What Is BCDR, Why Is It Important, And How Do You Build A BCDR Plan?
When disaster strikes, how do you continue business operations with minimal disruptions or losses? Let’s take a look at the importance of having a BCDR plan, and how you can go about building one.
Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plans are designed to help prepare your business for any unforeseen disaster (whether it’s a sophisticated cyberattack, natural disaster, human error, or other). These plans anticipate all eventualities and ensure that your business can quickly get back on its feet with minimal operational or financial losses.
But how do you go about building a BCDR plan for your business? And why is it important that you do?
Let’s take a look at what BCDR is, why it’s necessary, and the steps you can take to build an effective plan.
What Is BCDR?
Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) is a set of processes, plans, and policies that you can put in place to help you recover from a disaster and ensure the effective continuation of business operations.
Your BCDR plan should include processes to help you recover from a wide range of disasters and disruptors—including, but not limited to:
- Cyberattacks (ransomware, malware, etc.)
- Accidental damage or deletion
- Hardware failure
- Service provider outages
- Natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, etc.)
- Floods and water damage
BCDR plans fuse together business and IT functions as they involve not only efficiently returning business operations to normal after a disaster, but also dealing with restoring IT systems after outages, breakages, or disruption.
The goal is to enable you to remain operational or return to normal operational efficiency as soon as possible after a disaster hits.
Business Continuity Vs Disaster Recovery
The term “BCDR” is made up of two components: business continuity (BC) on the one side, and disaster recovery (DR) on the other.
And, while closely related, BC and DR aren’t quite the same thing. So, what’s the difference?
Business continuity focuses on putting processes and procedures in place to ensure you can effectively maintain business operations and mission-critical functions both during and in the aftermath of a disaster.
A BC plan, therefore, deals with the people, processes, and resources needed to deal with specific disaster scenarios as they unfold, and outlines how business operations can seamlessly continue to function with minimal disruption.
Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is a component of business continuity that focuses on recovering and restoring critical technology, infrastructure, data, applications, and systems following a disaster to minimize downtime and data/financial loss.
While BC is proactive, DR is reactive and deals with the specific steps that you must take to restore operations following a disaster or outage.
It’s vital that, as part of your BCDR plan, both the BC and DR components work together and support one another to create an effective program. BC without DR will fail technologically, while DR without BC will fail in terms of maintaining operations.
Why Is BCDR Important?
No matter how big or small a business you are, what industry you’re in, or who your clients might be, you need to have a robust BCDR plan in place in case of disaster. But why?
Let’s take a look at seven reasons why your business needs a BCDR plan.
1. Increase Business Resilience
First and foremost: BCDR plans are designed to help your business survive a disaster. Without having a plan in place, you risk sinking into oblivion if the worst does happen.
And these wide-scale disasters aren’t just a hypothetical—they really do happen. Just look at COVID-19. When the pandemic first reared its head in 2019, only 45% of businesses had a pandemic response prepared as part of their business continuity plans. This means more than half of all businesses were left vulnerable to the pandemic’s catastrophic affects.
We understand it can be tempting to focus your efforts on more imminent and pressing issues as opposed to spending your time and energy on preparing for events that might not ever happen. But let us ask you this: what if they do happen? As the saying goes: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. BCDR is key to being prepared.
2. Minimize Downtime
A key benefit of having a BCDR plan in place is to minimize the time that your services are down in the event of a disaster or outage. Because, as we all know, downtime equals losses—whether these are financial, in productivity, or in reputation/customer trust.
Almost 9 in 10 of organizations require 99.99% uptime just to carry out normal business operations—yet 40% of servers are estimated to experience at least one outage annually. With a single hour of downtime costing $300,000 for 91% of mid-sized enterprises, without having a BCDR plan in place, can your business afford the downtime?
With a BCDR plan, you can ensure that both your most essential services are able to continue in the event of disaster, and that you can get any resources that are experiencing outages back up and running with minimal downtime—and minimal losses.
3. Protect Sensitive Data
If all (or even just part of) your business’ sensitive data was permanently lost today, how would that impact your day-to-day operations? Would you be able to operate at an acceptable capacity?
Data loss as a result of human error (for example, accidental deletion), cyberattacks (such as ransomware), or server outages (perhaps you’ve failed to create regular backups) can be devastating for maintaining business operations—as well as complying with data security and privacy laws.
BCDR plans can help you not only put in place the right measures to ensure your data remains protected, but also help you to recover data in the event of an outage or loss.
4. Prepare Employees To Act
Creating and regularly testing a BCDR plan will keep your employees sharp on how to behave in the event of a disaster, what their roles and responsibilities are, and what objectives they are expected to aim for to return service to normal level.
A surprising number of employees are underprepared for disaster. A recent study uncovered that 16% of SMB executives didn’t know what their recovery time objectives (RTO) were—despite the fact that 24% expect to recover data in less than 10 minutes in the event of a disaster.
Regularly testing your plan is just as important as creating it. If your employees know how to act accordingly during a disaster, that’s half of the battle won.
5. Adhere With Regulatory Compliance
If the benefits we’ve outlined above aren’t reason enough, having a strong BCDR plan set is also a requirement for compliance with many regulatory bodies.
For example, for businesses in the health industry, the Health Insurance Portability And Accessibility Act (HIPAA) requires hospitals to have data backup and and disaster recovery plans and strategies in place—and can dole out steep fines for non-compliance.
BCDR planning is also a requirement for businesses in the finance industry, with bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), PCI DSS Requirement 12.10.1, and others requiring organizations to have strong plans laid out to maintain compliance.
How To Build A BCDR Plan
It’s one thing to understand the importance of having a BCDR plan, but another thing completely to actually build and implement this plan from the ground up. So, we’ve put together a few steps to help guide you in your BCDR journey.
Every business is unique—so, you need a unique plan that’s tailored for your specific needs and requirements. So, building your plan could take some time, but it’s important that you get it right and cover all your bases, rather than rushing through it and leaving numerous gaps wide open.
Here are five steps to building your BCDR plan:
1. Assemble Your Critical Response Team
2. Conduct Risk Assessment And Business Impact Analysis
3. Create Recovery Strategies
4. Develop And Communicate Plan
5. Continuously Test Plan
To sum up, BCDR is more than just a “nice-to-have”—it’s a “must-have” for businesses of all sizes, industries, and function.
BCDR protects employee safety, business operations, finances, reputation, sensitive data, and more. And, with surprises awaiting at every corner, do you really want to take the risk of not having it in place?
Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help you build a solid disaster preparedness plan.