Business Continuity

A Solid Disaster Recovery Strategy Can Save Your Business

Not all businesses will look at disaster recovery the same way, but if you want your business to have the kind of continuity that will allow it to get through tough situations, doing your best to formally create a disaster recovery policy will put you in the position to weather any storm you encounter.

A Brief Explanation of Disaster Recovery

Every business has some type of business continuity plan, and if they don’t, they should. It outlines the actions that need to be taken to ensure that your business isn’t mortally affected by negative situations. Within this plan is disaster recovery, which is a specific plan to get your operations up and running after a “disaster”. Here are a few examples of disasters that could affect your business’ continuity:

Natural disaster - Flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, electrical storm, worldwide pandemic; the list goes on and on. 

Human error - Accidental, negligent, or deliberate situation an employee puts the business in which causes a disaster-like result.

Cyberattack - Data breaches can be some of the worst, especially when people’s sensitive information is involved. 

Failing Hardware - If the right component goes out at the right time it can have devastating effects on your business. 

No matter what problems your business has to deal with, getting your resources back up and running as fast as possible should be one of the core priorities of any negative situation. The reality of the situation is that every minute your business breaks continuity is a massive problem, and can lead to some very unpleasant results. 

The Importance of DR

The first thing you need to know about your disaster recovery policy, is that it has to be created with the notion that it’s a matter of when, not if, you will need to use it. The statistics reinforce this idea. Three-out-of-five businesses that experience a prolonged system outage will be out of business within two years of the event. So, even if you are able to get back up and running again, the lost revenue may eventually catch up and ruin your business.

With that knowledge, the first suggestion we’d make is to stay calm. A business owner—who has toiled and taken his/her business from a one or two-man operation to an organization that people and their families depend on—needs to make calculated decisions to get their business back up and running properly. Acting impulsively will often lead to making decisions that will further hurt your business’ chances of returning to normalcy.

The first real action that needs to be undertaken is to contact the people that will need to know that a disaster has occurred. Setting up a call list to notify people that need to know is a good practice. Since the focus has to be on getting data accessible, once department managers are notified, they can decide how and when to notify their subordinates. Regardless of how you plan to set this up, communication will be key to get your business back up and on track. 

One of the most important parts of a disaster recovery strategy is to have digital copies of everything. We suggest using a Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) service that backs up data incrementally and saves multiple copies of data in a network-connected device, as well as in an offsite data center. Having a comprehensive backup is a core strategy of any disaster recovery platform. 

Depending on the disaster, you may need to find alternative means of managing your workforce. Being able to provide your staff with that ability in the face of a disaster is extremely useful to keep revenue flowing in. You may not be a fan of remote working, but when disaster strikes it may be your only outlet; and, you may be surprised just how productive your workers will be from outside the office.  

The end result will be systems up and running, your data and applications able to be accessed by remote workers, and your business’ data intact. Outside of this, your business continuity policy will handle the rest. DR is about getting your business’ assets up and running in the face of a disaster, whether that is a deleted file or a worldwide pandemic.

If you would like to talk to one of our IT professionals about your disaster recovery policy, call us today at 334-834-7660.

 

Backup Can Really Save Your Business’ Bacon

The question this article will present is simple: Does your business have a dedicated data backup and disaster recovery system? A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery platform (BDR) can turn out to be one of the most critical parts of managing a business’ IT infrastructure, and if you don’t have one, you should absolutely get one. 

With a BDR, you get the convenience of having a network attached copy of your data coupled with the redundancy you need to ensure that your data is protected. Best yet, the BDR can run automatically at preset intervals so that your company doesn’t risk losing more than 15 minutes’ worth of data. Furthermore, BDR uses the cloud to perform data backups, which provides a significantly better system for getting back in the game following a critical loss incident. The cloud allows for faster restoration times, less downtime, and more complete data backups. The cloud utilizes snapshot-based data backup, which only updates the current backup if the files have been changed, making it truly the best way to go about protecting your organization from unforeseen threats.

 For those businesses that currently operate without a data backup and recovery strategy--especially if you’ve been in business for some time--you may think that it’s just another cost that you are taking on that will hurt your business’ ability to turn a profit. You may not think you have enough data that you think is important enough to warrant additional investment in protecting it. You are probably mistaken, however. You have important data, and if you lose it, you stand to lose your business. In fact, 94 percent of businesses that fall victim to a major data loss incident fail within two years of the incident. If you consider six percent of all computers will fail in any given year, it stands to reason that it’s only a matter of time before you are dealing with a data loss catastrophe.

Keep your business out of harm’s way with a backup and disaster recovery strategy. Call Jackson Thornton Technologies today at 334-834-7660 to learn more.

 

The Basics of Business Continuity Planning

Situations happen all the time to businesses that can really put a lot of stress on their ability to sustain operations. These situations don’t often remediate themselves. Simply put, every business needs a business continuity plan; and one-in-five don’t have one. This month, we thought we would break down a successful plan into its components to try to give businesses that may not have a plan, the basics needed to establish one.

Variables of a Successful Continuity Plan

Threat Identification/Remediation

Using what is called a threat matrix, you should work to Identify all the threats that could railroad your business. You will want to include any situation that could cause your business to stop. Examples can be as simple as a power outage to major calamities like a tornado ripping your building apart. Your business’ threat matrix should list threats (from most to least likely) and what your response would be to each. 

Mission-Critical Processes

Each business has mission-critical processes that need to be working fluidly in order to do business as usual. These should all be found in a comprehensive continuity plan. 

Chain of Command

Every business has a leader, management, and subordinates. Knowing who oversees what is crucial when looking to get your business back up and running after an event that knocks continuity out. 

Evacuation Plan for Employee Safety

Your business’ continuity plan should outline a strategy to safely get your people out of harm’s way should some disaster strike your business.  

Communication Hierarchy

If continuity is broken, people need to know about it. There should be a point of contact for every department on your staff, so that they can contact employees, vendors, and customers if the need arises.  

Disaster Recovery

Clearly, you’ll need your data if you want your business to continue after an event. Having a disaster recovery plan that includes comprehensive data backup is a major part of getting your technology up and running, should something happen to your business’ information systems.  

Inventory of Your IT Infrastructure

Concordantly, if a situation arises where your IT is knocked out, having an inventory of everything that you have can also be used to procure resources should you need to rebuild.

When Is It Over?

You will want to have a process in place that signals the end of an incident, and that all “I”s are dotted and “T”s are crossed. This will allow managers and employees to know that they can get back to business without worrying about residual negative circumstances.

There are no guarantees that the breach of your business’ continuity will have a happy ending. What is true is that with a dedicated plan in place, you will have a fighting chance. If you need help putting together the technology resources to support your disaster recovery initiatives, or if you would just like to discuss business continuity with one of our experts, give us a call at 334-834-7660.

 

Do You Have a Plan for What's Next?

If you have been running a business for any length of time, you definitely don’t need to be told how important risk management is. One problem you see from business owners today is that while they understand just how many problems there are--and which ones they need to find solutions for first--they want to grow their company fast, and as a result, they overlook potential problems and end up hurting their business as a result. 

One of the major problems a business owner needs to confront is the situation surrounding sustained downtime. Business continuity demands a lot of assessment and a whole lot of action be taken in a short amount of time. After all, downtime is a business killer. The establishment of a continuity plan not only solves the immediate problems (e.g. a server failure), they return your business to a productive state, fast.

All businesses struggle with hiccups of continuity. Something as simple as a cloud application being down for 20 minutes can cost a company a lot of money. When downtime is sustained, however, the costs add up by the second. A business that is forced into stagnation by downtime can fail within days. 

Modern Continuity

Today’s business continuity plan is not much different than it was 50 years ago. The assets have just changed. Today, most of the assets that need to be protected are through reliable digital means. This means that if you want to look for a place to start, look at your organization’s IT. 

 

Like you would have done with established business continuity methods, you will want to make a list of the people who need to know if continuity is broken, and who is in charge of relaying that information down the corporate tree. Typically, there will be one person that is tasked with relaying information to department heads, and they will take it from there. Ensuring that there is a plan in place to mitigate cost in the case of sustained downtime is essential to mitigating problematic situations.

Take Action

In business continuity, action is the name of the game. Depending on the situation, after your people are informed of a breach of continuity, the next step is to mitigate the problem. Some situations are more difficult to rebound from than others, but ultimately a solid business continuity plan is an incremental approach to getting your business back up and running properly. It could take a minute or a couple of weeks, but ensuring that every mission-critical resource is covered under your plan, and that there are defined actions that need to take place will work to return operations to normal more effectively. All continuity tasks should be assigned a specific timeline for completion, with the highest priority tasks coming first.

Customer Relations

Customer care is a big part of a business’ continuity strategy. In fact, if you are dealing with a major outage, keeping your customers supported can work to stem service mutiny. You’ll need to contact your suppliers and vendors to keep other company’s supply chains from grinding to a halt. Keeping your relationships solid will alleviate one big headache if you are dealing with sustained downtime.

Technology and Data

You will want to have identified what hardware and software are essential, as well as have a good idea about how long it will take to restore your data and other systems into working condition. This also applies to any equipment that is necessary to restore operations. You’ll want to make sure that you know exactly what tools you need and the length of time that it will take to get things back up and running.

You will also want to have identified your data needs and have a data backup and recovery platform in place. Business continuity is best when your data backup is bulletproof, as being able to access all of your data quickly, and ensuring that all of your data is always backed up will make a big difference when you need it. While migration to new hardware will extend your timelines, your business can function in an acceptable capacity with the right data backup platform in place. 

Assessment, Testing, and Training

To complete your business continuity process, you will absolutely want to continue to assess and test all aspects of the platform. If you know that your BC practices are solid, you can save your business from a downtime disaster.

If you would like more specific information about business continuity, or if you would like to talk to one of our consultants about having Jackson Thornton Technologies help your business put together a BC platform that works, call us today at 334-834-7660.

 

 

What You Need to See in a Business Continuity Plan

Bad things happen. If your business fails to plan for the worst, when something terrible does happen, you could be looking at disaster. If you have a comprehensive continuity plan in place, however, you have a fighting chance. Let’s discuss some of the elements you absolutely need to address when making your business’ continuity plan. 

There is always risk in business. The better your organization can assess--and plan for--risk, the better it will respond after adversity. Here are a few variables that you should see in your business continuity plan:

A Threat Matrix - Risk management starts with identifying possible risks. That means all legitimate threats; of which there are quite a few. Take a while considering all the relevant risks to your business and rank them from most likely to happen to least likely. 

 ● Critical Processes - Outline what makes your business run. Every business relies on critical processes that if interrupted could be devastating to achieving success. 

 ● Command Chain - Not everyone is a boss. Businesses have a chain of command that should be documented. Be sure to accurately represent how your business works and not just the titles of the people involved. 

 ● Employee Safety and Evacuation Plan - One part of risk management is to ensure no one gets hurt and that everyone is updated with all relevant information. The first part relies on you having a comprehensive safety and evacuation plan in place. 

 ● Communication Plan and Contact Information - The other part is to have an idea about who will be the point of contact for each threat. If your marketing office springs a leak and six inches of water rushes in, does your accounting team on the next floor need to be notified immediately? Breaks in continuity mean all breaks and every department should have a point of contact registered in the continuity plan.

 ● Backup Processes - One of the big considerations when any threat comes to fruition is data. It is one of the most important assets any company has. Ensuring that your backup and disaster recovery processes are regularly tested and maintaining redundancy is crucial to almost any problem. 

 ● IT Inventory and Infrastructure - Most businesses don’t have a whole other office ready to go when something fails. Ensuring you know what is in your inventory, how it is used, and how to restore those systems if something were to happen to your physical infrastructure is an important consideration. 

 ● End of Incident Criteria - When a breach in continuity happens, downtime is most certainly the enemy, but what would be worse is if you are fighting for your business’ life and the threat has passed without any notice.  Be sure that when a situation comes to light that you have the system in place to be able to review the problem and return to normalcy.


A business continuity plan can literally save your business from anything...from a malware attack to a flood. These line-items will help you build a solid continuity plan, but if you really want to hash your plan out, call the IT consultants at Jackon Thornton Technologies. We can help you build a continuity plan that will allow your organization to respond to anything thrown its way. Contact us today at 334-834-7660.