Disaster recovery and business continuity are terms that are frequently used together, because they both deal with how organizations handle disruptive events. Yet, they have very different meanings.
According to TechTarget, disaster recovery is a set of specific steps taken to resume operations in the aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster or national emergency. Business continuity describes the processes and procedures an organization must put in place to ensure that mission-critical functions can continue during and after a disaster.
Disruptive events can be anything from a power outage, to a natural disaster to, a terrorist attack. Many organizations seemingly dismiss that any disaster could happen to them; but statistics point out otherwise. In a recent report, it was cited that nearly 60% of large organizations experience a major IT outage at least monthly, stemming from security incidents and IT glitches. Furthermore, 90% of large businesses report experiencing at least one major IT incident during the year.
What can you afford to lose?
Businesses tend to do the bare minimum given the costs involved in implementing a BCDR solution; and, as a result of their failure to consider the costs and business impacts of possible disruptions, the downstream effects of this can be significant and long lasting.
There are two key metrics you need to take into consideration when planning your BCDR strategy – recovery point objective and recovery time objective. These objectives will be different for every company depending on how long you can be without your data.
RPO refers to the amount of time for which it is tolerable to lose data should a disruptive event occur. RPO largely determines the frequency of data replication required. You need to be able to determine how much work can be lost without impacting your business. RTO refers to the window of time between a disruptive event and a return to operational status. This means deciding how much time you can afford between the moment of the disaster and when users can work again.
The value of a BCDR plan
When you develop a BCDR plan, it needs to be comprehensive and yet flexible. A good BCDR plan will:
- Save time during an emergency
- Get you back in the drivers seat with key information (contacts and technical)
- Be effective when addressing problems with assigned roles for staff
- Understand exactly what is going on
- Have a plan for communication with employees, customers, suppliers and the community
- Resource management to fix disruption in time expected
- Keep you in compliance with any regulations
- Return to normal operations and determine lessons learned
The Arrow Advantage
“Arrow partners get the advantage of having a comprehensive set of suppliers who can help make disaster recovery and business continuity planning and implementation easier for end-user customers,” said Adam Catbagan, Arrow Manager of Technical Services. “We also offer our partners Technology Services and a Solutions Lab that can extend partner design and implementation capabilities. “
If you would like more information on how to help your end-customers develop disaster recovery or business continuity plans, contact your Arrow representative.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.