Business continuity tends to be a major point of discussion in large organizations. Small to Medium Enterprises should have a business continuity plan just in case these organizations have to deal with a natural disaster. Although business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans often go hand in hand, the two plans should be treated as separate entities.
Business Continuity for the Cloud
When crafting a business continuity plan, using the cloud as a way for your users to connect and continue working is often the most practical and cost effective option for SMEs. Large organizations will often build out their own datacenters in remote locations in efforts to mitigate any outages. Some companies have used infrastructures such as Citrix XenApp, Microsoft Remote Desktop or other SaaS or DaaS offerings to allow users to continue working as if nothing had happened. Having a business continuity plan and having your users practice this plan is essential for this plan to be successful. You never want to use your business continuity plan but if you do, you want to make sure that it works flawlessly. If costs or infrastructure have been a barrier to the creation of a business continuity plan, the cloud will lower this barrier of entry by allowing you to have systems on standby. Since these systems will not likely be powered on unless needed, the costs associated with this model will be minimal.
Disaster recovery ties in nicely with business continuity plans. If a major disaster were to happen, your users would be able to continue to work as described by the business continuity plan while the IT staff would be busy carrying out the disaster recovery project behind the scenes. Many cloud companies have sprung up to tackle this very problem. Disaster recovery is your plan to restore all data and systems onsite in efforts to rebuild the original infrastructure. Companies such as Peak10, Symantec and other large IT corporations specialize in Disaster Recovery as a Service. DRaaS continues to mature and more companies are looking towards cloud options for their business continuity plans and disaster recovery.