It’s not difficult to see why it’s vital to have a Business Continuity Plan. Simply put, IT disruption severe enough to affect your business’s trading is surprisingly likely, with statistics suggesting that the typical small to medium business runs a one-in-five chance of experiencing such a failure over a five year period. What’s more, 40% of such businesses will then collapse, as a result.Take flooding. Last winter, the problems lay in Somerset, and the UK’s south west. This winter, Cumbria and Lancashire are being hit. Next year? No one knows.
Fire is another worry. However good a business’s fire safety precautions, fires still break out. And there’s little that a business can do to protect itself from fires that break out in adjoining premises, and then spread.
In short, from excavators cutting through power cables, to major explosions, your business is vulnerable to a surprisingly wide range of business continuity risks.
How to best protect yourself? Simple: have a Business Continuity Plan.
Yesterday’s Business Continuity Plans are so... yesterday
Traditionally, Business Continuity Plans assumed that a business’s ERP system and other business-critical systems were on-premise.
So their focus was very much on backing up data, keeping that backed-up data secure—and off-site—and having a plan for moving to standby alternate computer facilities onto which that backed-up data could be loaded.
While such Business Continuity Plans weren’t misguided, even their most enthusiastic cheerleaders would concede that they’re difficult for smaller businesses to seamlessly activate without a loss of trading continuity—some disruption and loss of trading was almost inevitable.
Which is why the focus of today’s Business Continuity Plans are very much around preventing IT failures and disruption, rather than recovering from them.
A modern take on Business Continuity Plans
Today’s approaches to Business Continuity Plans are varied, but most start from an entirely different standpoint.
Namely, that on-premise computing is inherently risky for smaller businesses. And that off-site hosting sharply cuts that risk.
Indeed, some would re-phrase that to “virtually eliminates that risk”.
In short, take the most robust IT facility imaginable, built to industry-leading standards of risk elimination and reliability with multiple power sources and backup generators, site it securely away from flood and fire risks, and put in place multiple connections to the Internet and other data streams...
... and then duplicate it, perhaps several hundred miles away, with the two sites holding duplicated data and system images, and poised to ‘failover’ to each other in the event of disruption.
Outsource your Business Continuity Plan
Now imagine that your business’s ERP and other business-critical systems are running in such a facility.
At a stroke, the likelihood of a disruption to business continuity has been slashed by several orders of magnitude.
And the risk of serious data loss virtually eliminated.
In short, it’s a very different approach to Business Continuity Planning—one aimed at eliminating disruption, not recovering from it.
A Business Continuity Plan that needn’t cost the earth
Traditionally, Business Continuity Plans have been expensive.
But this new, modern approach to Business Continuity Planning re-writes the cost paradigm.
Because in many cases, you’re buying IT as a service, and not making hefty upfront investments in ERP systems and data centres.
So if recent events have prompted your business to take a fresh look at its risk profile, an assurance of business continuity could be easier and less expensive than you might imagine.