Service Continuity Management - Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery« Go back
The ability of a business to continue operations in event of a disaster or significant interruption in normal operations consists of two different but highly interdependent components; business continuity and disaster recovery.
Business continuity begins with assessing threats to the business, the likelihood of occurrence, and the business impact. This analysis is used to define the scope of the disaster planning effort. From there, many concurrent processes must be defined and implemented. Among these are safety and security to assess loss of life and injury, damage to physical facilities, securing the site, communication to direct people during a disaster and for ongoing communication including how and where to report for work.
The foundation of processes to recover business capabilities is the business impact analysis (BIA). This is an in-depth study of all processes conducted by the company, the data flows, and the applications used to conduct business. The BIA also assesses the cost of a business function not being available. This includes hard and soft costs such as reputation and customer confidence. The BIA establishes criticality of processes and their recovery priority which drives the level of investment in DR capabilities.
In conjunction with the technical solution for system recovery, business areas create business continuity plans (BCPs) to guide the processes of recovering lost data and using the recovered systems and workarounds to restore the ability to conduct business and remain in regulatory compliance. Processes also need to maintain BCPs in an executable state in the face of constant change and to exercise the BCPs regularly.
Given the results of the BIA, the businesses establish acceptable recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs – the amount of data loss the business is willing to tolerate). These requirements drive the architecture and implementation of systems and communication capabilities.
Critical systems with low RTOs and RPOs clearly drive system and network architecture and the level of investment. Recovery alternatives range from real time replication between two geographically distant data center to restoring tapes onto machined delivered to a hot, warm, or cold site after the disaster.
IT creates their own BCPs to recovery systems and networks based on their criticality to the business. To be effective, these processes must be exercised regularly in conjunction with the business to assure that technical operations and business capability can be restored as planned.