Ensuring business continuity with disaster preparedness

Ensuring business continuity with disaster preparedness

Hurricane season is upon Miami, and in the time of COVID-19, expecting the unexpected has become the norm. This year, many businesses learned the hard way how difficult it can be to cope with disaster without a plan. Addressing issues brought about by disaster tends to eat at a business’s resources, which can be threatened if the disaster also affects service provision and product availability.

The Sunshine State regularly experiences a smattering of natural disasters like floods, storms, fires, and even hurricanes. Needless to say, operating your business without a disaster response strategy is like skydiving without a parachute. So make sure you’re ready for the worst, should it come knocking.

What are disaster preparedness plans?

Disaster preparedness entails having a disaster response plan (DRP), a set of actions you and your staff will perform as a response to the onset of a disaster. The main goal of a DRP is to protect your employees, your investments, and your business’s future.

An IT DRP is similar in principle to people-oriented emergency plans, but with the added benefit of mitigating your business’s financial and material losses. Most businesses that endure disasters are able to swiftly resume operations, sometimes even in a matter of hours after shutting down.

Related article: Can Your Business Survive a Disaster?

What’s the difference between business continuity plans and DRPs?

Disaster preparedness is only one — but crucial — component of business continuity planning. In the world of business and commerce, the business continuity plan outlines the steps an organization will take to maintain business functions or quickly resume operations should a disaster force the company to pause. The DRP focuses on restoring the information and communications infrastructure so the company can proceed with the rest of its business continuity strategies.

How can my business build a DRP?

  1. Assess
    The first step in disaster response planning (DR planning) is assessing your business’s processes to establish vulnerabilities and potential losses should you experience extended downtime. This will give you an idea of the direction your business should take to improve its ability to respond and adapt to a disaster.

  2. Develop
    The development phase is comprised of the following steps:

    • Specify the plan’s scope of coverage.
    • Identify key business areas to be given priority.
    • Identify mission-critical functions.
    • Identify dependencies and relationships between various business components.
    • Establish the acceptable downtime limits for all functions.
    • Synergize the details into a response plan.
  3. Test
    Testing is a critical part of any DRP. It allows you to identify gaps in your plan while there's still time to tweak it to make sure it will work in case of a disaster. The worst thing any DR planner can do is assume that their plan is foolproof. By putting your plan through disaster simulations, you’ll see if strategies that work on paper work as intended in the real world.

  4. Evolve
    Once testing yields satisfactory results, then you can deploy your plan. But just because the plan is deployed doesn’t mean you can set it and forget it. The moment your DRP is deployed, it should enter the evolve stage, where the plan continues to be developed and adapted to respond to new threats, and take advantage of emerging technologies and techniques every day.

Can a managed services provider (MSP) help with disaster planning?

An MSP can absolutely make a big difference. You can consult your MSP with regard to the direction and strategies your business can take. What’s more, you can enlist your existing partner MSP to have intimate involvement in your disaster planning activities. This way, you can clearly and realistically set goals and maximize your MSP’s technological offerings while minimizing costs as much as possible.

Related article: Cost reduction through managed services

Face any disaster without the weight of uncertainty. Build your company’s IT disaster response framework to ensure a stable future and protect your investments. Contact us today to learn more.

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