How Relevant is Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning for Today’s Digital World?
It is estimated that by 2020 there will be about 50 billion connected devices worldwide. That is about 8 devices per human being on the planet. In today’s digitally pervasive world, not a moment goes by when someone is not interacting electronically using a digital device and either communicating or transacting business. Business is becoming more dependent upon digital devices as people collaborate, entertain themselves and transact business using their mobile phones, tablets and even TVs.
In the Digital world of today and the future it is important to undertake advanced planning to ensure the key, revenue producing or reputation preserving applications are never allowed to fail or at least not for very long. To help attain this objective, the process of business continuity planning seeks to define the importance of critical applications and the plan to recover such applications in a prioritized manner that helps your business continue even in the face of challenges such as a cyber attack, or a hurricane that takes a facility offline or even a terrorist bombing that may destroy your datacenter. Similarly, the illness or loss of important staff would be addressed in a business continuity plan.
Disaster recovery is the actual execution of specific procedures that address the recovery after the disaster has hit.
Imagine you are a restaurant and your order taking and kitchen order system goes down. At a slow time of day it would create delays and some lost business but at a peak time you could have total chaos, loss of revenues and if it continues for longer than say a day, dire consequences unfold. Businesses face a negative impact on their reputation when applications or facilities they depend upon are offline – these inconveniences can become issues that affect future business as well.
Customers, who thought you were unreliable and talked about it, will create more negative buzz than you would ever want to know about. And then of course there’s Yelp and social media and many other digital tale tattling avenues that will project the negative experience.
Another example with even graver consequences and one that we are all familiar with is in the airline industry. When airline check-in or ticketing systems fail, it produces flight delays, long lines of unhappy travelers and tired and harassed airline staff. Any such customer facing business operations-centric application that goes offline must be brought back online, rapidly.
A business can classify its different applications by how mission critical they may be and how quickly they must be brought back online, in the event of a disaster.
You need to truly understand what kind of business you have and where it is headed to protect your business revenues and your reputation.
Do you have a digital dependency on certain applications, data or processes? i.e. if those applications or processes failed or were stalled it would detrimentally affect your business?
Disaster recovery might include restarting a server or provisioning a LAN or restoring a backup. Or it might mean moving a bunch of application users from a failing running application in flight to another image running without failure, possibly hundreds of miles away in a remote datacenter.
Business Continuity includes the processes needed to ensure that in the event of some kind of failure the business operations can continue. Examples of handling business continuity might be recovering from a massive malware or virus attack.
The more pervasive computing becomes and the faster commerce gets, the greater the importance of business continuity planning to keep your business running in the event of a disaster or failure.
The most important mission critical applications that the business depends on for revenues or its reputation are the ones that must be brought back online rapidly. You decide which applications are the most important and what resources and procedures will be brought into effect to recover from any failures or disasters.