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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Planning before problems: Establishing business continuity

With a strong business continuity plan, organizations can mitigate the impact of unexpected outages or issues.

Category:   File Collaboration And Replication

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If your organization has mission-critical applications and vital data as most entities do, establishing a strong business continuity plan is your ticket to weathering any problems that come your way with minimal interruption. Rather than attempting to speed up the process of fixing issues and recovering operations after a disaster, business continuity resources help companies to maintain at least their most essential activities even when unexpected incidents impact their networks. However, achieving this level of dependability and the peace of mind that comes with it requires decision-makers to plan ahead - well before any problems strike.

Disaster recovery planning 
Perhaps that's one reason why Continuity Central recently urged organizations to start planning for the 2015 Business Continuity Awareness Week, even though the event doesn't take place until March 16-20. Just as the source called for months of preparation for this educational initiative, organizations must implement resources and establish protocols well before any actual incident occurs in their system if they want to ensure a smooth business continuity process.

To get started on creating a business continuity program, The Valley Business Journal suggested considering the people, places, and things that must be covered by the response plan:

  • How will you inform employees and key stakeholders of the incident? 
  • Will your business be able to maintain operations even if your office space is unavailable?
  • Which assets need to be protected and which do you need to resume or continue operations?

Putting resources in place 
After examining disaster recovery needs at a high level, companies must ensure that their technical infrastructure facilitates the type of solution they require. For example, wide area file services (WAFS) enable a distributed business environment where resources are accessible from geographically dispersed locations. Even if one employee has to be offline for a while, the system uses local caching and document locking to prevent out-of-date files and overwrites. Other tools, such as high availability deployments that make use of multiple active servers to ensure resources are constantly available, can create a reliable business continuity system tailored to a company's unique needs.

Overall, it's important to know how each piece of the system will respond to an incident and how it fits into the comprehensive disaster recovery solution. That's why Forbes Magazine recently emphasized the centrality of assessing vendors for business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness. As organizations utilize more cloud-based services and managed infrastructure solutions, they must know whether they have measures in place to handle unexpected issues and ensure operations can resume or continue with limited consequences for the business.