Introduction to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) – What is it and why does my business need it?

what is business continuity

BCDR is an acronym for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. Many people equate this term with data backup, but that would not be accurate. BCDR encompasses more than just the backup and recovery of lost data files. It is a detailed plan describing how a company would continue to do business in both the short or long term if something minor or catastrophic occurred such as fire, theft, natural disaster, power loss or failed equipment. A proper BCDR plan will usually include the following information in detail, specific to the decisions of business owners and high level management:

  • What are the responsibilities of key personnel for planning, training and testing of procedures
  • What is the plan for a loss of business facility; where and how will the business be relocated temporarily?
  • Which personnel will be assigned to recovery teams; by organization or department?
  • What are the procedures that each recovery team will follow and in what order?
  • And of course, how will the company’s critical data be preserved, recovered and restored?

Why does my business need a BCDR plan?

For many businesses, having a Business Continuity plan for IT systems is not optional – certain compliance standards require that companies have a written plan in place that is actively reviewed and kept up to date. Examples of types of compliance standards that require a BCDR plan include ISO 9001, GDPR, NIST, HIPAA, FDA GxP and 21 CFR Part 11.

But even if you are not obligated by compliance requirements, a BCDR plan is something that all businesses should have. As the saying goes – it is not a matter of “if” something happens to your data, but “when”. No data medium or hardware will work indefinitely. There will come a time when an employee accidentally deletes an important file or a workstation’s hard drive fails and having a clearly defined plan to recover from these scenarios is what a BCDR plan is all about.

In the next part, we will discuss BCDR in detail with regards to IT systems and some options for ensuring your company does not lose information and gets back up and running with as little downtime as possible.

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