[Webinar Recap] Getting the Most Value From Your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan

A water main break wreaks havoc on a business’s facility. Civil rioting forces employees to steer clear of their main facility. A fire reduces a building to a gutted, ashy shell. A mass software update requires all hands on deck. Heavy rains and flash flooding make a downtown commute out of the question. A booming business requires a new facility faster than it can expand.

You might place some of these events on opposite ends of the disaster spectrum, but they all have one thing in common: They’re all real-life examples of situations that had the potential to cause significant business interruptions.

Mobile bank branch open for business
Photo courtesy of Service Credit Union
During a recent Association of Contingency Planners webinar, Rentsys National Sales Manager David Tedford and one of our clients, Service Credit Union CIO Bill Arnold, spoke about how businesses can gain the most value from their contracted business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) solutions by implementing them for both disaster- and non-disaster-related scenarios.

 Service Credit Union, for example, has used a mobile bank branch to recover from a fire and to accommodate customers during a branch expansion project.

The webinar is over, but to hear more about Service Credit Union’s experiences, you can access the recorded presentation here.

Business Continuity Planning Best Practices From ‘Jurassic World’

In the movie "Jurassic World," genetic scientists produce a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur named Indominus Rex — a move intended to wow the park's customers and create new revenue streams.

Jurassic World
Image courtesy of Universal Studios
While your company likely won't ever face the unique challenges of wrangling carnivorous dinosaurs, "Jurassic World" does illustrate three best practices of business continuity planning. By following the steps below, you can be more equipped when an event such as a hurricane, power outage or data breach tries to wreak havoc on your business like Indominous Rex wreaks havoc on Jurassic World.

Be Aware of the Risks You Might Face

Being familiar with the unique risks your company faces is important, whether that be knowing the types of natural disasters that are common in your area or being aware that your company is developing genetically modified hybrid dinosaurs.

A risk assessment can help you evaluate the potential hazards to your company. In some cases, it's beneficial to get a neutral third-party perspective from a business continuity consultant. For example, having a technical risk assessment performed can help you identify risks to your technical environment that you might not have considered before.

Make Sure Employees Are Trained

Keeping your employees trained and aware of what to do in disaster situations and other business interruptions is necessary to minimize panic. In "Jurassic World," for example, an untrained employee might see an escaped velociraptor and sit there screaming in fear, while a trained employee would know to stay calm and sound an alarm. Knowing the right thing to do is crucial to the safety and well-being of all employees.

Training and awareness workshops can help educate your employees on what steps to take during a crisis. Whether it's a hurricane or an escaped dinosaur, your team needs to be equipped for every situation.

Determine Weak Areas in Your Plan

Tabletop exercises help target weak links in your business processes so you can take steps for continual improvement. For example, if you're in "Jurassic Park," these exercises could help determine that the Indominus Rex is uncontrollable and unsafe for public display. If you’re in the business world, tabletop exercises could help you determine you need to update your company’s procedures for responding to a specific scenario, such as a flu pandemic.

After identifying weak areas in your disaster recovery and business continuity plan, your business continuity planner can help you create action steps for improving your ability to avoid or minimize downtime.

For more Jurassic-style planning tips, check out this post.

Avoid Panicking This International Panic Day

Panic (also known as anxiety) affects 40 million adults above the age of 18 in the U.S. daily. June 18 is International Panic Day, but this is one holiday we won't be celebrating — and hope you won't be either.
In the face of a disaster, panic can lead to impulse decisions that may result in major business losses. Fortunately, there are a variety of precautions you can take to provide peace of mind in times of panic.

Vault Door

Back up Data

Technology is taking over the business world, so it's critical that backup plans be implemented to keep your data safe and secure. When companies cannot recover data, 60 percent will shut down within six months of the disaster.

Cloud-based services provide rapid data backup and recovery in a secure and private cloud environment. By eliminating excess on-premise infrastructure, businesses have more functional space and data remains easily accessible. Key features like a self-service portal allow businesses to monitor their environment and execute smaller scale recoveries if needed.

Simplify Workspace Recovery

With $1.7 trillion lost due to downtime and data losses, companies need to have an alternate work environment available at the time of an emergency. A business continuity plan lacking this feature can put disaster recovery efforts to a halt.

One option is a virtual office, in which your desktop environment is hosted within the cloud. In case of a server crash, you will be able to get your desktops back up and running within minutes instead of days.

Test Your Enterprise

No matter what backup system you choose, always test your recovery plan before you have to use it. This will help you work out any kinks before a crisis arises. With recovery engineers assisting you throughout the process, testing your recovery services will be efficient and painless. To learn more about the importance of testing your plan, check out our video.

If you're interested in more information on disaster recovery, check out some business continuity myths revealed.

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