If the worst were to happen to your IT system, could your London based business carry on working as usual? Careful continuity planning and a reliable backup system will ensure you can keep operating with minimal disruption.
Business continuity planning explained
Business continuity planning involves anticipating issues which could interrupt your company’s ability to operate properly. For business IT, these problems typically fall into two categories:
- Physical threats, like theft, fire or flooding or failure of IT kit.
- Software threats, like viruses and malware.
It’s critical your disaster planning measures ensure fast business recovery for key systems.
Disaster planning: it might never happen, but…
Good continuity planning involves methodically examining the threats to your business:
- Assess the threats. Consider what could damage your IT systems. For instance, a fire on your premises, a virus infection or the failure of your internet connection.
- Determine the likelihood of each threat. Some are much more probable than others. Get expert help to assess risk levels. totality services can help you with this if you’re based in London.
- Work out the potential damage. For instance, would the threat take your main customer database offline? Or would the impact be relatively minor?
Your continuity planning should prioritise threats with the highest likelihood of happening and the potential to cause most damage.
Identify and eliminate single points of failure. For instance, a power cut could take your server offline. Or, if your customer database is held in a cloud computer service, losing your internet connection could leave you unable to check customer details.
In both cases, you might consider adding backup systems. An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can keep your server running, and an ADSL broadband service can provide a secondary / failover internet connection.
Your business recovery plan
As well as taking steps to reduce the likelihood of the scenarios you identify occurring, your business recovery plan should describe how your organisation will react in the event of a problem.
- Establish procedures to follow if something goes wrong. Have clear lines of communication to notify key people quickly.
- Plan how to get up and running. For instance, could you share offices with another company if your premises were out of action?
- Think about short term contingency. If it will take time to fix your systems, how will you cope in the meantime? Can you work manually?
Once you’ve put a business recovery plan together, test it. See how your communications work in practice, and how long it takes you to get working again.
You may wish to consider your business recovery plan when you’re discussing an IT support contract with totality services. For example, you might want the VIP Service Level Agreement for faster response times in the event of important systems failing.
Your backup system
Your continuity planning should include a backup system, so you have a safe copy of key data. A number of factors will influence your choice of backup system:
- How often you need to back up. It’s a good idea to choose an automatic backup system if you have to take a new backup every day.
- How long will you need to keep your backups. Do you need to keep data for several weeks, months, or longer?
- Where your data is stored. Locally, the cloud or both?
- Facilities and equipment. You also need a way to access your backups. Make sure contingency systems are compatible with your files.
Whichever backup system you choose, it’s important to keep backups in a different place to the main copy of the data, ideally in the cloud via our Data Backup service. Test your backups regularly – many businesses neglect this step, only to discover their backups are useless when they have a real emergency.
If you would like to discuss business continuity or backups with us, please contact us.
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