Achieving Business Continuity
In the past few decades, the definition of “business disaster” has changed substantially. Now, the greatest threat most companies face isn’t a tornado or other natural disaster but rather a technology-based threat such as a cyberattack. However, recent weather has proven that natural disasters are still present and must be considered in any plan.
That can make the planning process overwhelming for some business leaders. They are already overburdened with the daily pressures of maintaining profits, keeping personnel safe from emerging health threats, and other pressing matters. Many are also trying to ensure a hybrid or remote workforce has the technologies they need to perform their jobs.
Furthermore, while the pandemic has raised their awareness of the need to do as much as possible to avoid business disruption, that does not mean they have executed a strategy. For those who are in this camp, we urge decisive action, soon, to avoid disruptions that could result in significant business damage or even failure. The hard reality is that 96% of businesses experience a technology outage of some sort over a 3-year period. These outages have deeply negative consequences ranging from lost revenue and productivity to compliance failure and even business closure.
Disaster Recovery: Not Just Binders, Anymore
Thirty or even 20 years ago, many organizations kept their “disaster recovery plan” in a binder stored off-site. They updated it periodically to ensure processes were current, designated oversight personnel were still employed there and other functional tasks. Over time, they learned that recovering from a disaster using this technique was cumbersome, impractical and potentially disastrous in its own right due to loss of revenue and client confidence.
Fortunately, technology has evolved and IT providers have developed much more effective approaches. Focused on business continuity rather than disaster recovery, these strategies are designed to ensure continual operation of the business with little to no disruption rather than forcing the firm to experience days or even weeks of recovery.
Business continuity has become a necessity for most organizations. The current speed of business means companies that require a perceivable amount of time to recover from a disaster, whether a week or a few days, may lose a significant portion of their client base. A much more efficient and effective solution is to leverage technology to provide 100% business continuity.
Essentials for Business Continuity
In our view, there are three foundational components in a business continuity program. These are:
- Migrate to productivity applications that can be run in the cloud, such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workplace.
- Deploy cloud-based storage with a “roll-back” feature, such as Dropbox, and ensure personnel use it to sync all their work files, whether on their phone, tablet or desktop.
- Develop and maintain a formal remote workplace policy that requires teams to use company technology whenever possible and bans them from storing any company-related files on their home PCs.
Foresight and innovation — increasingly supported by technology — allow business leaders to identify and navigate threats of all types earlier and more effectively. Nevertheless, the speed at which these threats are emerging allows no margin of error. In one month in 2021, the total number of ransomware attack attempts (78.4 million) was higher than three out of four quarters in 2020.
As numerous research firms and other experts have stated, every business will at some point be the victim of a system or data disaster, whether natural or manmade. Business leaders who support their operations with business continuity plans, including technology-based mitigation approaches, can be confident that everything possible is being done to reduce their risk, allowing the business to operate and transform at speed.