There are many misconceptions concerning business continuity, what it achieves, and why it is needed, so it’s best that we start by explaining what business continuity is and how it can affect your business.
The key to business continuity is to allow you to operate in a way that has little or no impact on your normal operations in situations where you experience impairments or loss of normal operations. It provides a framework which has been formulated for your specific business to enable everything to continue to run as smoothly as possible.
Disaster recovery is another element of risk management which is sometimes confused as business continuity, but what disaster recovery entails is making provisions under the assumption that your business may suffer from a disastrous event. These events include a fire, loss of connectivity, data loss, and service outages. Business continuity deals with difficult situations as opposed to disasters, such as computer viruses, degraded connectivity, or losing a staff member.
It’s important for a business to have plans in place to cover both business continuity and disaster recovery, but it can be difficult to know which provider to turn to for such policies. So, to help you to weed out potentially poor suppliers and find a provider that’s suited to your needs, we’ve created this helpful checklist for you to consult.
1. Make sure they’re of the highest quality and certified
You need a business continuity provider who knows what they’re doing, has expertise in the field and is fully certified. A provider needs to have expertise in continuity services as well as restore, backup, and replication services to be able to handle the full picture. Regarding certification, you should find that different providers have different ISO certifications; Cirro Solutions is certified to ISO 27001:2013 – Information Security, ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management, ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management, and uniquely ISO 22301:2012 – Business Continuity, which means that Cirro adheres to the ISO’s business continuity management systems standards and framework within its disaster recovery and business continuity service.
2. Explore the suppliers to gauge their dedication to the service
These suppliers are to be tasked with keeping your data safe and secure for the times when you need it the most, so you’ll want to ensure that they are dedicated to the service of business continuity and disaster recovery. A key area to examine here is the level of data integrity in the cloud environment utilised, which is different for each service.
3. Can they handle your business’ size or potential size?
When it comes to any form of storage solution, in this case, the storage of your data as a backup, you need to make sure that not only can your provider handle your current data load, but also have the ability to grow with your business as it evolves and accrues more data.
4. Do their plans suit your needs?
Achieving business continuity and disaster recovery requires a certain amount of haste and precision, so it’s important that you look into the backup and recovery protocols that the service has to offer. Near-instant data recovery is the preferred solution, but if the provider also has a contingency plan that enables your business to perform to its optimal levels, such as the use of the cloud as a platform to restore the backup, that can also be a much-desired feature of the service.
5. It’s a virtual world, but you’ll still need people who are ready to help
As is the case with businesses all over the world, customer service is one of the most important elements. You need to know that you’re going to be in contact with an expert who understands your needs, can design and evolve the service, supports the service after it is set up, and manages the plans.
6. All businesses are different, so get a tailored plan
A tailored, flexible approach will enable the continuity service and the plans therein to evolve as your business moves forward, continuing to provide the best service possible.
7. Find a cost-effective approach
Given what could potentially be lost if a business continuity or disaster recovery plan isn’t put in place, it could be argued that there isn’t a price too high for these services. But in business, you always need to find the most cost-effective approach in terms of person-hours and price for the service on offer.
8. Commercial flexibility
Check you can easily add more services and what the terms are, what if your business changes, how will the service evolve, at the end of the day, it has to always be relevant and reflective of your current operations.
9. Managed Service
You need to understand who does what and the available levels of services available to you. Essentially you need to understand and mitigate risk, it needs to be identified, measured, monitored and mitigated, and whilst it’s important, it’s only ever urgent when you really need it.
Above all else, work with someone you can build a relationship with based on trust and understanding, trust can only really be gained by transparency, cooperation, clarity on role and responsibilities and evidence.