Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery or Backup

Working with computers and technology (IT) in business is often likened to working with children and animals in film and television. All can, at times, be a source of happiness and unpredictability. It is this unpredictability, with relation to IT, that we would all like to remove from our day to day experiences at work. “So how can I achieve this?”, I hear you say. Through Business Continuity Planning!

By creating a business continuity plan you will allow your business to continue to function effectively after an “Incident” or “Disaster”. Before continuing on there can be, at times, confusion between the terms Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and Backup. By not knowing the differences between these you can potentiality end up “paying the price” when data is lost or staff are being paid but are unable to work due to network outages or a Natural Disaster preventing them from accessing the physical office.

Backup

Data backup is obviously important and simply means that your businesses digital data is backed up to another storage device, like a NAS (Network Attached Storage), or another location, such as a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) taken offsite or backup to the cloud. Data backup is in the form of  a “File and Folder” backup, which backs up important data at the file and folder level or as an “Image” of your servers and/or computers.

Disaster Recovery

As stated above, backup is important, however, more importantly, is the ability to recover your backups after a “Disaster” or the ability for you to recover all your files, software and functionality quickly, easily and without issues and minimal loss of data. This is known as Disaster Recovery. For example, if you were only taking a backup of the “Files and Folders” on a server and that server was to “Die” due to a power issue. You would need to rebuild the server hardware, reinstall all the applications and then restore all of the data and configurations before you could continue to work. This can potentially take a couple of hours to even a week. If in the other instance, you are taking image backups of the servers it is likely that the servers will be able to be restored quicker, however, to do this there are a number of requirements to ensure this. Requirements like, testing of the backup, ensuring compatible hardware is available and in the case of a Natural Disaster, you still require physical access to the backups. This is all where Business Continuity planning starts to occur.

Business Continuity

Business continuity gives a business the ability to continue to operate even after a major disaster. One example might be that your office was flooded after a storm and all the physical servers were damaged, however, if you were replicating the servers and network to a cloud-based server then staff would have the ability to work from a different location, giving the business some continuity. It is important to note that business continuity plans are not just designed for “disaster” situations. They are also important in the process of change management, for example upgrading your “Line of Business” software and to provide overall business continuity.

Creating a business continuity plan will help you to:

  • identify and prevent risks where possible
  • prepare for risks that you can’t control
  • respond and recover if an incident or crisis occurs.

To get the most out of a business continuity plan, it is recommended to include a schedule for testing and updating it, making sure you take into account any changes to your business, your industry, or the location you operate in.

ONGC Systems provides a wide range of disaster recovery solution and can help you in the implementation of a strong Business Continuity plan for your IT infrastructure.

Ben Smith works as a Digital Consultant at ONGC. Please feel free to Contact him with any questions about Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery or Backup.