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Does “Business Recovery” even exist anymore?

Though I never like to admit that I am aging, the terms that I see in my chosen profession sometimes make me feel ancient. The term “Business Recovery” is one of those terms—and here’s why.

Decades ago, Business Recovery was a term that meant far more than a sum of its parts. It covered everything from planning in the face of a catastrophic event to acting before, during and after. Plans resulted in actions that sometimes led to alternate locations where businesses could set up make-shift offices in a warehouse, replete with rows of tables and workstations, servers and more.

Additionally, the practice of Business Recovery was to take the least amount of time humanly possible to get back to some semblance of making money. But as time went on, the internet and cloud progressed, and digital transformation firmly embedded itself into everyday life, the practice of Business Recovery died a slow but inevitable death. Why, may you ask? The answer is in the name.

In 2022 and beyond, think of what “uptime” means as it relates to SLAs, customer satisfaction and—dare I say—even brand reputation. The idea of taking time to recover is no longer an option. Instead, recovery now measures in minutes, if not seconds—certainly not in days or weeks, as when I was younger.

Can you imagine the reaction that customers would have in 2022 if a telecom company announced a catastrophic failure due to an unforeseen event, resulting in an outage that lasted days or even weeks? Imagine the downstream effects on businesses reliant on telecommunications for telephony, internet, data connectivity and access—essentially bringing them all to an extended stop.

To accurately understand the consequence in a real-life scenario, one need only think as far as being in a house with teenagers when the router goes offline. As a father, I can tell you it might as well be Armageddon. But apply that to real-life business, and the term Armageddon seemingly falls short.

Therefore, as we fondly remember the days of Business Recovery, we must all now instead embrace the practice of Business Continuity. In our ever-modern, always-connected age of digital enlightenment, due diligence as it pertains to zero risk tolerance has never been more profound. The world’s collective economy is now at a place where even the shortest of interruptions can signal the end of far too many livelihoods to count.

So how do we as a global business community tackle such a monumental endeavor? My suggestion: embrace these four essential elements of business continuity.

First, it comes down to resiliency. Ensure that infrastructure and critical systems are prepared so that in the event of an internal or external threat, your organization’s capacity can continue functioning through redundancy and spare capacity.

Second, calculate recovery. Define how to restore infrastructure and critical systems after disruption and downtime.

Third, always have a contingency plan—and ensure it contains details of your organization’s ability to work during outages. For instance, in the case of an unexpected power outage, have temporary power systems in place that are capable of providing the electricity required to operate at full capacity.

Finally, redefine the term Disaster Recovery. A modern disaster recovery plan involves all aspects of the business to continue. For instance, have a backup plan to recover and restore data at another site or via the cloud if the primary data center is breached.

Ultimately, we live in modern times. And modern times call for modern solutions.

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