Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - Selecting A Business Continuity Strategy
The risk analysis and business impact analysis have identified risks to key business functions. Also, the potential impacts and probabilities of these risks as well as the costs to prevent or mitigate damages and the time to recover will have been established. Evaluating and selecting strategies is based on using this knowledge. Strategy selection involves focusing on key risk areas and selecting a strategy for each one. The primary goals are to maintain business continuity in the face of a disruption or disaster, to recover key business functions quickly and to mitigate damages.
Many companies associate disaster recovery and business continuity only with IT and communications functions and miss other critical areas that can seriously impact their business. Other common areas for strategy development and selection are employees, facilities, power, customer service, billing, and customer and public relations. All areas require a clear well thought out strategy based on recovery time objectives, cost and profitability impact.
Recovery related to employees is the most overlooked part of strategy selection. Simple steps like the ability to contact employees at home or on their personal cell phone and to ensure all are accounted for at each facility are often overlooked. Communications is critical to keep employees informed and engaged. The most powerful tools for continuity and recovery are the knowledge, capabilities and motivation of employees.
Developing strategies with implementation steps means no time is wasted in a recovery scenario. The focus is to implement the plan quickly and successfully. The right strategies implemented effectively minimize the disruption and mitigate damages.
In some cases, a strategy decision may be no strategy at all. In this scenario and others where there is significant risk to the financial viability of the organization, business interruption or business income insurance may be a viable strategy. Generally, this provides the company with the income it is losing due to damage to its property. It therefore increases the company's chances of survival and the ability to keep its customers and recover.