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Achieving business continuity: 7 strategic best practices

IT Integration

When it comes to risk management, best practices begin with best strategies:

1 Take the time to realistically assess your enterprise’s vulnerabilities
In one recent survey , increased reliance on technology itself and increasing business complexity ranked second and fourth as drivers of increased risk.

2 Understand the difference between disaster recovery and business continuity
Focusing chiefly on restoration of IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis , a disaster recovery (DR) plan is just one part of a complete business continuity plan, which addresses the ability of an organization to sustain operational continuity in the face of disruption.

A business continuity plan begins with a risk assessment and a business impact analysis that identifies the impacts of a sudden loss of business functions and helps you understand your entire organization’s processes to determine which are most important.

3 Incorporate new (cloud) technologies
The cloud services your business depends on have a role in your risk management and business continuity planning.

For example, a hybrid cloud able to seamlessly unify your on-site systems with your provider’s cloud can keep your data safe in a remote location to be recovered from anywhere. Disaster Recovery as a Service ( DRaaS ) provides a cost-efficient way to remotely preserve and protect your data using state-of-the-art technologies.

4 Pay attention to third-party risks
You’ll need to do more than rely on audits and your service level agreement negotiating skills; establish a formal program of joint business continuity plan testing with business-critical third parties.

5 Test your business continuity plan often
Most organizations test their business continuity plans only once a year , typically with only simple tests — and test frequency tends to decline as testing becomes more extensive. But for many, plans should be tested more often, and certainly after any organizational changes.

6 Get employees involved
You need to engage line-of-business managers and other key employees in risk assessments and business continuity plan development and maintenance. You also need to sufficiently train all employees, especially about cybersecurity hygiene and disaster event communication and collaboration.

7 Bring in expert help when you need it
For instance, have you added ransomware detection to your data backup systems? What about upgrading your network capabilities with software-defined networking ( SDN ) so your admins can prioritize business-critical operations?

More broadly, a technology consultant with strong experience in risk management , business continuity , and cybersecurity can help you plan, develop, deploy, and maintain a business continuity plan that’s customized to your organization’s requirements and optimized to adapt and evolve along with it.

Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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