Five things you should cover in your business continuity plan

Business continuity is more than just a phrase for data backup. A successful plan should provide a continuity roadmap and instructions for a business to recover after an incident.

Your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should be well thought out, documented, centrally located and distributed to every relevant staff member. Copies should also be stored off-site and centrally! If you’re not sure how to start putting together a strong plan, this blog can help.

Here are five things you should include in your BCP:

Threat analysis

Business Continuity

The response to the disaster will depend on the nature and extent of the incident. Some threats, particularly natural ones such as flooding can damage or destroy your data, where a virus may only disrupt the network. In order to ensure an effective Business Continuity Plan, you need to account for any possible threat that may arise, no matter how trivial it may seem.

You also need to keep these documents in paper form! There’s no point having your BCP stored on your internal systems where you can’t access them due to an incident.

Key contacts

There’s no point having a plan in place with no instructions. Who is going to oversee the plan? Who is responsible for what areas? What happens when they are unreachable? How do you contact them? All these questions need to be answered within your continuity plan and updated on a regular basis. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get through to someone as a matter of urgency and finding out they’ve changed their mobile number!

Key suppliers

Similarly, you need to list your important suppliers and the contact details for each one, while also keeping this list updated. You’ve stored your data on a backup offsite, but where is it stored and where can you get it back from? Who supplies your electricity? Gas? Internet? Does the landlord need to be contacted?

All these questions (and probably many more) need answering in your BCP for it to be effective.

Communication strategies

How are you going to contact your team if the systems are down? What happens if you have no Internet or telephone? Effective communication is vital in any business, especially if you’re managing a system failover, having a secondary line of communication in place could protect your business against further downtime.

Recovery phases

So you know who is doing what and why they’re doing it, but what are they going to be doing? You need to list the step by step strategy for how you’re going to recover and restore business operations. From the initial assessment to monitoring and business aftercare.

If you’d like advice on your Disaster Recovery strategy, please contact virtualDCS by calling 03453 888 327 or using the form below.

 

Developers who SaaS benefit from continued growth

New research shows that SaaS application use has increased by 33% alone over the last year.

On average every company now uses 16 SaaS applications, according to BetterCloud’s 2017 workplace report. Companies also displayed a long-term commitment to SaaS technology, with nearly 75% of participants estimating that by 2020 that 80% or more of their workplace applications will be SaaS-based.

Why are businesses leaning toward SaaS technology?

saas software as a serviceSoftware as a Service is providing incredible benefits to end users, one major advantage is that customers can lower initial costs and free their capital expenses by paying on a subscription based service. End users also have access to the latest versions of software, can scale services as required and also free up IT department installation time.

Why would I SaaS my software?

For a start, it’s clear to say that SaaS solutions are showing no sign of slowing down and customers are effectively driving the market forward. Currently, the cloud shift rate through to 2020 for SaaS is three times faster than Platform as a Service technology and two times faster than Infrastructure as a Service technology. The overall trend is leading more developers to SaaS their software in an effort to keep up with both consumer demand and the competition.

From a developer view, partnering with a cloud provider to deliver software online offers a number of benefits such as a reduction in sales time, eliminating capital expenditure and lowering the overall total cost of ownership. In addition to this, few organisations can match the infrastructure and security investments that are made by SaaS vendors, so your application and customers are effectively safer.

How can I SaaS my software?

Deploying your software through the cloud has never been easier, especially with virtualDCS. We’ve put together a Software as a Service enablement package that provides a free proof of concept, pay as you grow hosting solutions, business advice and free evaluation servers.

If you’d like more information on how to deploy and sell your software online, contact the team on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

Disaster Recovery FAQ

Whether its protection against file corruption, a flood or server failure, businesses should have a Disaster Recovery plan in place.

This plan should be at the heart of every business, but unfortunately, many people still don’t understand the basics. To help clear the confusion we’ve compiled a blog answering the frequently asked questions around business continuity.

What’s the difference between Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery?

They two are often bundled under the same umbrella but there can be incredibly subtle differences between the two, often varying between organisations. Disaster Recovery is the process you use to resume business after a disruption, where Business Continuity plans are often more long-term. Business Continuity often suggests a more comprehensive approach to Disaster Recovery, making sure that the business operates effectively and keeps making money.

At the end of the day, no matter how subtle the differences may be, both Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity determine how an organisation will continue to function after a disruption until normal facilities are restored.

Where do I start?

A good place to start is to identify vital business systems and processes that are the most important to the business. Generally speaking, the greater the impact the harder it is to live without and the more money the business would lose.

What should a Business Continuity plan include?

The content of this plan would change for every business in regards to the priorities, size, locations and scope of the company. For example, some businesses may hold a greater focus on system recovery as opposed to office location recovery after a flood.

disaster recoveryAs a basic guideline the Business Continuity plan should include:

  • Analysis of any and all potential threats – including cyber-attacks, natural incidents and user error.
  • Key staff – who is responsible for what area?
  • Emergency contact information
  • A breakdown of crucial systems
  • Test strategies – when do you plan to test? How? Who? When?

You may find our blog ‘five things you should cover in your business continuity plan’ useful.

Do I really have to test regularly?

Yes! There are a number of things that you can only discover and experience by testing the plan. By taking part in the simulation, the more prepared staff will be in a real life event. They’ll also be more familiar with the strategy, be less likely to panic – reducing user error, and feel more confident with suggestions and finding flaws.

What Disaster Recovery tools do you recommend?

Our recommendation would be entirely dependent on your business and the solution you require! From Veeam Cloud Connect to vSphere replication, each tool has its own benefits, which is why we often offer our customers solutions from our comprehensive CloudCover™ suite.

If you’d advice on your Disaster Recovery strategy, please contact virtualDCS.

Yorkshire risks pouring £4.4 million profit down the drain

Another widespread Ransomware crisis such as WannaCry would cost the region millions, as staggering survey results show that Yorkshire is unprepared for a widespread ransomware attack.

The recent attack on the NHS was devastating to all involved, but it is only one of thousands of viruses that can hold and destroy business information at will.

virtualDCS - disaster recoveryThe outbreak brought a significant amount of attention to the threat of cyber-criminals but businesses still need to be aware of other risks to their data, such as natural events and IT incidents as recently witnessed at British Airways.

In both of these cases, a comprehensive Business Continuity plan could have had the organisations productive again within minutes.

Coincidentally these events happened around the time that virtualDCS decided to repeat its investigation into Yorkshire Disaster Recovery preparedness. Participants were asked to complete a survey and number of questions based around their existing strategies.

Currently, in Yorkshire, there are 200 medium sized businesses actively working and contributing to an impressive regional turnover of £27bn. From emails to invoices and images, these businesses need their data to function successfully, however, virtualDCS discovered that around 144 of these businesses are currently at risk due to a lack of Disaster Recovery preparedness.

Out of all the participants surveyed, only 41% of businesses were confident that they had a Disaster Recovery plan in place. What’s even more concerning is that nearly half of those surveyed had already lost or potentially lost important information over the last two years and have chosen to leave themselves unprotected.

virtualDCS - disaster recoveryCurrently, almost three-quarters of businesses within the region are happy to lose over 24 hours’ worth of business data at any time which, given a widespread disaster, would cost the region at least £4.4 million profit.

If participants were struck by flooding, a virus or hardware failure they may be unable to operate – putting both the business and employees at risk.

This frightening statistic doesn’t only apply to SMEs within the region, as 28% of those surveyed had a business turnover of over £10 million, with 44% having 51+ employees.

Despite these concerning statistics, there has been a positive change within the region overall, with the number of businesses that continually protect their data has increasing by 8%.

Businesses were also generally more confident in their overall continuity plans than the previous year, with a 2% increase in businesses with an active recovery plan in place.

The results also uncovered that:

  • If an IT incident was to occur, 28% of companies don’t know if they’d be able to restore their information.
  • Only 29% of businesses continuously protected their data.
  • 13% of businesses knew they wouldn’t be able to recover all of their data after an incident. Last year this figure was 15%.

We’ve created an infographic to break down the results and compared them to last year’s findings.

VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC HERE

For more information contact virtualDCS on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

SaaS just makes sense

When technology companies create game-changing software, they’re posed with the question ‘to SaaS, or not to SaaS’?

Software as a Service (SaaS) makes it simpler for developers to sell software, send it to market and make an impression in the industry. Combined with the fact that customers are actively driving forward this method of software delivery for their own benefit, SaaS is a no brainer – it just makes sense!

What are the benefits for developers?

Although there are numerous benefits for software developers, such as increased availability, the protection of intellectual property and reduced sales times. There are, two distinct advantages acting as the main driving force – these are financial efficiency and scalability. We’ve explored these below.

Financial efficiency

SaaS businesses are more financially efficient than traditional software companies and there are a number of reasons for this. One option for developers wanting to SaaS their Software is to create and maintain their own hosting platform, however, with this choice, the developer would have to purchase the hardware outright and then employ a team to manage and maintain it.

SaaSWhen partnering with a hosting provider, SaaS eliminates this requirement as the software developer rents space and facilities from the service provider, paying for them on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Scalability

Another fantastic feature for developers utilising SaaS is the ‘pay as you go’ system. With SaaS, the developer only pays for the resources that customers use. Many providers also offer needs based scaling, so when the demand is high they’ll have more resources available and software will continue to run as efficiently as ever. It’s also the responsibility of the hosting provider to account for future growth, which means the developer doesn’t have to spend money purchasing or maintaining hardware that may not be used.

 Benefits for end users

From a commercial perspective it’s clear why developers are utilising SaaS solutions, but why are end users driving the industry forward? SaaS enables them to access a range of benefits, including:

  • Instant access to new releases and updates
  • Reduced pressure on the IT department
  • Faster implementation times
  • Reduced costs overall
  • Access anywhere solutions

You can also read more about these benefits on our SaaS hosting solutions page.

If you’re considering hosting a SaaS solution and would like to find out more, please contact the virtualDCS team and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements and offer you a free proof of concept.

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