Business Resilience in the Midst of a Disaster

Do you know how you’ll respond if a disaster hits? It’s never safe to assume that the worst won’t happen to you. Your business exists in an environment where many factors are beyond your control. You can’t predict what the weather will do, nor can you be absolutely certain that a cybercriminal won’t inflict ransomware on your systems. What you can control, however, is the way you’ll respond if chaos ensues.

Identify what business resilience means for you

There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to business resilience. Because of this, you need to identify what it means for you.

Consider the number of personnel you need to continue working during this event. Additionally, focus on what you want them to be doing and the data you want them to access. If identifying all this feels like a bit of a headache, force yourself to focus only on those things that are essential. 

Identifying what business resilience means for you is the best way to create a foundation for your plans. It’ll help you choose the type of information you want to store in the cloud, the personnel who’ll become involved in disaster recovery, and the software you’ll need to access. 

Always remember that your definition of business resilience should evolve over time. As your business operations change, so should your plans.

Employees working from the Cloud on multiple devices.

Focus on flexible solutions

Although there’s a chance you’ll need to keep your business afloat during a disaster, you don’t know what that disaster will be. This means your business resilience plans need to remain flexible.

To support flexibility, consider solutions that promote it. One solution is to use virtualization. Virtualization allows you to create virtual versions of the computers you use at your business. You can create multiple versions of the same hardware, without having to invest in a separate machine for each user. Each user’s virtual machine will act independently and will benefit from its own operating system.

Virtualization is flexible because you can increase and decrease the number of people using your virtual machines with minimal hassle. If more people become important to your business resilience plan, you can add them. When they’re no longer necessary or they’ve left your company, you can remove them.

Consider using the cloud

In 2019, it was estimated that around 94% of enterprises use a cloud service in some way. With that in mind, there’s a chance you’re already a dedicated cloud user. But are you sure you’re using it as much as you need to?

Bringing more of your data into the cloud can make you extra-resilient during a disaster. You may want to consider using the cloud as your primary form of data storage. If you do so, make sure you use a separate cloud solution that’s hosted in a different geographical location as your backup facility. Using a different geographical location guards you against adverse weather events.

Using the cloud means you can access your data when disaster hits. It also gives you the freedom to use Bring Your Own Device policies, which promote flexible working and reduce your overheads.

“… it was estimated that around 94% of enterprises use a cloud service in some way.”

Anticipate different types of disasters

Although you want to remain flexible with your resilience plan, it does help to anticipate the types of disasters you could fend off. Doing this allows you to fine-tune your resilience response, as no two disasters are likely to warrant the same outcome.

Let’s use data breaches as an example. On average, it takes around six months to discover one. This means when you finally discover a data breach, your customers’ data may have been compromised for quite a while. As a result, your resilience plan needs to factor in how you’ll respond to the damage to your reputation, and mitigating or eliminating the financial repercussions from fines.

According to Safe at Last, “globally, cyberattacks are the fastest-growing crime.” you need to consider how you’ll remain resilient in the face of such an attack. One popular tactic used by cybercriminals is introducing ransomware to their victim’s systems in order to hold sensitive data hostage. You need to be considering the different possibilities and deciding on the best course of action for each one.

IT Employee monitoring network activity.

Take a pro-active approach to monitoring

Resilience isn’t just about responding when disaster strikes. You need to do what you can to prevent it too. Using real-time monitoring, you can assess the performance of your current protective mechanisms and address flaws as they arise. Additionally, you can use vulnerability testing to anticipate threats and prevent them rather than patching things up once a disaster occurs.

While using monitoring, make sure you’re continuously gathering data. Perform analytics that allows you to see how well your systems are performing. As the picture changes, adapt your approach to maintaining business resilience.

Educate your employees

There’s not much sense in forming an astounding resilience plan, only to keep it from your employees until a disaster hits. This tactic won’t do much to offset the chaos. Only educating your employees on what disasters you want to avoid and how you’ll remain resilient during them will have the desired effect.

Spend time educating your employees on potential disasters and what you need to do to remain functional during these time periods. Inform people of their roles and help them understand what others will be doing. Wherever possible, run simulations so that they can build their resilience and see how your plans work. Simulations will also help you identify flaws in your plan that you can then adjust.

With a multifaceted approach, remaining resilient in the event of a disaster becomes easier. Always remember to test your approach to resilience for flaws and evolve your tactics alongside changes to your business.