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How Cloud Computing Enhances Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Create a business continuity plan and disaster recovery program strengthened by cloud-based solutions to help ensure your organization remains operational, even during emergencies.

Emergency events can put your business at risk, halt operations or even put you out of business. Many businesses fall victim to unplanned incidents, such as equipment failures, power outages, malware, malicious hacking and natural disasters. Having a business continuity plan and disaster recovery program in place that cover your critical IT infrastructure, as well as business data and applications, can help keep your business running even in the most catastrophic conditions. Simply backing up your data isn’t enough; you’ll need the cloud to be a cost-effective and reliable resource for disaster recovery. Learn how to plan for unexpected events and find out how cloud services can fit into your business’ continuity and disaster recovery plans.

What Is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is the advanced planning and preparation an organization takes to make sure operations stay up and running during unexpected events or cybersecurity threats. BCDR is commonly mistaken as only dealing with natural disasters, when in fact 90+% of downtime events are due to human error, including cyber incursions. No matter the size and scale of your company, these incidents can negatively impact your core functions, cause significant financial loss, and damage your company’s reputation.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is the step-by-step strategy organizations follow to keep operations going amidst an emergency. The goal is to guarantee your company continues to run and remains profitable following an unforeseen event. The plan should provide a list of your company’s most crucial functions and which parties are responsible for implementing it. Your business continuity plan should prepare for events that will stop functions completely, as well as anything that might potentially prevent your organization from recovering after the event.
Business continuity plans aren’t just designed for large enterprises or expanding brands. In fact, small businesses may be targeted more often for cyber-attacks because they’re less likely to have resources in place to protect themselves. Therefore, all companies should have a business continuity plan, regardless of size.

What Needs to Be Included in a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan should cover:

 

  • A way to communicate with customers, vendors and other outside parties to relay information and offer support.
  • How to guarantee your company can continue providing customers with services and products.
  • Define the amount of time it will take to access business applications and restart processes.
  • Where employees can access support during emergency situations.
  • Recovery solutions for technology needed to uphold core business functions.
  • Alternative solutions to use when technology isn’t available.
  • How to relocate employees and business functions if your office space isn’t available.
  • Routine test runs to make sure plans and actions will function during an emergency.
Person working on computer workstation

What Is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery is a plan for regaining access and functionality of your organization’s IT infrastructure, applications and data after an unexpected event. It provides a structured process for responding to these events so that an organization can recover their hardware and software, data, networks, procedures, and employees.

What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan offers a step-by-step strategy for recouping disrupted IT systems and networks most crucial to a business. The goal is to minimize data loss so your business can get back up and running after an emergency. A disaster recovery plan relies upon the replication of data and computer processing in a different location (either physically or virtually) not affected by the event. Therefore, if your IT infrastructure is impacted by a natural disaster, you can quickly recover lost applications and data at the second location.

Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

What’s the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery plans? While these seem similar, they offer different benefits. Disaster recovery plans enable businesses to get all their vital IT services and business operations up and running after an emergency, like a computer virus infecting a network or ransomware attack. In comparison, business continuity plans keep the entire business running and functioning after an unexpected event, while DR plans are part of overarching business continuity plans. The goal with business continuity is to avoid costly interruptions in production, while disaster recovery aims to avoid loss of crucial business data and processes.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Steps

Having a business continuity plan and disaster recovery program in place is crucial to your company, regardless of profits, size or industry. Here are the initial steps to take to get your business continuity plan and disaster recovery program started:

Assessment

Begin by analyzing critical business functions that impact operations the most. Analyze your organization’s processes, how important they are and pinpoint potential threats.

Business Recovery

Document the steps and actions required to recover your most critical data and applications to enable users to work remotely and effectively in the case of an emergency.

IT Recovery

This should include plans and actions to recover the technology needed to restore your IT applications, backend systems and data.

Crisis Management

Outline a specific plan for handling a crisis event. Decide which internal teams will be responsible for the implementation of each element and communicate the plan to all employees and users so everyone knows what to do in case of a disaster.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in Cloud Computing

Cloud-based solutions have become an important factor for business continuity. Since the cloud utilizes the Internet to store data and applications instead of a physical hard drive, organizations can easily back up their most critical data and retrieve it from virtually anywhere. This means minimal data loss and quicker recovery times in the face of a natural disaster or emergency. Here are three cloud solutions to include in your business continuity plan:

Secure your data, applications and virtualized infrastructure in the cloud with continuous data protection. Data hosting servers are kept up to date, to help keep your most critical applications available, even during a crisis. Changes to your data are continually captured and transferred to your DR server so you can return to the point prior to failure.

Protect your business from natural disasters and move your IT infrastructure to the cloud, while dramatically reducing capital expenditure costs. This solution supports reliable disaster recovery while meeting compliance requirements, by being a remote target for your replicated environment. You can feel confident knowing your most critical applications are being housed in data centers with enterprise-level security, including security guards, exterior systems, biometric systems, security scanners, and continuous digital surveillance and recording.

This cloud solution allows your organization to easily back up multiple copies of critical business data to various media types. This helps ensure that if your business needs to restore data to an on-premises platform, there is always an available and current backup. Backup data should also be protected from viruses and cyberattacks via encryption both at rest and in transit. Organizations should consider data immutability to make sure backup data cannot be manually tampered with by unauthorized users.

Comparing Cloud Services for Business Continuity

DRaaS

IaaS

BaaS

How it Works

Real-time replication and cloud-based recovery for mission-critical business application platforms

Fully manages cloud migration and recovery for your IT infrastructure

Periodic backup of physical and virtual machines to a cloud backup repository.  Recovery is targeted for machines at the customer’s premises

Benefits

Fully managed service that ensures businesses can quickly recover business-critical platforms and applications in the event of human error, power loss, natural disasters or cyberattacks

Fully managed virtual environment that reduces risk, lowers capital investment, simplifies compliance, enables scalability and delivers reliable disaster recovery

Fully or co-managed backup that makes sure customers can recover lost or corrupted data easily

SLAs

RTO/RPO SLAs

SLA for guaranteed reliability

No SLAs

Accuracy

High level of data accuracy based on real-time data replication schedules

Fully managed for high accuracy and reliability

Data accuracy dependent on the frequency of backups, backup data retention and backup type

Cost

Monthly pay-as-you-go pricing for DRaaS software plus storage

Monthly pay-as-you-go pricing

Monthly pay-as-you-go pricing based on backup software licensing, cloud storage consumption and services

Reduce RPOs and RTOs with Business Continuity Planning

Cloud solutions help maximize business continuity and minimize the financial implications of data loss or critical failure. DRaaS, for example, allows you to achieve recovery point objectives (RPOs) as fast as seconds and recovery time objectives (RTOs) in minutes. Having such strong strategies in place ensures minimal downtime and continued workflow, greatly reducing the financial impact. To get a sense of how costly data loss could be to your business, take a look at the following formula:

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Services

Having a business continuity plan supported by cloud-based disaster recovery services could be the difference between successfully navigating a disaster and folding because of one. Find out more about solutions you can count on for help managing the unexpected.

What can Cox Business Cloud Solutions do for your business?

We provide reliable, innovative and secure services to move your business to the next level of IT productivity and profitability.

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