03-23-20 | Blog Post

Disaster recovery and business continuity in the remote workforce environment

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In the decades-long evolution of the remote worker, policy, data protection, security and compliance all kept pace with the rollout of users and applications. Today, there is a new and onerous dimension added to this evolution, the mass and immediate deployments of multitudes of new home workers due to the current global pandemic. In the pre-pandemic environment, there was typically a routine and cadence for adding new remote users and applications at the required scale. The outbreak of COVID-19 has necessitated the immediate deployment of tens of thousands of additional workers into the remote environment. For many businesses, this will ramp up remote worker deployment by a significant factor and may overwhelm the traditional deployment schedule and resources. Now that an event of this magnitude has occurred, there is a necessity to review several key areas of your policies and processes: Business Continuity, Data Survivability, and Disaster Recovery.

Business Continuity

The shock distribution of work forces and business critical processes across the country and globe already represents a huge undertaking for many business and IT teams. This deployment effort requires immediate augmentation of the existing Disaster Recovery plan to handle any additional level of disaster which could increase the risk to the business itself.

  • Now that you have greater numbers of distributed workforce, data, and processes, do you have a business continuity plan for disruption of communications to some or all of the home work force?
  • Can you support the deployment and redundancy of new business processes, as well as their security and compliance requirements, for jobs like HR, administration, and other typically centralized and highly secure functions?
  • What is the succession or back-up plan should key individuals be unable to communicate due to technical failure? What about in the event they are forcibly absent due to personal or family illness?
  • Have you sufficiently staffed up or outsourced the backup of your IT resources, data storage, disaster recovery, and data survivability capabilities? Would additional automation of those functions enhance business survivability?
  • Have you created a redundancy play for key individuals now working from home? Think battery backup and surge protection for work stations and redundant communication links (E.g., wireless smart hubs or alternate cable/telco internet access).

Data Survivability

Every business process, production, and report generates ever changing data. Specific parts of this data may be regulated by compliance requirements (E.g., SOX, SOC, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.) or be of intrinsic value to the operation of the business itself. In the new world of remote work, even for high level executives today, assurance is required, by policy, action and process, that critical and compliance regulated documents are not stored solely on the remote workstation.  An automated and mandatory backup plan is required. Complimenting this new backup plan, a managed backup solution can alleviate the sometimes-manual operations burden and tracking requirements for centralized data storage and remote workstations.  Choosing a cloud-based Backup as a Service (BaaS) solution that is compliant to any standards governing the business can alleviate additional IT department burdens, provide secure, trusted cloud-based locations for data, and even significantly reduce operations costs.

Disaster Recovery

Most of the components of Business Continuity and Data Survivability will form the basis of home worker driven changes to the Disaster Recovery plan. The opportunity to quickly answer new requirements for Disaster Recovery, and improve business survivability, can be found in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS.) Enhancements associated with DRaaS over traditional or DIY disaster recovery are:  speed of delivery for and automation of disaster recovery processes, compliance assurance, availability of survivable, cloud based remote DR locations, and enabling allocation of  dedicated IT resources to new initiatives. A secondary benefit is the lower start-up and operating costs associated with DRaaS.

If you’re interested in learning more about the advantages of Disaster Recovery as a Service or managed cloud back-up services that can improve the survivability of your business and reduce the time it takes to restore your business in the event of disaster, Otava can help. Consider our secure, compliant DRaaS and Managed Cloud Backup services managed by a team of experts trained in the latest disaster recovery and secure backup best practices. Call 877-740-5028 or contact us to learn more.

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