[INFOGRAPHIC] Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Research shows that 80 percent of businesses without a well structured recovery plan are forced to shut down within 12 months of a flood or a fire, proving that preparation really does make a difference. Take a look at this infographic from Dell to learn more about the effects a disaster recovery plan (or lack thereof) could have on your business-critical data. 



Dell Infographic "Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery"
Now that you know the importance of a disaster recovery plan, check out our best practices on how to keep your data secure in the cloud

BC/DR for Small, Medium and Large Businesses — Part 1

Rentsys' business continuity services in graphic form
We're always saying every business needs business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans — and they do — but how do plans differ for small, medium and large companies? In this three-part series, we'll break it down for you in terms of Rentsys' business continuity services. Small businesses are up first.

Generally speaking, smaller companies have fewer employees, meaning their BC/DR manager probably has several other job functions and can't focus solely on BC/DR. Because employees at smaller companies tend to take on multiple roles, it's more difficult for a single employee to give the company's BC/DR planning the focus it needs.

Small businesses also tend to have tighter budgets, so they're typically selective about outsourcing services. When working with a third-party BC/DR vendor, it's best for small companies to budget for the most crucial services. Here are the services we recommend for small businesses, along with a few reasons why they're important.

Quickship


When a disaster strikes or a business interruption occurs, one of the most crucial aspects of recovery is technology. Without servers, PCs, phones and printers, your business can't function, which has a detrimental effect on your revenue. In fact, researchers estimate that small businesses lose $3,000 each day they're closed after a disaster strikes.

You may choose to maintain an in-house inventory of backup technology, but keeping up with maintenance, depreciation and replacement can be logistically and financially challenging. Rentsys' Quickship recovery enables you to recover your business quickly while helping you save on the overall expense of purchasing and maintaining backup equipment. With this solution, you can have backup technology preloaded with your operating systems and applications delivered to you within 24 hours of a business interruption. Depending on the scenario, you can choose to use all your contracted recovery equipment or just a few items.

Business Recovery Center


If you experience a disaster that knocks out both your technology and your physical location, you need to be able to relocate your business operations as soon as possible. You may have backup technology accounted for, but it's equally important to consider your recovery location. As a small business, a work-from-home strategy can be feasible, but bear in mind that this solution presents several logistical challenges.

To accommodate a smooth recovery, we recommend that small businesses contract a fully operational recovery facility. We have Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) located in the Northeast, South Central, Midwest and Northwest regions of the country that can meet Tier 1 to Tier 3 recovery time objectives. Each of our BRCs provide data and voice communications technology and office resources preloaded with your data so your business can continue its daily operations.

Professional Planning Services


As we mentioned earlier, it's difficult for one employee to focus all their attention on BC/DR efforts when they have several separate responsibilities. Business continuity consultants can help you analyze every aspect of your BC/DR plan to make sure there are no kinks. 

If you're in an industry with strict regulatory requirements, such as the financial or healthcare industries, a professional planner will keep up with the ever-changing federal regulations to help keep your business compliant. You can rest assured that you're doing what's best for your company because you'll have a consultant who's an expert in continuity planning.

Be sure to check back with us next month to find out what services medium-sized businesses should use.

Compliance Concerns Are Rising — Here's What You Can Do About It

digital numbers with digitized lock
According to Accenture's 2013 Global Risk Study, regulatory requirements rank as a top-five risk category for financial, government, insurance and other industries. In fact, 30 percent more companies plan to increase their compliance efficiency.

The rising concern with compliance stems from both changes in legislation (such as Basel III and Dodd-Frank) and tighter corporate governance requirements.

Compliance Challenges Businesses Face


When it comes to compliance, businesses often have difficulty keeping up with the constant changes. There are several aspects to keep up with, so it sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.

The Rising Popularity of Technology

Today businesses have the ability to use technology for most every business function, from communications to supply chain fulfillment. In many cases, technology helps businesses achieve regulatory compliance due to the requirement for disaster recovery plans.

For example, when Hurricane Katrina stuck New Orleans, LA, over 1 million paper medical files were destroyed, leaving the hospitals responsible for those records noncompliant. (Federal law requires hospitals to retain five years of patient records.) But by the time Hurricane Sandy struck, hospitals in Manhattan had a disaster recovery protocol in place with electronic files and were prepared for the storm.

The problem is, it's also become more difficult to maintain higher volumes of data and stay consistent. In fact, 99 percent of companies believe that managing compliance risk is a top priority, but only 29 percent of businesses are currently capable of managing risk activities.

Insufficient Communication With Regulators

Businesses are struggling with efficiently responding to regulatory changes, and 57 percent say a communication breakdown with the government is to blame. To help deal with this challenge, some businesses, particularly in the banking industry, are creating positions for dedicated regulatory program managers. But this creates another problem. Now 58 percent of companies report a shortage in regulatory program manager talent.

Disjointed Corporate Response to Regulations

It's essential for all business functions to mesh, especially when it comes to compliance. If only half of the departments are considered compliant, the business is still noncompliant. Yet 48 percent of companies think senior management lacks integrated responses to regulatory reform. Similarly, 40 percent of businesses think that the long-term strategies don't align with regulatory reform. 

How You Can Respond to Compliance Concerns


Accenture reports that "many industries are being forced to rethink their business models, processes, reporting and data structures to better enable effective regulatory solutions." If your business is struggling to manage large amounts of data, stay up-to-date on regulations, retain in-house risk management experts or sync your business's goals with regulations, it might be time to look outside your walls for help.

Using a professional planning consultant who's familiar with your industry can help you manage growing amounts of data, monitor regulatory changes and help your company develop a cohesive risk management strategy.

If you're one of the fortunate businesses who has a regulatory program manager on your team, continuity planning software can help facilitate the process of creating the risk management plan by clearly outlining objectives and making it easy for department representatives to provide key information about their specific business functions.

Do you have any other tips for improving compliance efficiency? 

How to Prepare for Your Phone Systems Going Down

close-up of phone
Voice communication technology is one of the top five expenses for businesses, yet it's not uncommon for management to fail to have procedures for restoring voice systems in the event of a major disruption.

A loss of internal/external communication can disable an organization, so we've outlined some best practices for you to keep in mind when including voice system restoration in your disaster recovery plan.


Don't Leave Employees out of the Loop

  • Let employees know you have an emergency response plan.
  • Establish a clear protocol for communication.
  • Develop a list of employee personal phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Continually update lists and make sure current emergency contact information for employees is on file and accessible.
  • Use a variety of communication channels to provide information such as bulletin boards, intranet pages and email.

 

Use a DR Vendor That Provides Voice Recovery Services

  • Your chosen vendor should:
    •  Allow you to declare use of equipment without restrictions on what constitutes a disaster declaration.
    • Deliver office technology within your recovery time objective.
    • Be available on demand.
    • Provide both setup and support for the duration of the disaster.

 

Prepare for the Unexpected 

  • Keep backup copies of system and voicemail databases, instruction manuals and other documentation, and store backups in a secure off-site location. 
  • Incorporate automatic call distribution services. In the event of an interruption, reroute your main phone number redirected to an alternate phone system so you won't lose incoming calls. Have backup phone operators in case your primary operators are unavailable.
  • Document disaster recovery plans that provide step-by-step procedures to restart and recover voice communications systems and networks. Regularly test these procedures to make sure they work. (Check out this video to learn about the importance of testing your DR plan.)
Get more information about protecting your voice communications system here.