The Business Continuity Basics

The last year has put our collective understanding of preparedness to the test. For most businesses, the trifecta of COVID, increasingly hazardous weather events, and an onslaught of ransomware attacks have increased many organizations’ digital vulnerability and the risk of downtime or disaster. These threats have shown us the importance of business continuity and the real-time effects of data disasters – the loss of revenue, productivity, and a hit to your reputation.   

These events are costly. The average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute and 50% of all organizations would be unlikely to survive if hit by a disaster. With so much on the line, being prepared is a good defense. Business continuity plans are the best tools to have at your disposal to respond quickly and effectively when something goes wrong. From our point of view, it is better to treat disaster recovery as a when not an if. Whether it’s ransomware or an outage due to volatile weather, business continuity plans serve as a roadmap to recovery. We’ve put together a business continuity crash course that outlines our process for developing a comprehensive plan with customers. 

The Basics 

A business continuity plan is your organization’s guide to operating immediately after an unplanned disruption, outage, or disaster. It outlines how you will recover and the measures in place to prevent a disaster from occurring in the first place. Most are designed with general goals in mind – minimizing data loss, continuity of operations, and reducing downtime. They can also be designed with goals specific to the needs of the business.  

The Process  

1. Initial Assessment – This step is full of analysis – your environment, your current plan (if you have one), and what your goals are. We’ll talk with you to identify your goals, any barriers to achieving them, and other risks. We’ll discuss what workloads are important, what factors need to be incorporated into your plan, and who should be directly involved or notified. 

2. Solution Design – We will create a solution using the information we discussed in the initial assessment. We’ll provide recommendations for services and solutions and explain how they meet the needs and goals outlined during an assessment.

3. Implementation – After your approval, we will deliver a proof of concept (POC) or full concept. At this stage, we’ll include a DR runbook, which goes over the step-by-step process for recovery directly after a disaster. It includes elements like the testing scenario, failover scenarios, roles for employees throughout the recovery process, and what third parties need to be updated.

4. Testing – We run a test of our solution to ensure that there are no issues. If issues do arise, we will jump back to the design stage to reconfigure the solution and rework our recommendations. We also can show you how to run testing or set up quarterly tests with our team.

5. Maintenance & Optimization – Once testing is complete, our customers have the option to sign onto a managed services agreement. Our team works with managed services customers to continuously improve your business continuity plan and your environment to ensure that it is up-to-date and secure.

Our Recommendations   

We complete this process for every business continuity customer to ensure we have a full understanding of their needs. Great business continuity plans include solutions that serve two main functions – prevention and recovery. For organizations looking for a comprehensive business continuity plan, we often recommend two solutions: AWS CloudEndure and Amazon WorkSpaces. This combination of solutions can prevent or minimize risks before they happen and allow you to recover from a disaster if it does occur.  

About Amazon WorkSpaces  

Amazon WorkSpaces is a Desktop-as-a-Service solution that allows employees to work from anywhere. This minimizes the loss of productivity and ensures continuity of operations if you cannot access your physical office. Unlike traditional virtual desktop infrastructure, Amazon WorkSpaces reduces the heavy lifting for customers. Customers handle the user experience, image management, and security policies while AWS manages the rest.   

The security benefits of Amazon WorkSpaces reduce the vulnerabilities typically associated with managing a dispersed workforce. WorkSpaces can be deployed in a virtual private cloud (VPC) with end-to-end encryption. No data is saved on the end user’s device, only in the VPC. Customers can enable data protection controls like restricting copy and paste, downloads, and more.  

About CloudEndure  

CloudEndure provides a cost-effective, highly available DR solution for organizations looking for cloud-based security coverage. Like Amazon WorkSpaces, CloudEndure reduces customers’ management load and initial investment. Instead of purchasing and managing two sets of infrastructure, CloudEndure customers only have to manage one. There are no contracts and it has a pay-as-you-go pricing model. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery provides high availability without the high costs often associated with that strategy. It ensures sub-second data loss, only takes a few minutes to recover, and has a wide range of coverage, from ransomware or malware to natural disasters and human error. 

Business continuity is crucial for every business, but getting a solid plan established can be a lot to take on. Our team can help you get started in the right direction. We can schedule a free 30-minute assessment with our solution architects. There is no obligation and we’ll help you develop a business continuity roadmap for your organization or discuss any challenges you may be having.  

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