Resolving to fix something or do something better in the New Year is an important first step. But if you expect to accomplish your goals, you need a plan. When it comes to data protection, the perfect storm of human error, cyberattacks, weather events, and hardware failure requires a robust business continuity plan.
Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery vs. Data Backup
Although these terms have definitions that overlap, each concept is unique and has a distinct purpose. Business continuity focuses on maintaining essential business operations during and after a system failure or some other disruptive event. Data backup and disaster recovery are both key components of your business continuity plan.
Disaster recovery is the process of restoring IT systems, data, applications, hardware, and software to enable business continuity. Data backup focuses on protecting your data by creating copies that can be restored in case the primary copy is inaccessible.
There are a number of data backup solutions on the market. You need to know what to look for so you can make an educated decision. This video explains the key differentiators for various types of backup.
Many organizations make the mistake of assuming their cloud data is automatically backed up. For example, Microsoft Office 365, the leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, does not provide organizations with native backup and recovery options, even for mission-critical data. Although Office 365 does include very basic capabilities for restoring lost or accidentally deleted data, these features don’t go nearly far enough to provide the level of data protection you need.
A true business continuity solution that accounts for disaster recovery and data backup will protect data on-premises and in the cloud. This includes automated local backup on hardware that’s purpose-built for data protection, as well as replication to a secure cloud. In the event of an outage, users can boot virtual machines directly from the device or in the cloud, allowing your organization to quickly resume normal operations with minimal downtime.
Calculating the Cost of Downtime
Every hour of downtime comes at a significant cost to small to midsize businesses (SMBs). But how much? Identifying your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective will help you understand the risk involved.
RTO is the maximum tolerable period of time to restore operations. In other words, how long can you afford to be without certain systems, data, and applications before your business gets into serious trouble?
RPO is the maximum tolerable period of time to lose data. In other words, how much data can you afford to lose without damaging your business? Your RPO tells you how frequently data backups should be performed to prevent this damage from happening.
The Datto Recovery Time Calculator can help you evaluate your RTO and RPO. Once you’ve determined your RTO and RPO, you can calculate how much downtime and lost data will actually cost by answering the following questions.
- How many employees would be affected if critical data were unavailable?
- What is the average wage of the affected employee (per hour)?
- What is the per-hour overhead cost of the affected employees?
- How much revenue would be lost per hour that data is unavailable?
Add up these figures to calculate the total cost of downtime and data loss. Defining your RTO and RPO and calculating the cost of downtime and data loss can give you the financial validation needed to justify the purchase and maintenance of a business continuity solution.
Test, Test, Test!
If you don’t test every component of your business continuity solution, how do you know it works? Do you really want to find out during a disaster?
Testing is the only way to identify gaps and glitches in your business continuity plan, including disaster recovery and data backup. This allows you to address those issues, test them again, and verify everything is working. You also need to make sure your team is trained in these procedures so everything runs smoothly. In addition to helping you determine if everything works, testing allows you to further validate your RTO, RTO, and cost calculations.
Testing of your business continuity plan should be conducted with an IT solutions company that has the expertise to properly evaluate the execution of the plan, pinpoint problem areas, and implement the proper fixes. This can be done without impacting business operations or your network.
What’s Your Plan for 2020?
Again, New Year’s Resolutions are helpful. A resolution shows you’ve identified a problem and are committed to finding a solution. Now, you need a plan to take you from point A to point B. The right business continuity plan will prepare you for a worst-case scenario.
Think of it this way. You have business insurance to protect your organization, your building, and your employees. What about your business data, the lifeblood of the organization? Most business liability insurance policies don’t cover data loss. And no insurance policy can restore lost data.
Ancero can help you make data protection a priority in 2020. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation business continuity assessment with one of our certified data protection solution specialists. Let’s create a business continuity plan that keeps your organization running smoothly!