Last week, I wrote on the topic of business continuity for SMBs, which is an area I feel is often overlooked by small and medium-sized businesses typically focused on backups, and backups only.
Of course, it is absolutely true that the proper backups must be stored at a safe location, and their vital importance simply cannot be overstated. SMBs caught without adequate backups will find themselves dead in the water, with at least one company having to close down due to improperly executed backups. On the other hand, it is important to realize that copies of data alone cannot guarantee the survival of a business if it takes too long to bring the business back on track.
Start from a Committee
The ideal situation is for business continuity and disaster recovery to be planned as part of a united strategy. This can be done via a high-level committee chaired either by the CIO or a senior executive empowered to make actual decisions. While a good grasp of technology would be desirable from the chairperson, it is not essential as long as there are other technically competent personnel present in the committee.
Of critical importance, though, would be committee members with adequate knowledge of actual business operations. This is especially pertinent for mid-sized organizations with complex or interrelated operational procedures.
Prioritize Based on Operational Continuity
Subject to cost, the ideal situation would be for all operational systems to continue without any slowdown in the event of disasters. A good starting point is to list out company functions that must continue without interruption and those where a few days' delay is permissible.
In the context of a local courier company, for example, computers and related systems used to take calls and to plan the routes for drivers are probably good candidates for business continuity. On the other hand, less time-sensitive departments such as accounting and human resources can probably be down for a few days without causing an SMB to go bankrupt.
Back Up Everything Else
Needless to say, all other systems should be backed up and, depending on their importance, stored in some form of local, remote, or even cloud-based storage. While some effort is required to form a united strategy for business continuity and disaster recovery, the additional protection it affords to your business is certainly well worth it.