What You Need to Know About the Cloud and Business Continuity
March 10, 2021
Business continuity is just one of the key IT terms you’ll hear as you navigate the latest shifts in the business world. There are many threats to your business, including natural disasters like earthquakes, winter storms, tornadoes, fire, and flood. Your business can also fall to its knees due to a cyber attack or a devastating systems failure.
The cloud plays a big role in helping many companies ensure business continuity in case of disaster. According to the results of research reported by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI),¹ 50% of interviewees use the cloud for disaster recovery or for moving on-premise workloads to the cloud. Additionally, 50% of the interviewees plan for the role of the cloud in data protection to increase, which would include the cloud becoming more important for business continuity.
The Term “Business Continuity” Is Often Misunderstood
If your business experiences a disaster, you may need a disaster recovery plan, but you also may have a business continuity problem. Business continuity is often thought to be the same thing as disaster recovery, but they are two different problems.
Assume that your main database shuts down. You need a disaster recovery plan to get your systems back online before your employees lose their minds trying to explain to customers why they can’t check their order status.
Now, assume that a tornado’s path runs right through your offices. You have no office, no telephones, no computer systems. In effect, you have no way to keep your business in operation. That’s when a business continuity plan is critical. Thinking about the aftermath of that tornado, you may believe that you’d just need to close your business while you recover. But, with a cloud-based system, you’ll be ready when a disaster strikes.
How Do Cloud-Based Systems Support Business Continuity?
A business continuity plan ensures that your business can operate without interruption. To do that, you need access to your systems. For example, your customer service representatives need access to the order system, and your salespeople need to access their CRM. If all your business systems are on premises, the tornado just eliminated your ability to get things done.
But, as we are all well-aware – especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – many of your employees don’t need to be in the office to do their jobs. If they have access to a cloud-based system, business can carry on as usual. Here are just some of the advantages of combining the cloud and business continuity.
- Easy Access. Reaching the cloud is easy, even in remote locations. You can structure your cloud services to meet your unique business needs.
- Responsive Restore and Recovery. When your on-premise systems are back up and running, it’s easy to restore and recover your data from the cloud. And, if you’re facing a long recovery period for your own facilities, your cloud provider can replicate files to a different location.
- Cost Effectiveness. Traditionally, business continuity plans are often expensive, requiring the capacity to support all of your organization’s business data. Those plans often call for costly remote production centers. When the cloud is involved, you can pick and choose the most critical capabilities to recreate elsewhere until your facilities are available.
- Seamless Backup. Cloud-based data backup is highly reliable and can be scheduled outside of normal business hours to avoid interrupting your operation.
- Reliability. Cloud providers are experts at keeping their systems operating, and the chance of a backup failure or data loss is exceptionally low. They’re also in a position to use the latest cyber security practices, which often are better than those you can implement yourself.
- Cloud Providers Follow Regulations. If you operate in a regulated industry such as financial or healthcare, you need to comply with data security regulations. Cloud providers are bound by the same regulations, relieving you of the burden of ensuring that you avoid non-compliance penalties.
Why Business Continuity Is Important
Ensuring business continuity requires a well-designed plan that takes time to create initially and to keep up to date. A plan that sits on the shelf for years won’t work when a disaster does strike. So, the question is often, “Why should I bother?”
The reason is similar to the reason why you have insurance. You don’t expect your offices to burn to the ground, but you have insurance to rebuild if it does. However, you may not need to rebuild if a disaster prevents you from making money, keeping your employees, and maintaining contact with your prospects and clients. In fact, 40% of small businesses don’t survive a disaster.²
If you don’t have a current business continuity plan, Access One can help you. We’ll prepare you to avoid shutting your doors after a disaster with cloud and business continuity. For more information, contact us, or learn more about our business continuity services.