Business Continuity Planning – Keep Business Moving

Many organizations today have limited tolerance for application downtime. If your employees or customers do not have access to essential applications and data, there will be a direct impact on productivity and revenue. While this sounds obvious, many organizations do not consider the actual costs of downtime for a business.

Let’s say your business has 100 employees and on a typical day average hourly revenue is $1,500. In order to perform daily tasks, employees need access to email, a large database and a variety of file-based data. Let’s say the sum of this data amounts to 2 TB and you perform an on-premises incremental backup at 6pm each day which is also copied to a cloud backup service.

Given these parameters, a full restore from a local backup would take 8 and a half hours and downtime would cost your organization $34,000 in lost revenue. When you look at restoring 2 TB from a cloud backup following a disaster, the picture gets considerably more bleak. To restore that same 2 TB over the Internet from a cloud service it would take 6 days, 9 hours and 42 minutes and the cost to your to your business in lost revenue would be $614,800. Obviously, these numbers will vary widely from business to business, but this example clearly illustrates the importance of being able to continue operations while primary servers and storage are being restored.


Application downtime is, of course, just one factor that can impact your bottom line. Again, there are a broad spectrum of possible considerations depending on the size and type of your organization. However, there are a variety of examples that apply to many businesses.


Insurance is an important factor in your recovery effort. For example, let’s say your business has numerous warehouses full of goods awaiting distribution at any given time. The cost to replace goods in the event of a fire or flood could be massive and severely impact your ability to continue operations. So, it is obviously essential to select the proper insurance coverage for your business’ specific needs. Beyond that, it is also critical to document all insurance information including plan numbers/login information, the process for filing claims, etc.


Every business will need to identify employees critical to the recovery process. This might mean executives, department managers and IT staff. Whatever the structure of your business, you will need to define business continuity roles and responsibilities. It is also important to cross train staffers on essential tasks, in case a critical employee is unavailable following the event.


It is critical to evaluate the facility or facilities in which your business operates. Considerations might include but are not limited to:

  • Appropriate fire suppression systems
  • Generators capable of powering essential equipment
  • Uninterruptible power supply systems for critical servers
  • Surge protection systems
  • Alarm/Intercom systems to alert employees of emergencies


It is important to consider dependencies within and especially outside of your organization. Let’s say you are in the business of manufacturing medical devices. You might source parts from a variety of vendors—possibly worldwide. Let’s say one such vendor suffers a flood or fire and production comes to a halt. This could limit access to the raw materials you need, directly impacting your ability to continue operations. Your business continuity plan should offer solutions to mitigate these issues—for example, identifying multiple suppliers or stockpiling large numbers of essential parts.