Common Myths to Avoid when Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity plans are essential to the health and life of your business. Learn from these common myths and common pitfalls when developing a business continuity plan.

MYTH #1: One size fits all. Each business is unique and when developing a business continuity plan, be sure you take into account the unique situation, risks, and needs of your business. Think of the plan as a sum of many parts which fit into the broader plan so when a disaster occurs, it can be mapped to the appropriate plan module to determine the best response.

MYTH #2 Business continuity and disaster recover only affect and involve IT personnel.  Multiple different personnel must be involved in the plan to offer input and create a secure and reliable plan. The continuity team, which must include business owners and other personnel, must state business requirement. Three important objectives include:

  • Recovery time objective (RTO) – minimum time in which the business must recover
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) – point of time when the data must be recovered  (ex: start of the day, the last back up or last transaction)
  • Cost of downtime – potential losses as a result of the disaster and the recovery cost should be understood.

MYTH #3: The further away the DR Center is the better. There is no rule for determining the optimal distance, but a Business Impact Analysis can help determine the best DR location. Consider factors such as the greater the distance, the greater the risk of broken lines, higher cost of transmitting data and greater travel time. Ideally, the location minimizes costs but meets objectives of recovery.

MYTH #4: Disasters are rare and investing a lot of money in robust infrastructure is a waste. Sometimes a small investment can prevent a much larger catastrophe. Just as with insurance, paying premiums may feel like a waste, until your house catches fire.

MYTH #5: A Business continuity plan is just about keeping data losses to a minimum. Ensuring consistency of data at the backup site is even more important than keeping data losses to a minimum  (while still good practice). If data at the backup site is not kept consistent, you may have to resort to a time consuming backup, which takes a lot of time (with conflicting data adding to the delay). Consistency should be a primary driver in disaster planning.

MYTH #6: One Back-up data copy is sufficient. During the back-up process, if a copy is being made and the link fails, the consistency is temporarily compromised until the resynchronization is complete. BUT, if a disaster strikes during this period, data in-consistency will be permanent and could require an extensive and time-consuming re-working.