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Business continuity vs. Disaster recovery

  • A pandemic hits the world - > 200,000 people affected, businesses are counting costs, countries facing an economic fallout, & then there is BCP and DRP that is capable of preventing your business from being affected, through preparedness

Business Continuity Vs Disaster Recovery Planning - Insights on Core Differences

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Evon Technologies believe a company’s preparedness ensures the viability of critical functions and business processes. To secure the delivery of its products and services and to keep the business operations running, a company should prepare a business continuity plan of action during and immediately after any natural disaster or pandemic strikes.

Consecutive to it, Disaster recovery is the way one responds following the disaster to bring the entire situation and operations back to normal. This segment is specific to Information Technology (IT) and data-centric functions of the business and is a subset of Business Continuity. 

Below is a table that explicitly explains the characteristics of a Natural Disaster and a Pandemic. 

Table 1: Nature of Natural Disaster vs. Pandemic
Table that explains the difference between the nature of natural disaster and pandemic
Source: Computer Economics, 2020 

 

Two similar initiatives with crucial differences

A Catastrophic strike is what calls for Business continuity planning (BCP) followed by Disaster recovery planning (DRP). When you weigh both the strategies, you’ll understand the former covers the entire organization making it business-centric while the latter focuses on the IT department and is data-centric.

BCP ensures the workforce in a company has uninterrupted access to data so that there is continuous business functionality while ensuring the safety of the employees. Disaster recovery planning focuses on a recovery plan that facilitates the complete restoration of the company’s data after it is hit by a disaster, ensuring that the business runs like it usually does. This plan seems to be more preventative while the continuity plan centers around carrying out smooth business operations.

 

BCP and DRP - Deemed necessary

Statistics state that “for companies that fail to recover from a disaster-related disruption within one month, 80 percent are likely to go out of business. For companies without continuity plans, 75 percent fail within three years of a major interruption”.

https://isca.org.sg/media/777753/2015-global-risk-management-report-230415.pdf

A planned document covering all the aspects of the company's disaster prevention, mitigation and response, and the recovery protocols will make sure a pandemic or natural disaster does not majorly affect or bring down your business. Provided, make sure that the business continuity plan is disaster specific.

By bringing alterations to your business practices as required will let you maintain critical operations, be it the identification of alternative suppliers, prioritizing customers, considering digital meetings, or temporarily suspending some of your actions, if required). An effective plan will cover all the points that are necessary for a business to recover from a disaster.    

 

It’s the need of the hour for every business, post COVID-19

Diane Swonk, the chief economist at Grant Thornton, said,Coronavirus (COVID-19) hits the heart of the economy, and it hits the economy on all sides. Around the globe, people are aware of the virus’s potential to disturb a company's operations, considering how it has strained the other facets so far. We’re facing a time when countries are under a dramatic lock-down. The streets are empty, restaurants, cinemas, schools, & offices shut, and let’s not forget the extensive travel ban. And, our awareness on the other harsh pieces of evidence ushers its deleterious effect on the humans, businesses, and the economy.

Worldwide, major companies have come to a resort where they understand the need to avoid workplace exposure to the disease and are implementing a business continuity strategy to protect their employees and assets from it coincidently ensuring continuity of operations. Adjust a BCP and DRP that allows you to put safeguards in place so that you’re prepared to withstand the repercussions of the disaster or the pandemic.

We realize that life is so uncertain, and disasters at any moment can bring with them unprecedented challenges. At times like these, being prepared does no harm. 

 

Components of a BCP

Figure 1: Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Lifecycle
Critical steps for preparing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP lifecycle)
The above lifecycle gives you the critical steps for preparing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Identify the possible risks that your area is likely to face and be cautious of the ones that could come unexpectedly. Your BCP will always feel the need to be altered as per the disaster and its nature (for reference, see table 1 above).

Understand and learn the impact that the catastrophe could cause to your business - the assets, employees, inventory, equipment, etc. and further, the time-sensitive and critical measures that are necessary to take in favour of the business continuity and risk management. 

Post the business continuity assessment, document a strong business continuity plan that covers the safety & security of the staff, premises, assets, and operations. On the approval of the detailed procedure, make arrangements, take measures, and prepare cost estimates required to mitigate threats and risks. Build a team around it, assigning each one their responsibilities. 

Validation of the plan is what will make sure it is an effective one and not just a strategy. Disregarding that, only 30% of businesses validate their business continuity plans. You must test every aspect of the program, ensuring it is full-proof. The validation should possess the three components that are exercising, maintenance, and review for your BCP and DRP to be a strategic plan.

 

Suggestive measures to include in your BCP and DRP - COVID-19

As the majority of the businesses are involved in online transactions, data protection becomes the number one concern. Discontinuation of operations due to loss of data is something we at Evon would want to avoid and we’re sure even you would too. Paying bills, billing customers, or accessing the inventory information can become impossible as a result of it. Besides, the other initiatives that should interest you are mentioned below.

  1. Articulate the various response protocols every employee in the company must complete, ensuring preparedness in the event of an emergency.
  2. We take it as the duty of the employer to keep their employees informed and updated on the happenings and status of the virus.
  3. If a company already has a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, they should consider updating it as per the COVID-19. If not, they should come up with a new one. 
  4. Consider the issues that might arise with regards to business-related travel, or suspension of operations due to COVID-19.
  5. Consider the possibility of changes to a product, service, or interaction with customers due to COVID-19.
  6. Make sure to compose an emergency communication plan for every employee.
  7. Prepare policies on sick leave, compassionate leave, foreign travel, keeping in mind COVID-19.
  8. Ensure every employee follows respiratory etiquettes and hand hygiene policies. 
  9. Take care of the needs of the staff overseas.
  10. Make arrangements to ensure sufficient supplies during the COVID-19 event.
  11. Review insurance coverage.
  12. Ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of the workplace as per national recommendations.
  13. Plan and prepare the following policies as guided by national recommendations and assure to provide the means to implement the same 
  • Hygienic behaviour for employees and visitors entering the premises.
  • To guide those who are infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19.
  • Teleworking and flexible working times.

    14. Prepare a weekly and monthly backup of data and servers.

I would suggest an online project and task management tool, Findnerd, which is so much more than just that. A platform to collaborate and learn technical skills, get access to an online desktop recorder, and a collaborative marketplace for small business owners and experts. The best part about it is that it’s free.

Note: The pandemic, COVID-19, has hit the world and affected businesses as none could imagine. The fact that makes it saddening is that the damage done could have been controlled if people were aware. This information we have shared is us doing our bit to spread knowledge about Business continuity and Risk Management planning so that companies could practice the measures mentioned and understand the importance of preparedness from this very day.

We are sharing the plans that we ourselves are practising at Evon Technologies for the safety of our employees and our business operations. Let’s together stand against COVID-19. To add, we are offering a free downloadable Business Continuity plan Template that you can use as it is or customize it as per your need by making a copy of it in a new document. 

Nobody knows it all, so stay aware, take precautions, and support each other at a time like this.

 

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Business Continuity Plan Template

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