Would your business survive?
Posted by Andrew Spencer on 27/11/2011
Planning for recovery from a disaster is essential for all businesses, large or small. Having a disaster recovery plan is a vital part of doing business. Without it something such as a catastrophic failure of your server(s), the loss of your offices, your phones, your Internet connection etc. or a combination of any of these could mean that you cease trading. So how do you plan to ensure your business continues?
with the right plan any disaster doesn't have to be the end of your business
The first thing to note is that every businesses' plan is different as no two businesses are the same. Creating a disaster recovery plan involves planning for recovery of business functions and processes, people, and IT and telecommunications systems.
The business ...
You need to decide what constitutes a disaster and the timeframe which makes the loss a disaster. Examples of loss might well include loss of building housing offices/systems, loss of resources such as power or telecommunications or total loss of IT systems. Timeframe? How long can you survive without your email/email server?
Each business function needs to be analysed to determine what, if anything, needs to be recovered from a disaster in a 24 hour, 1 week, 2 week, 3 week and 1 month timeframe. Assume the original office has been recovered after 1 month or new premises occupied. This diagram helps in this phase of the planning:
even the simplest plan can speed up your recovery
Recovery is quite probably off site; a second site belonging to the company or group, a fall back centre with rented servers and workstations, or mobile/remote working. Components needed in the plan to make off site recovery work include:
Telecommunications/PABX and/or ACD functions,
Application and file servers,
Connectivity for remote workstations and people.
Document the plan in detail and store off site, preferably in a secured website on the Internet. Stocks of letterhead, standard business forms and other key stationary should be stored off site electronically and physically.
A critical part of disaster recovery planning is not technical but people related. A personal disaster recovery plan needs working out for every employee, driven by the business function analysis.
This personal plan should include where the employee is to be relocated to - another site, fall back centre or home, what they need to work and timeframe to be recovered in.
IT Systems and telecommunications ...
A very key part of the plan is how IT systems are recovered. Just identifying what needs recovering in terms of applications, the amount of data being generated daily and the criticality of each application is a hard task!
The rebuild processes for servers have to be determined and documented. This includes creating inventories of software in use, versions, service packs, patches etc. The same needs to be done for workstations, laptops and all permitted remote devices.
The recovery process itself needs to be determined. A complex area that is entirely predicated on what the business needs recovering when and where.
The plan should include recovery of telephone calls, how and what numbers to where. Was telephone traffic originally geographic based or to non-geographic numbers - the latter are much easier to re-route and to plan for emergency re-routing. Data communications fall back? Internet access? All need to be factored.
This is just a taste of what needs to be considered and how to go about planning for disaster. Workload Innovation is expert in developing this planning and helping your business survive. To find out more about disaster recovery, call me on +44 (0) 1908 565 460 and we'll put together a plan.
Until next time ...
During Andrew's extensive business career he has worked in a wide cross section of companies, specialising in the creation of contact centres and business systems, software development, telecommunications and project management. Andrew's key skills are:
Business planning and strategy
Matching technology to business needs
Software development and implementation
Designing and implementing business systems
His work has included sourcing and implementing a new integrated telecoms system for National Energy Services, designing and project managing a new IT and telephony structure for the Greyhound Racing Association, and directing technology development for Wembley plc.