No wonder the issue of business continuity in the cloud — and planning for it — can be so confusing.
For the definition of business continuity in the cloud, there are literally millions of interpretations of the process. More than 71 million of them, in fact, per Google. Or look up the term business continuity planning in cloud, and the search engine still spits out close to 34 million results. Where to start, huh?
By TechTarget’s definition, business continuity is “an organization’s ability to maintain essential functions during and after a disaster has occurred. Business continuity planning establishes risk management processes that aim to prevent interruptions to mission-critical services. This in turn helps to reestablish full function to the organization as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
Plan for various response levels
When planning for business continuity in the cloud, the risk management aspect is key. A plan must consider unpredictable events from natural disasters and fires to cyberattacks and disease outbreaks, such as Covid-19. For each potential event, a plan must then present clear guidelines for how to avoid risk and maintain operations via their cloud infrastructure.
A plan should further include various response levels and their associated channels of action. Because not everything is mission-critical to a business, leaders must determine what is most critical to keep the business operating. The next level of response, as an example, would be deciding what can wait to come back online at a later time.
Any decision process should encompass the entire organization, from the executive level down to operational management levels and front-line employees. The organization must be earnest in assessing its objectives for recovery points and recovery time at each level.
Keep teams connected
As is common in most businesses, IT is centrally involved in business continuity planning and drives the process when an event occurs. But implementing and communicating key processes and other information to the organization is outside the IT scope. Management teams, cybersecurity personnel, and especially your cloud provider therefore must be equally central to a plan for business continuity in the cloud.
Although these groups are typically structured separately, it’s critical to establish a channel of collaboration and action among them. During an unexpected event, the organization can then share information across these departments in real time, or at least in a timely manner.
Let’s look at both components individually and how they fit together.
Business continuity in the cloud: three pillars
Again from TechTarget, the three pillars of business continuity are resilience, recovery and contingency. These especially apply when planning for business continuity in the cloud.
By designing critical functions and infrastructures in line with various disaster considerations, an organization can increase resilience in multiple ways. Along with staffing rotations, measures can include data redundancy and maintaining a surplus of data and cloud computing capacity. Both on location and off site, ensuring resiliency against various disruption scenarios can help the business maintain essential services with no interruptions.
To quickly restore business functions after a disaster, recovery time objectives are crucial to prioritize which elements must be recovered first. Objectives can be established for different data systems, networks and applications within a cloud architecture. Additional recovery strategies can include measures such as contracted third parties assuming company activity, activating cloud services for mission-critical functions, resource inventories, and so on.
These are all the kinds of decisions to be made by leaders and planners across the organization.
Remember, planning for business continuity in the cloud should cover several key points:
Prioritization of the most business-critical systems for recovery organization
Who should be in charge during recovery, and what their respective roles are
Business continuity via resilience, recovery, and contingency
Do these things, and your business has a much better chance of surviving any unexpected disruption.
Visual Edge IT dedicated to seeing your business succeed and grow. Partnering with us ensures that your organization has a structured business continuity and backup plan in place to safeguard against disasters, threats, accidents, lost business… and possibly a lost reputation.
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