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Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning

The Importance of Business Continuity to Start-ups and Web 2.0 Companies
An interruption can threaten a company at any time. As the IT specialist, it is important that you put an efficient data protection and disaster recovery system in place to alleviate any possible reduction in company uptime. Downtime that may result from interruptions can cost the company millions of dollars in just a few minutes. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning remain high on the agenda of business savvy companies who have witnessed just how devastating interruptions and downtime can be for them. They would have witnessed these results from either their own experience or that of other companies during interruptions such as the outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic that swept the nation in 2009 or the 911 terrorist bombings.
Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are meant to stem both minor and major downtime occurrences. A couple minutes of downtime can mean several million dollars in losses for any company. Businesses have no control over interruptions caused by events such as natural disasters, power outages, computer software virus attacks or major outbreaks such as was experienced during the swine flu pandemic, but they can take steps to alleviate the impact these disruptions have on their business uptime. There is no need for business activities to go down or come to a standstill during an interruption. There is also no need for businesses to have a huge loss of data during such interruptions. Start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses have the means to equip themselves against this happening. The implementation of business continuity and disaster recovery planning measures is meant to both cushion and protect businesses against the disastrous effects that can come as a result of any interruptions.
Business continuity and disaster recovery planning go hand in hand. While disaster recovery facilitates the smooth and seamless resumption of operations following a disruptive event, business continuity allows for the business to keep making profitable turnover no matter what happens. Whether the disruption is large (such as a major calamity) or small (such as illnesses resulting in absenteeism) business continuity ensures that there are no hitches in business operations, and ultimately, the earning potential of the business.
Business operators often make the mistake of sacrificing disaster recovery planning because they figure that business continuity is a more comprehensive approach that facilitates the making of money whether or not there are disruptions in operations. Business executives are more prone to ignore the possibility that a major disaster could occur, that would have such a widespread and devastating effect on their businesses. IT professionals are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the businesses, for which they are responsible, have a strong business continuity program in place as well as a good backup system that will prevent loss of data and major disruptions.
As the IT specialist, it is your challenge to get these business executives to understand and appreciate the value of business continuity and disaster recovery planning. Your task of selling business continuity and disaster recovery planning to businesses outside of the regulated industry and the financial industry is a huge task. The financial industry knows just how much downtime can hurt their business and that it can cost them millions of dollars in losses. Smaller non-regulated businesses that operate more under the shadow of larger businesses are spared from certain exposures and so are more ignorant and resistant to implementing these strategies as a part of their everyday operations.
As a start-up, it is expected that you may not have all the necessary know-how and techniques, but your primary function is to keep the business operating smoothly even if the only unit left functioning after a disruption is the computer system. Your business continuity and disaster recovery planning should address factors that relate to how employees will continue to function and carry on with business if there is an interruption. Should there be any disruptions or major disasters, your system must be able to locate and communicate with employees. You will need to look at factors such as communication, alternative location, and how the employees will carry on with their jobs. The details of business continuity are intricate and require keen attention. The difference in size and operational needs and practices of each company will create a variation in the scope of business continuity planning that will be needed. The level of disaster recovery planning that will need to be implemented will also vary. The entire process of business continuity and disaster recovery planning is all about communication. There must be a consistent level of communication if this process is to be successful.
Business continuity should never be viewed as a secondary or back-up plan. It is the first line of strategy that should be implemented to maintain business uptime. Implementing continuity plans after the fact (that is, after a disaster strikes) counteracts good business practices. Losing all data by failing to take pre-emptive action is a fool-hardy move on the part of any business. Proactive businesses will be able to carry out their operations in spite of any disruptions. There will be minimal loss of work time and little or no loss of money. Start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses must equip themselves to help businesses implement strategies that mitigate the loss of operational time and funds.
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