Sungard Availability Services Outlines Five Steps for Effective Business Continuity Planning for SMBs

What Every Small- to Medium-sized Business Needs to Know About Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

What Every Small- to Medium-sized Business Needs to Know About Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

WAYNE, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ — In today's data-dependent world, many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still have ineffective or nonexistent business continuity plans in place. SunGard Availability Services, the pioneer and leading provider of information availability solutions, has outlined five crucial steps every SMB must consider when creating an effective business continuity plan to safeguard themselves against unplanned or planned events.

According to the 2007 Best's Underwriting Guide by A.M. Best, only six percent of companies that suffer catastrophic data loss survive, while 43 percent never re-open and 51 percent close within two years of the disaster. It is imperative that SMBs recognize and plan for the potential risks that exist in today's IT-focused climate. Below are five steps to consider when developing a business continuity plan.

Consider a wide range of possible scenarios. Downtime – whether it is a result of a hurricane, fire, power outage, hardware failure or human error – affects your IT infrastructure and ultimately your productivity and bottom-line. When developing a disaster recovery strategy, your company should consider various possible disaster scenarios and plan accordingly.

Understand your time and data requirements. Understand how much time your company can afford to be down – also known as Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – as well as how much data you can afford to lose – Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Armed with this knowledge, your company can monetize your risk by balancing recovery requirements, risk tolerance and how much you are willing to spend on a disaster recovery strategy.

Look to keep your people, systems and information connected. Your business continuity strategy must encompass information, systems, people and processes, as well as the complex interdependencies among them. If your workforce cannot connect to systems and data, there is no business. As part of the planning process, also consider what the best strategy is for your company in managing critical systems and components – either internally, with a managed hosting provider or a combination of both.

Investigate advanced technologies. Disaster recovery technologies have changed considerably in recent years with solutions common in large enterprises, such as replication, vaulting and virtualization, now becoming more accessible to SMBs. With these new powerful yet affordable technologies, it has never been easier for SMBs to achieve even greater precision in recovery timeframes and data points.

Plan and test. Planning involves much more than just backing up your data. Many companies think they have an effective disaster recovery plan, but unless it is tested, it is only a plan on paper and not in reality. It is essential for your company to develop and test your plan so the first time it is executed is not during an emergency. Industry research firm the Yankee Group recommends running a disaster recovery test every quarter to help ensure your protection mechanisms will actually protect you when you need them most.

"When the unexpected occurs – from unplanned downtime to a major disaster – the details and unplanned variables are what always impede a fast recovery," said Jim Olson, vice president of inside sales and solutions engineering at SunGard Availability Services, who leads the company's SMB initiatives. "It is important to test the way you recover, and recover the way you test. Practice and experience pays off in a time of crisis."

Take the first step towards improving your company's business continuity plan. Call 1-800-468-7483 to receive a complimentary Disaster Preparedness Kit from SunGard Availability Services, designed specifically for SMBs.

SunGard Availability Services

SunGard Availability Services is the pioneer and leading provider of information availability solutions, helping to ensure that 10,000 customers in North America and Europe have access to their business-critical information systems. With four million square feet of operations space, SunGard offers a complete range of information availability solutions that include managed IT, professional and business continuity services. SunGard provides services to support an always-on production environment, as well as over 30 technology platforms to support customers who require a traditional 24-48 hour recovery time frame. SunGard also has technology and systems management services for application and data center outsourcing, as well as business continuity consulting services and planning software. For more information about SunGard Availability Services, visit www.availability.sungard.com or call 1-800-523-4970.

About SunGard

With annual revenue of $5 billion, SunGard is a global leader in software and processing solutions for financial services, higher education and the public sector. SunGard also helps information-dependent enterprises of all types to ensure the continuity of their business. SunGard serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries, including the world's 50 largest financial services companies. Visit SunGard at www.sungard.com.

Trademark Information: SunGard and the SunGard logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of SunGard Data Systems Inc. or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries. All other trade names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

SOURCE SunGard Availability Services

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