Developing a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy is rarely simple and usually involves an extensive amount of information gathering, combined with piecing together products and services that work as a collective.
4 approaches to creating a business continuity and DR strategy
Developing a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy is rarely simple. The process usually involves an extensive amount of information gathering, combined with piecing together products and services that can collectively achieve a thorough and resilient DR strategy.
The information-gathering phase is one of the most important parts of the BC/DR planning process. While it may be tempting to focus the planning efforts around the deployment of the required IT infrastructure, BC/DR planning typically requires a much more business-centric approach.
One of the first steps that an organization should take as it creates a BC/DR plan is to perform a comprehensive risk analysis. After all, it’s impossible to create an adequate BC plan until the risks that could potentially jeopardize the continuity of business have been identified.
Although an organization’s IT staff may have a good idea of potential risks, it’s common for larger organizations to outsource the risk analysis study to a consulting or auditing firm that specializes in providing BC planning services.
Common approaches to creating a BC/DR strategy
There are four main approaches that organizations commonly take to ensure BC and tighten up their DR strategy. Note that there are endless variations to these approaches.
- The best in class. By taking this approach, an organization uses a mixture of BC firms and DR providers and does it in a way that optimally achieves the organization’s set objectives. An organization might, for example, use one company to compile a risk analysis report and a different firm to create a business impact report. The best-in-class approach is likely to be the most expensive of the options discussed here because it relies on multiple experts. Even so, the cost may be justified since the end result should be a BC/DR recovery plan that has been thoroughly vetted by multiple experts.
- A managed partnership. With this option, an organization uses a BC service that has partnered with a managed service provider (MSP) for DR. This approach is likely to be less expensive than the best-in-class approach because fewer experts are involved, but it should still deliver a workable option.
In this approach, a firm that specializes in BC assesses the organization’s needs and develops a strategy in conjunction with a partner DR organization. One of the primary advantages to using this approach is its efficiency. Because the BC service is used to working with its partner organization, developing an overall DR strategy will probably be quicker and easier than the previous approach, which requires a variety of unrelated firms to work with one another.
- A single provider. A third approach involves using a BC MSP that develops an offering that’s based on DR as a service. This approach tends to be even less expensive than a managed partnership because all the expertise is provided by a single firm. Because this firm probably relies on a small number of DR services, it should be well versed in the intricacies involved in using those services and, therefore, be able to provide a well-thought-out strategy, without any surprises.
- DIY DR. With this approach, the organization’s own IT staff does all the planning and then builds a DR offering that’s based around a public cloud provider, such as Microsoft Azure or AWS.
This approach is by far the least expensive of the four, but it does have at least one significant disadvantage: The project’s success is completely dependent upon the IT staff’s expertise. While an organization’s IT staff is presumably competent, they may or may not have experience with developing a DR strategy. Additionally, firms that specialize in BC almost always have staff members who have a business background. Conversely, an organization’s internal IT department may have all the necessary technical competencies but lack any sort of meaningful business background. This would make it difficult for the IT staff to understand the organization’s core business processes that must be addressed by the BC approach.
Business continuity services, DR planning key to recovery success
Ensuring that a business can continue functioning after a disaster is critical to its success. Even so, business continuity and DR planning can be surprisingly difficult. Given the lack of all-in-one offerings, organizations commonly piece together systems that are based on various products and services.
Business continuity services and disaster recovery tools are two very different things. In general, business continuity services tend to refer to consulting services that identify what it would take to keep core business processes running after a disaster. Conversely, DR tools are what make it possible to put the prescriptive business continuity guidance into practice.
Business continuity services
Several organisations specialise in providing business continuity services. They tend to be business-oriented and may also provide ancillary services such as compliance auditing or crisis management. Some of these service providers function primarily as auditors, while others may act as accounting firms or function primarily as IT consultancy groups
specializing in DR.
Check out this e-guide to learn the differences between business continuity and disaster recovery, discover 4 approaches to a successful combined strategy, and much more.