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Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and the Worst-Case Scenario

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Business continuity planning. Disaster recovery planning. These terms are common to large and small businesses alike. Although large-scale disasters are fairly rare, they do occur, and if your business isn't prepared, it may never recover. In this timely article, Randy Nash discusses these disciplines and the risks of ignoring a "worst-case scenario" in your planning.

In recent history, catastrophic disasters have highlighted the need for business continuity and disaster recovery planning. From terrorist attacks to large-scale natural disasters, the stakes are extremely high. The truth is that if your business doesn’t have a realistic business continuity and/or disaster recovery plan, it might never recover in the event of a real disaster.

Although large-scale disasters are rare, most businesses will probably experience interruptions due to fire, power failure, water damage from flooding, and so on.

There are two keys to surviving the impact of an interruption. First, how do you ensure the continuity of business operations? And second, how do you protect your data and systems, and recover them in the event of loss? There are business disciplines that specifically address these concerns.

Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan (BCP) consists of the set of procedures designed to keep critical business functions up and running during and after a disaster. The goal is to prevent or minimize the disruption of critical services and functions. The BCP is designed to enable the rapid re-establishment of services quickly and smoothly and minimize the overall impact to the business mission. In plain language, BCP is how an organization prepares for future incidents that could jeopardize the organization’s core mission and its long-term health.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Along with the BCP, a business should have a disaster recovery plan (DRP), possibly several. The DRP is designed to enable the recovery of a specific critical business application. It is the process of regaining access to critical system data, along with the hardware and software necessary for processing that data. It should also include details of how to handle the sudden loss of key personnel in a disaster situation.

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