When you’re running a business, consistent service is key. While backing up critical data and services is a good first step, developing a full business continuity plan is essential if you want to stay ahead of the game. From business communication and tools to backup, recovery and emergency response strategies, business continuity demands a comprehensive approach that leaves nothing to chance.
Let’s take a look at the important differences between data backup and business continuity. By understanding the many benefits of a business continuity plan, you can maximize the availability of critical systems and ensure continuous operation regardless of problems.
The difference between backup and business continuity
A backup and disaster recovery service involves specific measures to save important data, whether on-site, off-site, or in a remote cloud location. With a standard backup service, critical data is saved on one or more servers according to a specific backup schedule. While some backup services include the mechanisms of disaster recovery, they do nothing to promote real-time data availability, service continuity, and real-time availability of important business systems. Data backup is usually a simple operation that protects data alone.
In contrast, a full business continuity service promotes the security, integrity and availability of both data and services. Businesses rely on continuous operations and ongoing access to critical services and activity. Storing data in an off-site location is only the first step – a continuity plan also makes it possible to execute applications in a remote cloud environment. Business continuity is about maintaining business function along with business data, including business applications, processes, assets, human resources, and partners.
Four reasons why SMBs need a business continuity plan
The latest cybersecurity statistics reveal an increasingly intense threat environment. According to Accenture’s global survey, security breaches have increased by 67% over the past five years and SCORE reports that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Implementing a business continuity plan offers advantages for SMBs who want to stay ahead of the threats.
1. Reduced downtime
First and foremost, a continuity plan allows you to reduce downtime and ensure recovery and consistency across all levels of your operation. It’s all about streamlining the process, with a continuity plan outlining specific procedures and instructions for an organization to follow in the face of disruption. Downtime can be very expensive, so business continuity planning focuses on all the potential outcomes of disruption – including data loss and recovery.
2. Minimized losses
Cybercrime, natural disasters, and other major disruptions can have a devastating effect on SMBs. According to MeriTalk’s “Rx: ITaaS + Trust” study, 28 percent of survey respondents had experienced data loss in the last year alone.
While a simple backup service can help you protect critical business information, data loss is just one way that a business can be negatively affected. A detailed business impact analysis is an important part of every business continuity plan, with this document able to identify potential business losses and establish appropriate containment measures.
3. Improved reputation
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run, reliable and continuous service is critical to protecting your business reputation. Regardless of the products and services you offer, there’s no better test of your capability than how you recover after an adverse event. A business continuity plan puts the spotlight onto the total recovery process by giving you an efficient and effective way to get business back on track. In addition, a business continuity plan prepares you to deal with compliance issues when something goes wrong.
4. Better customer service
A major technical disruption can be challenging for everyone, with your clients and customers also likely to be affected. Whether it’s human error, hardware failure, cybercrime, or a natural disaster, every single stakeholder has something to lose. Having a business continuity plan in place helps you manage problems early so that you can reach out to customers and fix problems quickly. Rather than starting from scratch or making it up as you go, a continuity plan gives you specific and highly actionable steps to follow.
Partnering with a proven IT expert with a solid record of excellence in technical and customer service is a strong start for your business continuity planning or extending your existing data backup and recovery plan.