Read about the legal issues related to planning for disasters and what happens after one strikes.
From the unexpected absence of a key staff member to a natural disaster, threats to your ability to maintain your business can come from anywhere at any time.
For many larger businesses, emergency and disaster recovery planning is a widely accepted and understood requirement. The goals of a business continuity plan should be to maintain maximum possible service levels during any event, and ensure that business critical departments recover from interruptions as quickly as possible.
Continuity plans must be regularly tested, as unforeseen emergency situations can arise at any time.
Without adequate consideration of the risks that an organization faces, it is impossible to draw up any sort of plan to minimize their impact. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning should be viewed as an insurance policy.
This information will be used to develop recovery strategies.Recovery StrategiesIf a facility is damaged, production machinery breaks down, a supplier fails to deliver or information technology is disrupted, business is impacted and the financial losses can begin to grow. Staff with in-depth knowledge of business functions and processes are in the best position to determine what will work. A disaster recovery plan, or DRP, in a business context is a set of procedures mapped out to enable a business to ensure that its technology infrastructure can continue to operate, after the occurrence of either a natural or a human-induced disaster. The issue of data safety is of course one of the most crucial elements of a generic disaster recovery plan.
If you are a business owner considering setting up a generic disaster recovery plan, you may find that one of the most difficult elements is knowing when to start.
Yet having such a plan remains unfinished business for many companies, perhaps due in part to the challenges of distinguishing the differences between business continuity and disaster recovery.
Most organizations cite downtime and its impact on revenue generation as the major drivers creating demand for a comprehensive business continuity strategy. If weaknesses are exposed after testing and evaluation, it is imperative that the testers react quickly to implement necessary changes in prioritized fashion, through taking careful, calculated steps that consider both technology requirements and business needs.
Protect your critical business data and documents from threats with a disaster recovery plan. These include the recovery time objective, which refers to how long the business can continue to operate without the essential IT services. Therefore, it is imperative for organizations to not only have a disaster recovery plan in place for the aftermath, but to also implement a business continuity strategy to aid in the complete avoidance of these IT dangers all together. Executives sometimes overlook the often commonplace events such as cable cuts, power outages, computer viruses and equipment failures that can endanger a company's business survival. The Business Continuity Institute suggests business continuity plans be tested fully at least once a year, yet research from Infoconomy revealed only one-third of companies surveyed do so.
It is possible either to develop a generic disaster recovery plan, which can be adapted to any situation, or to develop customized disaster recovery plans, to deal with individual industries, or specific risk and disaster scenarios.
We have written many topics regarding disaster planning, here are 5 key areas of a disaster plan. To create and maintain a business continuity plan that is a corporate must that necessitates a serious commitment of time and resources, making sure all systems and process analyses are performed and then remaining dedicated to supporting all the steps all along the way. This realization shows the high degree of direct impact that not having a business continuity strategy can have on a company's bottom line.
Pay particular attention to fluctuating business conditions as well as the addition of new technologies and applications. Businesses are becoming more and more reliant on their IT infrastructure, and as a result Disaster Recovery Planning has become more critical than ever before.
Clearly, the need for a realistic disaster recovery plan is currently being understated by many companies. When meeting with a current or prospective vendor to discuss business continuity planning, it’s often difficult to understand how the vendor’s continuity plan aligns with your own plan and needs. A disaster recovery plan that considers every disastrous scenario and utilizes every resource possible holds the potential to save lives. Assessing the quality of your vendors’ recovery capabilities in the areas that are important to your own business continuity is what will help you the most in this process. Disasters can happen anywhere, and with data multiplying by the day, businesses increasingly rely heavily on email, instant messages, social media, and other electronically generated information.

Disaster recovery planning and the process of getting the business back up and running is crucial. Particularly for smaller businesses, it may not be possible to transfer production or sales to a different location, or provide the other facilities that would help to prevent a risk from impacting on the business.
Having a system that accommodates both day-to-day group communications as well as emergency messaging and can reach people via voice messages, SMS texts, emails or even social media sites can change the game: from not prepared in emergency situations, to business running as normal even in the event of factors that would normally threaten business continuity. To read the third article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 3: Continuity Planning. The continuity plan must include communication with stakeholders for all such emergencies, even when the risk to the business has been avoided. Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level following a business disruption and are prioritized by the recovery time objectives (RTO) developed during the business impact analysis.Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. Equipping converted space with furnishings, equipment, power, connectivity and other resources would be required to meet the needs of workers.Partnership or reciprocal agreements can be arranged with other businesses or organizations that can support each other in the event of a disaster.
The importance of putting in place at least a generic disaster recovery plan can hardly be over-estimated in today’s industrial world.
As we enter 2015 and many of us set goals or complete planning for 2015, I strongly encourage you to review disaster planning for your company.
It is equally important for an organization to devise both of these plans in conjunction as each, on its own, will not be able to provide the level of preparedness and protection today's businesses demand to remain up and running under any conditions. While any interruption to revenue generation undeniably plays a major role in the need for business continuity, it is not the only factor that should be considered when analyzing the optimal business continuity approach.
Business continuity and disaster recovery should be thought of not as a task to be completed but as a living and breathing exercise. Awesome Agency can help you go beyond basic vendor risk management and assist you in getting your business back up and running after an interruption. While disaster recovery primarily involves protecting IT infrastructure and data from disabling events after an equipment or site failure, business continuity targets a more comprehensive, business-focused approach for maintaining the availability of mission-critical applications and data in the face of any type of disruption.
Among the most tangible consequences of service downtime, besides the adverse effect on revenues, is the derailment of everyday business systems that help organizations operate productively.
It has been estimated that 20% of companies which experience a disaster go out of business within about five years of the event.
To find out how EPIC’s Disaster Recovery Planning Services can help your organization, call or email us today!
Ask yourself these questions to help determine who your critical vendors are—the ones that can have a major impact on your business if they are unable to sufficiently operate after a business interruption. If reading these questions led to more questions than answers, your business is in need of a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Begin your Emergency Preparedness Planning now with a free online demonstration of Regroup’s powerful, secure and easy-to-use group messaging and emergency notification system today or for more information, talk to a Regroup Communications Consultant at 775-476-8710. Regardless of the company’s perceptions, to ensure continuous data protection, businesses need to stop thinking of disaster recovery as an expense but rather a lifeline. A disaster recovery plan is a company’s ‘insurance policy’ that ensures business continuity. Periodic review of the agreement is needed to determine if there is a change in the ability of each party to support the other.There are many vendors that support business continuity and information technology recovery strategies. The vast majority of businesses are placing increasing emphasis on the importance of their communication and IT functions, either for managing supply chains, or for dealing with customer transactions and customer service. Arguably, the most important aspect in preparing any business continuity plan is validating the combined technology and business processes to ensure they work together seamlessly. As the senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, Ken Horner is responsible for the worldwide roll out of BakBone's overall strategy and business development activities that will drive future growth for the Company, and the direct sales development, channel management activities and revenue growth in the North and South America regions.
A DRP is actually one element of the business continuity management process, which involves working out how all aspects of the business will keep functioning, after a major disruption. There are a variety of intangible costs that indirectly impact the bottom line, which all accelerate the growing demand for greater business resiliency. Therefore, a successful business continuity plan delivers more than the ability to restore or recover data; it improves the company's financial performance by ensuring sustained workforce productivity and revenue generation. Understanding your critical vendors’ business interruption resiliency and recovery capabilities will help you feel more secure doing business with them. Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text VersionWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money.

Even when this is the case, the continuity plan must still address them, an earthquake proof building is of no benefit unless staff are instructed to congregate in it and other safe areas.
Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. External suppliers can provide a full business environment including office space and live data centers ready to be occupied. When considering how to set up a generic disaster recovery plan, it is important to ensure it is applicable to every possible disaster.
To improve these odds, organizations should implement a "closed loop" process for deploying and maintaining their business continuity strategies. EPIC Information Solutions can assist you in building redundancy and high availability into your IT Infrastructure to protect your business against downtime and system failures.
I wonder if businesses that choose not to consider disaster recovery do so because they think it will not happen to them.
To read the 4th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 4: Disaster prevention and avoidance.
The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers with sufficient knowledge of the business. It is preferable to keep the generic disaster recovery plan concise, focusing on the most essential information required when a disaster strikes.
Disasters are a part of life on earth, and our preparedness for them will determine how quickly we are able to respond and recover.
Smaller businesses, for whom the impacts of any event could be significantly greater, can often overlook the necessity for disaster recovery planning. Once all worksheets are completed, the worksheets can be tabulated to summarize:the operational and financial impacts resulting from the loss of individual business functions and processthe point in time when loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impactsThose functions or processes with the highest potential operational and financial impacts become priorities for restoration. Emergency planning and disaster recovery is not simply about preparing for a terrorist attack or earthquake, being prepared for a power outage or unexpected staff absence or incident can equally help in ensuring business continuity. The Business Continuity Resource Requirements worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers. Once you know what your risks are, what their impact might be and the likelihood of them arising, you can begin planning how to avoid or mitigate them. Completed worksheets are used to determine the resource requirements for recovery strategies.Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations. This is where the continuity plan really comes into its own, in providing detailed instructions on mitigating the effects of risks and minimizing disruption. Meetings with individual managers should be held to clarify information and obtain missing information.After all worksheets have been completed and validated, the priorities for restoration of business processes should be identified.
This is why the continuity plan needs to be a living document that takes account of feedback from tests and genuine emergencies. Businesses should consider disaster recovery plans a necessity in order to ensure that the services they promise will not be interrupted. Again, this should be an ongoing procedure with post-incident reviews feeding into improving the continuity plan. From brainstorming threat scenarios to notifying customers about service changes, having a robust and reliable mass communication system is the critical to your plan’s success. To read the second article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 2: Risk Assessment.
We are seeing more and more extreme weather and more than ever businesses need a solid business disaster recovery plan.
Disasters are often out of our control, but you can be prepared with a backup and disaster recovery plan. However, recent technological and information advances mean that no business, large or small, has an excuse not to be prepared.

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