Business continuity — why better networking helps you weather the storm
When disaster strikes, recovery and business continuity become your top priorities. You need to be able to restore operations and ensure that your organization can keep running. And because it’s so important to stay connected to your assets, your employees, and your customers, having a strong network infrastructure can mean the difference between weathering the storm and shutting your doors for good.
What are disaster recovery and business continuity?
Imagine a severe storm or fire cripples your data center. Or nearby construction crews accidentally cut your underground fiber connection. Or a global pandemic suddenly sends all your workers home, forcing you to quickly adapt to having a more distributed network.
How will you overcome major unexpected disruptions? This is where disaster recovery and business continuity come in. These go hand-in-hand to restore business and keep it running, whether you’re facing serious adversity such as fires or natural disasters, or man-made disruptions like security breaches or accidents due to human error.
First and foremost, every organization should have a comprehensive business continuity plan. This plan includes measures and processes for adapting operations when “business as usual” is no longer viable. A great continuity plan accounts for all areas of business, like assets, human resources, customer service, and more.
Disaster recovery is part of the business continuity plan. This focuses on restoring operations and critical infrastructure, should a disaster cause major disruptions and/or significant downtime.
Having a solid plan helps your business minimize the impact of a major event, as well as continue operating as close to normal as possible. So when a tornado levels one of your critical data centers, you’ll know which contingencies and resources to put into action in order for business to keep going.
Why is networking so important to business continuity?
While disaster recovery gets you up and running again, and your business continuity plan makes sure it stays that way, it’s important to keep in mind that networking is critical to both parts of the plan.
Given the current state of the world, you’re probably getting a crash course on this very subject. As the coronavirus pandemic forced a sudden shift to working remotely, you’re fully aware of your network’s limitations in accommodating a distributed staff base.
Remember that your network is the backbone of your organization. It keeps you connected to your employees, business partners, and customers, and is responsible for accommodating so many interactions — from emails and project collaboration, to secure data transfers and business-critical transactions. So much is riding on your network, and if you don’t have the right tools to manage and maintain its infrastructure, your network is a vulnerability that could cripple your business.
Every second counts when you’re dealing with downtime, and many organizations pay a huge price when they’re hit with an outage or a major change they can’t quickly adapt to. Not only is there a burdensome financial cost, but also ongoing losses related to customer confidence, business reputation, and legal and regulatory compliance.
Now is the time to think about your network and its ability to support your business:
- How easily can you manage your network? Do you need on-site support teams?
- Can you quickly set up secure connectivity if your staff is forced to go remote?
- Is it robust and flexible enough to help your business survive another unexpected crisis?
By answering critical questions like these, you can home in on the capabilities you need from your network, and transform it into a powerful asset to use in your business continuity plan.
What does a better network mean for business continuity?
If the COVID-19 pandemic has made anything clear to businesses, it’s that robust networking isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity.
Overnight, businesses had to accommodate a fully remote workforce. IT teams across the globe struggled to adjust their network capabilities and administration protocols. The network infrastructure was suddenly at the forefront as the main barrier to business continuity.
The truth is, few companies can survive days, weeks, or months at greatly reduced operating capacity. Having a better network with better capabilities gives you more protection against the uncertain, and makes you more likely to adjust well when another crisis comes your way.
For instance, traditional out-of-band (OOB) management is usually comprised of a mishmash of different solutions, which makes management difficult because you need to put up with vendor-specific devices, interfaces, and tools. If you’re equipped with more robust OOB that you can deploy on top of your current system, you can easily manage all your network devices and functions — even remotely. Imagine saving tons of time and money adjusting almost seamlessly to the pandemic, all thanks to in-depth network management capabilities that can go home with your IT staff.
Another advantage can be found in having a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform. In a nutshell, SASE combines networking and security in the cloud, and delivers them to employees no matter where they go. Which means that instead of having to juggle all sorts of point solutions, configuring workstations and laptops, and tethering staff to specific devices, employees can securely connect from anywhere via the cloud. With SASE, your workforce can go remote at the first sign of clouds on the horizon.
Finally, better networking simplifies scaling and prevents downtime. Automation can significantly reduce the workload for your network staff, and also prevent issues to keep your network from going down. Cloud-based provisioning gives you the ability to scale securely and quickly. And as somewhat of an insurance policy, 4G/LTE cellular failover gives you reliable backup connectivity in case an outage occurs on your primary connection.
When it comes to your business continuity plan, consider these key capabilities in order to get a stronger network that your operation can rely on.
Weather the storm with Nodegrid
From the data center to the branch, ZPE Systems’ Nodegrid gives you better, unified network management.
- In-depth out-of-band gives you comprehensive control of your network — from anywhere!
- SASE capabilities free up your main network while delivering secure connectivity to remote employees.
- Automation, cloud-based provisioning, and 4G/LTE failover help you scale and keep your networking running