Companies Must Consider Business Continuity to Survive

In a recent survey by tech provider CDW, while 82 percent of survey respondents felt confident their IT resources could sustain disruptions and support operations effectively, 97 percent said network disruptions had detrimental effects on their businesses in the past year. And the three most common causes of business disruptions during the last 12 months were power loss, hardware failure, and a loss of telecom services to facilities.

According to ITBusinessEdge author Ann All, the survey also revealed that many businesses improved DR capabilities by updating their BC/DR plans (34 percent), extending BC/DR coverage to accommodate disruptions of 72 hours or more (23 percent), or updating plans for proactive measures ahead of forecasted interruptions or threats (22 percent).

CDW offers seven key BC/DR recommendations for businesses large and small:

1. Conduct a business impact assessment: Understand the cost and consequences of losing data, and set priorities based on importance to operations.

2. Take steps to protect mission-critical data: Back up data frequently and reduce risk of loss.

3. Review power options: Keep essential functions running by adding uninterruptible power supplies for servers and network connections.

4. Create and document a disaster preparedness plan: Document configuration diagrams of hardware, software and network components to be used in recovery.

5. Leverage mobility: Identify all positions critical to continuity of operations and ensure they are trained and equipped to telework.

6. Consider telecommunications alternatives: The plan should include redundant connections and wireless or satellite phones for use during larger telecom outages.

7. Test the plans: Activate complete business continuity plans at least once a year to ensure that personnel and network systems are prepared.

A recent ComputerWorld UK report by Antony Savvas revealed some startling statistics specifically for UK businesses: Almost 60 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses in the UK lack any continuity plan to respond to natural and man-made disruptions affecting their business. The findings were based on a Citrix Online survey of 500 UK firms.

"… many small businesses have a long way to go before they have the right tools and processes in place to ensure effective business continuity in the face of such disruptions," said Andrew Millard, director of marketing and eCommerce at Citrix Online, according to the ComputerWorld UK report.

For more information about business continuity and disaster recovery planning, read the full articles: