Moving to the cloud is the basis of a good business continuity plan - The EE

Moving to the cloud is the basis of a good business continuity plan

A BCP is a thorough and complex plan to fight the ever-present and ever-costly risk of downtime and moving operations to the cloud is the best shortcut to take argues Amir Hashmi, CEO, and founder of zsah.

A Business Continuity Plan is, broadly speaking, a set of processes and principles to improve resilience and ensure a business can continue operating efficiently. Due to the increased importance of IT to productivity for almost every organisation in the 21st century downtime, when IT systems are offline and inoperable, is its antithesis.

Thanks to the rapid adoption of digital tools which has been spurred on by the pandemic and the general move to online we have seen throughout the world, there is a tremendous amount of risk out there for businesses with online assets. This varies from cyberattacks and ransomware to natural disasters and power outages with disruptions generally on the rise. However, using cloud-based IT assets such as remote desktops, SaaS applications, and cloud storage of data can be a shortcut to protecting their continuity and therefore the continuity of your business. This allows you to focus on innovation and growth without the constant annoyance brought forth by sudden downtime.

According to Veeam’s 2021 Data Protection Report, the average cost of downtime is $84,650 (€78113.33) per hour that’s $1,410 (€1301.12) per minute. Naturally, this figure is skewed by larger organisations reporting higher sums. Still, small, and medium businesses are increasingly impacted year on year, as they are seen as easier targets and they have far less capital to absorb the blow with their vulnerability being evident. Downtime outbreaks are often damning for smaller businesses, with many being unable to recover from financial losses.

Although downtime is seen to have an infinite number of causes, whether that be natural disasters or cyberattacks, two factors remain consistent: it is costly for modern businesses and in most cases, it is often preventable with many being unaware.

The key to this prevention is the construction of a good business continuity plan. Suppose we disregard the part of BCPs that consider the physical security of assets and focus on the digital continuity of IT systems. In that case, we can say that a good BCP focuses on three things, and according to IBM, these are:

  • High availability: The systems provided in a business that allows the enterprise to have access to applications that allow it to still operate even if it experiences local failures in areas such as IT, processes, and physical facilities.
  • Continuous operations: The system a business has in place that allows business to run smoothly during times when disruption or maintenance takes place whether that be planned or otherwise.
  • Disaster recovery: The system a business has in place that allows it to recover its data centre at another location safely and securely if there is a significant event which means the current site either damaged beyond repair or inoperable.

Of course, this is not a universally prescriptive solution as businesses are different having varied sizes and needs, and one size never fits all. However, many of these essential issues are automatically covered if enterprises move storage, desktops, and digital tools to the cloud rather than store and operate them from on-site servers or even on personal devices.

Firstly, cloud providers automatically encrypt and protect your information through extensive cybersecurity measures and often duplicate it across multiple sites, areas, or even time zones to protect it against physical or cyber damage. Doing this yourself is not recommended as it is a very costly and time-consuming task with huge risks if not done correctly.

Here, you benefit from the economy of scale, as huge deep pockets develop and invest in the most thorough, innovative, and automated protection measures. This means that your data, your applications, and therefore the continuity of your business is protected from all but the most apocalyptic and unforeseen of circumstances. This includes data loss, power outages, ransomware attacks, and many other causes of downtime.

You are now (nearly) continuously operable and, just as importantly, are operable from anywhere extending your working platform. This, in turn, makes hybrid or working from home a far-easier and safer experience for new and existing members of your team with cybersecurity measures and encryption embedded in your teams’ operating systems and tools, no matter what device they use. This also eliminates any underlying security concerns allowing for one to focus on core actions.

As the ability to hybrid work is seen as a continued expectation of staff across the board, and most of the modern, industrialised world, making this process more accessible to others is a wise investment to attract and retain future employees.

It’s not a magic cure, but it’s a start

Amir Hashmi

The cloud is the obvious answer for a company that requires always-accessible and always-operational data storage and applications. This is true whether you use public cloud resources or a dedicated, off-premises private cloud server operated by a dedicated IT team on your behalf.

The cloud is certainly nothing new, and it certainly is not a single-point cure to IT pain points. Still, it is undoubtedly one of the most transformational changes you can make to aid both your security and operational efficiency eliminating any barriers which often halt progress.

However, if you want to avoid unmonitored cloud usage causing a surge in costs make sure you have the resources to dedicate to its use. Better yet, outsource to experts: an IT Managed-Service Provider will ensure that your move onto the cloud, and its continued use, will be managed effectively allowing you to shift your focus to more important matters.

Ultimately, cloud use will provide you with increased flexibility allowing you to scale services to fit consumer’s needs, improving efficiency, eliminating underlying costs/maintenance and adding strategic value allowing one to focus on providing the most innovative technology. The security and safety brought forth by the cloud cannot be ignored, with its benefits now clearly evident.

The author is Amir Hashmi, CEO, and founder of zsah.

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