For all the benefits that technology brings small businesses, there are some huge challenges that need to be addressed too. IT system failures are perhaps the most important of these, as they can have huge ramifications – especially for smaller enterprises that rely on these systems for ‘business as usual’.

Though system security and cybercrime regularly attract the headlines, continuity planning should be just as big a consideration – to ensure business-critical operations can continue unimpeded.

Successful continuity planning begins with getting the answers to two key questions: how up-to-date does data need to be for a business to remain operational, and for how long could a business operate without it?

The first question gives rise to the RPO measure, or Recovery Point Objective. Here, businesses ascertain how much data would be lost based on the length of time their systems are down.

Second is the RTO, or Recovery Time Objective. For this, business owners consider the length of time they could cope without access to certain systems.

Companies that can work without emails for a day or more, with adjustments being made once the system comes back online, may have an RTO of a day, or possibly even more. If, on the other hand, they rely on prompt service which cannot be achieved without email, it may be set much lower, at just one or two hours.

The RPO can change equally drastically. Staying on the subject of emails, most of what a business receives may not be business critical and directly linked to the bottom line, so they could survive if four or five hours’ worth of emails got lost to tech issues. However, if no manual records exist and jobs can’t progress without email updates, the RPO might just be an hour – or even less.

Setting these targets allows businesses to put the right continuity planning measures in place, to identify the most crucial systems and discover what needs to be prioritised in case of a systems failure.

Armed with this information, and with systems put in place to offer protections, businesses will provide themselves an insurance policy against any future systems failures.

To start planning your business continuity or to review your current policies, please call our team today on 01293 876 000.