Author: Kimberly Slater, Sr Director of Operations, Rethink Solutions
It’s not often that businesses face a pandemic, but natural disasters, man-made disasters, security threats and power outages are a reality. If organizations want to ensure a smooth recovery process and continuity of operations, it is critical that they do a risk assessment in advance and develop a strategy for Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC).
As most IT organizations know, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning is not a new concept. While IT companies have it ingrained in their organizational framework to plan for disturbances in their information systems, BCDR has been thrust into mainstream consciousness in light of the recent interference COVID-19 has had on all types of organizations across the globe.
Understanding the Difference Between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Although both are equally critical in organizational preparedness, the difference between disaster recovery planning and business continuity planning is important to understand. Disaster Recovery pertains to how an organization would get a platform or service working again after a disaster. In this scenario, there might be a period of time where systems and processes are not functioning properly. The goal of an effective Disaster Recovery Plan is to ensure that this disruption time is as short as possible and would include protocols to help get all aspects of a business running again quickly.
Business Continuity Planning on the other hand, is about disruption prevention and circumventing potential threats to an organization. Its main goal is to enable a company’s ongoing operations during any extenuating circumstances or an unforeseen “disaster”. Evidently, both are vitally important to the success of an organization. Unfortunately, building these plans can get pushed aside as priorities shift in day-to-day business.
Finding Opportunities in Real-World BCDR Scenarios
Events like Covid-19 are forcing companies to be more aware of their BDCR plans or lack thereof. While many organizations may have felt their existing plans had them prepared for unforeseen disruptions, a DR and BC test or tabletop exercise is not the same as a real-life scenario.
Though it is a challenging time, this global pandemic can also be viewed as an opportunity to improve on existing processes and close any gaps in previous BDCR plans. Many companies are already rethinking their existing operations and looking for new ways to create efficiencies and enable their teams to be more agile. Some are re-actively responding by quickly adopting new telecommuting policies and building out infrastructure to support it.
As organizations are living through this real-world BCDR scenario, the need for comprehensive DR/BC planning has never been more vital. With recovery plans being put to the test, it is time to proactively consider ways of improving on future plans and operations.
Choosing the Right Systems for Your BCDR plan
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning is not only about examining gaps in internal systems for potential disruptions, but it is also important to consider the types of external tools your organization relies on to function. Reach out to the organizations you depend on for vital operational services and find out how they would be able to continue to support you in times of crisis. Do they have a BCDR plan? How would their organization deal with the different scenarios your team has planned for?
At Rethink Solutions, we have a dedicated team that continuously reviews and improves on our own BDCR plans. All too often, after building a satisfactory disaster strategy, organizations will file them away without looking at them until there is an emergency. However, it is important to continuously test and revise these plans at multiple points throughout the year. Fortunately, as a result of our preparedness, our team at Rethink Solutions was able to execute upon our BCDR plans during this challenging time with little disruption to our workforce and no impact on our clients.
In fact, many companies are now looking to incorporate responsible, cloud-based software providers as a part of their own revised BDCR plans. The right external systems can act as a fail-safe when internal disasters occur. Whether it’s a pandemic, flood or security breach, knowing that the specific systems you rely on are supported by an entire, external team to keep them running, regardless of what is happening in your office, can be incredibly valuable.
While it may be impossible to plan for every possible situation, tweaking and revising your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans overtime is the best way to ensure you have a robust strategy that covers the majority of issues that could arise. With all the challenges in the workplace happening right now, there is real opportunity now to rethink organizational priorities and preparedness. Now is the time to push for lasting changes in systems and operations that will help your business thrive in times of crisis and prosperity.
Speak to our team to learn more about how Rethink Solutions has helped some of the largest managers, occupiers, and owners of multi-property portfolios in North America maintain their property tax functions during this time of disruption.