Businesses today do not tolerate downtime, as each minute can cost millions. But sometimes, natural disasters, a cyberattack, or human error can cause a company to stop temporarily. A business standstill due to a natural disaster is easier to accept since natural calamities are uncontrollable.

But no matter how prepared you are, there are things that you cannot prevent, especially cyberattacks and human errors. With the furious rate of cyber attacks of late, businesses must remain vigilant and prepare thoroughly. A defensive stance would be to have an intensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan to ensure business resilience and your company’s survival. As it is, an organization, big or small, will face financial losses due to a cyber-attack or a natural calamity. Thus, being prepared for this eventuality will minimize losses and help your business resume its operations.

It is not only the responsibility of the IT department to ensure data protection. It should be a combined responsibility of everyone in the organization, led by the company executives, the IT department, and the individual workers. With BCDR, an organization can efficiently bounce back from any disruptions caused by a cyberattack while ensuring that the business continues to operate, according to Techopedia.

Separate components make up a whole

Business continuity and disaster recovery is a complete strategy, a fusion of business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR). These two components help to bring normalcy back to an organization after a disaster.

BC and DR complement one another, but their functions are not the same. A disaster recovery strategy focuses on IT, with strategic plans to restore vital data and IT applications to minimize downtime and the effects of the disaster. Meanwhile, business continuity is a strategy to keep the business running at an acceptable level despite the setback.

Although separate, the two components are vital parts of the overall risk management strategy of an organization. The components rely on each other to make the overall process a success. If you only have a disaster recovery plan, it will not ensure that your business operations will continue. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), frequent targets of cybercriminals, often fail to recover from cybercrime. Accordingly, about 60 percent of SMBs declare bankruptcy six months after a cyber disaster in 2020.

Ensuring business continuity and recovery from a disaster means both BC and DR plans must work together to lessen the impact of a disaster on the business.

There are various strategies that an organization can devise. Still, a comprehensive plan that includes specific procedures and actionable steps will determine how well a business can respond and resume operations after a challenging situation. For example, the business continuity plan should include strategies for unhindered functions critical to your business. In contrast, your disaster recovery plan should ensure that all your IT systems, applications, and software are recoverable and accessible.

Building a BCDR plan

A BCDR plan makes your company ready for any type of disaster, whether natural or artificial. But no matter how comprehensive your plan is, if you do not regularly test it, you’ll still be at a disadvantage when disaster happens.

Creating a business continuity and disaster recovery plan comprises many aspects, from your business processes and network security program.

Define the operations and critical assets

Carrying out a business impact analysis will guide you in drawing up your BCDR strategies. You start your plan by identifying your company’s processes and critical assets are vital in keeping the business running. Next, you need to define the operational and financial effects when each asset is lost. This approach helps you know what assets you are protecting, the value of these assets to your business, and how to protect them.

Determine the time to spend for downtime, availability, and recovery

This step means identifying the cost of each asset and how long the business can operate without accessing these vital resources. It will help you beef up your BCDR plan. For example, it would help ascertain how long your business can assume close to regular operation after a disaster. It’s likewise necessary to know how long it will take to recover data and restore your applications to normal functions.

Determine the recovery solutions

You can implement your BCDR plan by choosing the correct approach and tools according to your determined assets and window for recovery. Identify all gaps that could potentially lead to business disruption or worse, cyberattack. When you’re dependent on continuous data access, it’s vital to back up data frequently; thus, more of your solutions should focus on this. What’s essential for the effective planning of the BCDR program is to acknowledge the risks that your comprehensive assessment will uncover.

Develop a communications plan

When needed, efficient implementation of the BCDR program depends on the communication plan and the quick actions of the key people who are assigned roles and responsibilities. Select team members should know where the backup data is stored and who is assigned to retrieve them.

Regularly test and update the BCDR

Finally, it is critical to test the BCDR regularly. Ideally, the BCDR program should be tested every year. However, you can increase the frequency depending on the current situation. As a disaster, particularly the cyber kind, continues to evolve, any company needs to test the effectiveness and efficiency of the BCDR and ensure that it is updated to withstand the most current modes of cyberattacks.

How essential is a BCDR to your business?

You never know when disaster will strike, so the best defense is to be ready for any disruptive situation. Given the current business environment rife with a range of threats, having a BCDR program will boost a company’s ability to continue operations with minimal disruption.

It’s better to prepare for a significant disaster to ensure your business’s survival. Treat BCDR as a comprehensive insurance policy that can reduce overall risk and get your business up and running after a disruption, minimize data loss and protect your organization from reputational and financial damage.

In closing, your capacity to tackle any disaster will positively impact your customers and other stakeholders. A comprehensive BCDR program will boost your business resilience. But the program’s effectiveness depends on how extensive you evaluate the current state of your business and the actual definition of how disruption will have on your company. Do not forget that working with experts in disaster recovery is a primary option to ensure your protection.