovery services ensure your information technology systems support your business even when disaster strikes. Download our guide to disaster recovery or contact us to learn more about how we can help you protect your business.

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