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Disaster recovery and business continuity plans – Do you know the difference?

According to recent statistics a staggering 40% of companies do not recover after a disaster, with 25% of companies failing after the first year of a disaster. Looking at these statistics it is perhaps no surprise that less than 50% of UK business have any form of business continuity plan.  Unfortunately many businesses are still guilty of confusing disaster recovery and business continuity plans; failing to understand that in order to be effectively utilised one must be underpinned and supported by the other. Businesses IT systems and data are constantly under threat from hackers, natural disasters and external threats, and comprehensive disaster recovery plans can ensure that should your business IT become compromised, you have procedures in place to continue operating with minimal disruption. Wider business continuity plans can help facilitate this, but these plans need to be supported by specific disaster recovery procedures, outlined within your service level agreement.

Effective disaster recovery is your company’s ability to recover from a systems disaster in a timely manner. However, ensuring effective disaster recovery plans are in place is no longer reserved for large companies, nor does it come with an excessive price tag. One of the most important things for businesses to consider here is the use of offsite data storage; at K3 Hosting we are able to offer our customers full use of our international network of secure data centres to help safeguard data, and this is a trend that many businesses, particularly in the retail sector, are starting to adopt.
Disaster recovery procedures, coupled with a frequently updated business continuity plan, can go a long way to ensuring your business can not only continue to operate should the unfortunate happen, but also that your operation continues, with business returning to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

Effective disaster recovery is much more than ensuring your data is backed up. At K3 Hosting we offer our customers Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) which is fully customisable to the specific needs of your business. We also provide customers with ship to site service, mobile recovery, workplace recovery and data vaulting all of which are fully scalable to your budget and performance. Together with a live and regularly updated business continuity plan, this can future-proof your organisation.

Why is this important?

Take retailer ASOS as an example. Back in the summer of 2014, ASOS suffered every retailer’s worst nightmare when part of its 600,000 sq ft distribution centre in Barnsley went up in flames. Twenty per cent of its 10 million stock items were affected but thanks to a well implemented business continuity and disaster recovery plan, the company ensured normal service resumed within 48 hours.

Retailers need to imagine every possible worst case scenario both in terms of stock and computer systems, and identify the best solution, or damage limitation, and plan for it. Copying data through to a third party, or having fulfilment outsourced are two of the ways that retailers can prepare for the worst.

We recently held an event with our channel partners, PinBellCom on these exact business functions and the marked differences between the two. The event included presentations on the importance of disaster recovery, as well as how disaster recovery should be incorporated into a wider business continuity plan. The event emphasised the importance of ensuring disaster recovery plans cover every aspect of your supply chain, in turn ensuring business continuity, should the unthinkable happen.

We were also fortunate enough to be joined by John Frost, head of business continuity at Marks & Spencer. John provided some fantastic insight into business continuity plans within the organisation, alongside a case study which explored how a mobile app adopted across the whole business has revolutionised the way in which the company manages its internal and external incident reporting procedures; detailing the benefits experienced by the company as well as the end user.

While the case example presented by Marks & Spencer highlights the company’s overhaul of its incident reporting, which sits within the organisation’s business continuity plan, it does highlight a significant point for all retailers looking at the benefits a comprehensive continuity plan offers, of which disaster recovery is an integral part. And as consumerism continues change the face of retail, and the way that retailers servitize, business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans are becoming more important than ever.