Building business resilience

Posted on February 02, 2018

Building Business Resilience

An organisation is always going to encounter unexpected events.  Whether it be a fire, cyberattack or the sudden loss of strategic personnel, it’s crucial to ensure your business is able to survive. Through careful continuity planning, business are able to build substantial resilience, giving them the ability to withstand constant challenges.

So, what is business resilience?

Business resilience is an organisation’s ability to overcome or adapt to disruptions—the ability to continue their operations despite being struck by disaster.  It is essential for success in the event of disaster that all businesses, small or large, take steps to ensure they’re able to get back up quickly and efficiently...without the hefty costs.

Business resilience is about more than disaster recovery.  

Business resilience plan versus disaster recovery plan

This strategy is about more than disaster recovery, which is reactive, in comparison to a proactive approach taken with business resilience management. A disaster recovery plan comes into play as soon as something goes wrong, calculating the minimum time your business can survive essential systems being down.

A business resilience plan, however, incorporates disaster management as a major element but goes beyond this.  While ensuring continuous operations, it also offers strategies subsequent to the challenge, in order to avoid any lengthy downtime. A plan like this aims to safeguard people, assets and overall brand integrity.  

Business resilience also incorporates risk and vulnerability management, which identifies possible security holes or weak points within the business. This then allows the company to get on the front foot before breaches happen.

This strategy is also based on the premise that operations and workflow must continue uninterrupted, or with as little downtime as possible, in order for an organisation to survive an unexpected event. Because of this, it’s also often referred to as business continuity planning.

Enforcing disaster recovery strategies

A disaster recovery plan should take into account an organisation’s hardware, software, networks, procedures and people.  Following risk assessment and vulnerability scanning, the plan explains how to recover the business’s most important and strategic elements.

The plan itself should contain a step-by-step strategy, as well as a list of key personnel contacts. Also included should be descriptions of emergency response actions following each anticipated incident, directions on how to reach the recovery site, insurance details and tips for handling media enquiries.

Setting recovery time is also critical to the success of a disaster recovery strategy.  These time objectives help prioritise which elements need to be recovered first. The trend for businesses to be available on demand has decreased any tolerance for downtime, so it is imperative that timeliness is reviewed and compared often.

Critically, the strategy needs to reviewed and validated by your major suppliers, particularly your applications, data, cloud and telecommunications providers. It’s no good pulling together best practice restoration timelines when your provider can’t respond in the time you need.

Different physical or geographical locations are also an important consideration.  Technologies such as disk-mirroring or cloud-based storage can help a business maintain the most recent versions of all relevant data, enabling access without interruption if a particular system is down.

Inventories, secondary suppliers or agreements with third parties to—in order to take on certain elements of your organisation’s functions—should also be considered among recovery tactics.

Increasing business resilience through readiness

Readiness is also critical to business resilience. Not only by anticipating and reviewing potential threats, but also by ensuring staff are well trained. To adequately deal with an unexpected event, staff should be prepared and educated on how to respond accordingly. In particular, this means knowing where and how to access disaster recovery strategies, and knowing how to follow current business continuity plans.

Most importantly, any strategy should be constantly refreshed, monitored and tweaked to suit the shifting landscapes of businesses in the modern world.

Talk to us about resilience solutions such as IP Telephony, Network Redundancy and Cloud Services which are valuable tools to ensure operations stay tip top, always.