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Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

The Difference Between Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

Business continuity and disaster recovery are typically used together, but they both have their own meanings. What is the difference between business continuity vs disaster recovery?

Business Continuity Planning CT

Business continuity refers to the capability of a business to maintain its operations during disastrous events. This involves detailed planning at the departmental level, focusing on critical business functions and how different units will operate during a crisis. Business continuity is about keeping the business running smoothly.

Disaster Recovery Service CT

Disaster recovery specifically targets how a business will recover from a disaster. This aspect of planning is important but typically narrower in scope, focusing primarily on restoring essential services and capabilities rather than maintaining all ongoing business activities. For instance, while a disaster recovery plan may ensure critical data restoration and system functionality, it might not cover how the accounting department will continue to process invoices and handle payments during disruptions.

While they are used together, it’s crucial for a business to integrate both strategies. Business continuity planning CT ensures ongoing operations during a disruptive event, and disaster recovery services CT provides a roadmap for recovery.

Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery: Why Both are Critical

Connecticut businesses often assume that their IT company is managing their business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan for them. Some IT providers do, but this isn’t always the case. Business continuity planning CT is really about the business. You need to be engaging with various departments to understand critical functions, identify where the business can afford to “limp along,” and find where the business is losing the most amount of revenue if they are down for a day.

Disaster recovery service CT plans are focused on the specifics of recovering from a disaster. There are items like Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which dictate how quickly a business can resume operations and how much data loss can be handled. These plans are used interchangeably but are very different and important for maintaining operations during and after a crisis.

These plans should be regularly reviewed and updated at least annually, but ideally twice a year, and in response to any significant changes in the business. Regularly reviewing these plans ensures that strategies remain up to date and effective. We have these conversations with every client and have a keen understanding of it at ASG.

Disaster Recovery Service CT

Importance of Business Continuity Planning CT

Businesses in Connecticut should be prepared for weather disasters, but if you are located elsewhere, there are many other types of disasters that can impact your business. Severe storms have caused widespread power outages in the past, which have led to long term power outages. Businesses with standby generators or those that had plans in place were able to limp along and continue operating. Businesses without a plan or a generator had no business operations until power was restored.

Having the ability to continue business in the event of ice, lack of electricity, ransomware, and cybersecurity events have to be a part of any good business continuity plan. This might involve discussions on system segmentation and tailored business processes to enhance resilience. A critical aspect of these plans should focus on cybersecurity, especially for essential systems. Most IT providers just sell a bunch of tools and blanket them across the whole organization. That’s really important, but critical applications need to be protected. And there’s usually a higher degree of cybersecurity required.

Free Download: Business Uptime & Data-Loss Threats

Disaster Recovery and Reducing Threats

We often hear from business owners who face significant challenges due to technological and human-induced threats. A common concern is the loss of a manager, partner, or long-term employee. There’s always the risk that they might take sensitive data with them, delete information, or clear their email accounts on their way out of the business. This isn’t necessarily a disaster, but it can still disrupt business operations. That’s why having a disaster recovery strategy is extremely important. With it, you are always informed and can quickly recovery from incidents.

Human induced threats are also a huge issue. We’ve seen incidents where employees were tricked into buying gift cards or manipulated into sending fake direct deposit forms to the accounting department. It might seem crazy that people still fall for phishing schemes, but it happens more often than you might think. We check financial processes for all our clients at ASG as a part of our best practice approach. We want to make sure there is double verification before any transactional changes, like ACH or direct deposit information. If you have an online presence, you and your employees will be targeted. It’s important to be prepared.

On the technological side, ransomware continues to remain a threat. Hackers who infiltrate systems can cause extensive damage, especially if they remain undetected for a long period of time. Our cybersecurity measures focus not only on preventing unauthorized access, but also on detecting and responding to threats already inside the network. Our monitoring systems are designed to detect unusual activities, especially during off-hours to ensure protection against both internal and external threats.

Employees Role in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

In your business continuity and disaster recovery plan, identifying internal champions and defining their roles is extremely important. These individuals are responsible for a range of critical activities, such as alerting the team of a crisis, informing business leaders, updating the board, and managing communications.

Each location might require a slightly different approach, but the roles are usually consistent across effective business continuity planning CT and disaster recovery strategies. At ASG, we typically handle the IT support so you can maintain communication and quickly restore your business.

Your internal team will likely manage your clients, internal staff communications, setting expectations, and communicate with vendors. A common oversight in many business continuity and disaster recovery plans is the assumption that all systems will be operational and communication with clients will be seamless. If your email or phone systems are down, or if your customer relationship management system isn’t accessible, you’ll need another way to communicate.

Especially with cloud-hosted software, a system outage at your vendor can last days. For example, if your CRM system is compromised and you are unable to communicate with your clients, how will you get in contact with them? Relying on one method can be risky. It’s important to have backup communication methods in place to ensure you can still reach your clients, even if your primary systems fail.

Business Continuity Planning CT

Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery: Business Impact Analysis

In a business impact analysis, we sit down with different departments in your business to assess the impact of certain events happening, whether it’s an employee stealing information or a department being unable to run because of a hacker.

We determine the importance of each department to your business and how they interact with their customers. What happens if a department’s systems go offline for a few hours. Can they still manufacture or ship products? If they can and they’re a manufacturing place, it might not be a crisis. However, if the department relies heavily on automated systems to order products and those systems fail, it could pause production the next day and create a problem.

This process involves interviews with key stakeholders and working with leadership. We review financials to understand the dollar amount and the expense in the event of something not running for a short time, and then how the business would recover it.

Developing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

Developing a business continuity vs disaster recovery plan involves steps, starting with education and awareness. It’s important for business owners to meet with experts to understand the full scope of what needs to be a part of their plan. Many owners believe that only having backups is good enough for disaster recovery, but the process is more complex.

The conversation should explore what parts of the business can be recovered, the extent of the recovery, the anticipated downtime, and how these factors impact the business processes. Your IT provider should have a general understanding of what you do, how you operate, what is critical to you, and they should be having those conversations with you on an ongoing basis.

We often see Managed Service Providers focused mainly on selling tools and services rather than understanding the needs of their clients. A good IT provider should offer more than just technical solutions. They should provide guidance tailored to the specific requirements of the business.

The planning process should be customized, involving interviews with knowledgeable individuals about potential risks. It is important not to rely only on backups. This alone is often insufficient for comprehensive disaster recovery.

Updating Your Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plans

IT changes rapidly, so if you don't regularly update your business continuity and disaster recovery plan, you’re missing out on new things like new hardware or new software that are not be managed as they should.

They need to be tested and updated regularly. Testing is important because the idea that everything is instantly recoverable is not typically the case. It takes time, especially if you have a lot of data for these resources to go through. Even if you have a standby server ready to load an image, it typically takes an hour or two just to start functioning.

It’s important to meet and talk about what happens when systems are temporarily transferred to backup equipment. A system might run on different hardware for a few days during repairs, but once those are complete, you'll need to switch everything back to the original setup.

There are risks with cloud services as well. What happens if the cloud service or the vendor experiences downtime? Exploring your options is important since choices can be limited in these scenarios. Engaging with your cloud providers, ensuring they conduct regular tests on their systems, and asking if you can participate in these tests is necessary.

Regulatory Requirements & Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

Regulatory requirements shape business continuity and disaster recovery plans, especially for publicly traded companies and those in regulated industries. These regulations often mandate extensive reporting to ensure transparency during cybersecurity incidents. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for example requires that certain breaches be reported to the public to prevent companies from concealing such events.

Compliance requirements extend to reporting cybersecurity breaches to local FBI offices and law enforcement. Paying ransoms for certain ransomware attacks can be illegal if those payments potentially fund terrorism. Businesses also often involve their insurance companies early in the recovery process to ensure coverage, which can introduce delays due to necessary forensic investigations.

While the regulatory landscape can complicate and sometimes slow down the recovery process, its main purpose is consumer protection. These regulations not only mandate the existence of robust continuity and disaster recovery plans but also require regular testing of these plans. This adherence to regulations supports both consumer safety and business resilience.

Ensuring Inclusive Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery Plans

The first step to ensuring your business plans are inclusive and consider all aspects or your operations is making sure you're teamed up with the right vendor, that you have the right stakeholders in the room, and that you have people from different systems and business processes.

Once you understand what is critical, it’s about having conversations with the right IT resource. This is not something that a regular technician should be doing. You need a business leader, an IT director, or someone who has done it before.

And as long as you have the right people in the room and they're able to guide you and consult you, you'll be able to achieve your objectives.

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Secure Your Business with Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery Plans

It is important to know the difference between business continuity vs disaster recovery in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. While disaster recovery service CT focuses on rebounding after a crisis, business continuity planning CT ensures your operations continue during a crisis. If you're a Connecticut business leader, understanding and implementing these strategies is essential for safeguarding your business.

We specialize in tailoring these plans to meet the unique needs of your business at ASG. Don’t wait for a disaster to reveal the gaps in your business. Contact us now to talk with us about securing your business's future through comprehensive continuity and recovery plans.