While business continuity is rarely a neglected boardroom conversation topic, executive leaders often designate the bare minimum of attention and effort to this function. Even if a company boasts a fairly robust recovery suite or has a seemingly firm grasp on the details of its employee action plan, there are still many aspects of continuity that don't receive the urgency and support they need in an age when downtime is a business death knell. As companies come upon the end of the year, it's a perfect time to evaluate the shortcomings of their recovery plans and fill in all the blanks.
Successfully patching up a continuity strategy, however, requires an understanding of what a comprehensive blueprint entails, as well as the technology and techniques to bring make these aspirations a reality. The first step in this process is recognizing that effective continuity outlooks aren't comprised of piecemeal tactics and tools, but rather a layered structure of support that accounts for every aspect of the business' ongoing productivity and performance. Here is a look into three of these key layers and how they should be factored into a company's continuity strategy.
"Effective continuity outlooks aren't comprised of piecemeal tactics and tools, but rather a layered structure of support."
Data and app restoration: The actual disaster recovery portion of a business continuity plan covers much less ground than the typical boardroom may think, but there is still a great deal of complexity within this facet of the program. Today's organizations must take into account factors such as the restorative capabilities of their backup environments, the prioritization of key apps and data, as well as the control they exert over benchmarks such as recovery time and point objectives.
If decision-makers feel that the IT portion of their continuity is lagging behind, there are a number of technologies available to ramp up their efforts with minimal alterations to the infrastructure. Virtualization, for instance, facilitates the creation of incremental snapshots that preserve virtual machine images in a frequent and highly accurate manner, according to TechTarget. This ensure relevant and timely restoration of key digital assets.
A clear staff action plan: Even with a completely restored IT environment at the ready, an organization needs to shore up continuity procedures for personnel by developing highly detailed action plans that lead individuals and teams through chaotic scenarios toward safety and resumed productivity. This means not only mapping out the step-by-step protocols for any conceivable disruptive situation, but also fortifying the blueprint with notifications sent directly to the appropriate parties in a crisis.
Physical workstation support: Remote access policies may prove convenient for a time immediately following a disaster, but the use of personal devices in an off-premise environment is simply too risky – and out of sync with the pulse of the business – to be reliable for any significant stretch. The most resilient organizations, according to Channel Partners Online, are built with a layer of long-term continuity assurance that will account for the days and weeks following an interruption – not just the succeeding hours.
Dedicated workspaces are a powerful tool to drive mid- and long-range performance when primary office environments are offline for an unpredictable length of time. With the addition of equipment delivery and power services, additional workstations can be set up wherever – whenever – the need may arise.