Business Continuity: A Wake-Up Call for Government Organizations

Can the cloud offer business continuity for government?You’ve just settled into bed and are drifting off to sleep when your phone jolts you from your peaceful slumber. You know that dreaded call; it’s the one telling you that the server is down, or worse, that your systems have been attacked by a virus. If you’re managing your own IT systems or working with a poorly-prepared cloud provider, this scenario can be all too common. The solution? Superior business continuity.


What does business continuity involve?

Business continuity (BC) planning involves a lot of preparation to put procedures in place that reduce risk of disaster and improve recovery in the event of one. While all departments should have a strong BC plan, IT is the most critical area as it is often the most vulnerable part of a government organization.

Components of Business Continuity Management include data backup, disaster recovery plans, emergency power sources, and hot sites with operational workstations.

 

What events should business continuity prepare for?

For government organizations, there are five threats that a business continuity plan must be ready to combat.

1. Natural disasters

No one is safe from Mother Nature. In Florida, hurricanes pose the largest threat. In 2017 alone, four hurricanes hit Florida, pummeling the Sunshine State with heavy rains, harsh winds, and rising waters. According to National Geographic, it was the most expensive hurricane season in U.S. history, costing roughly $200 billion.

2. Security breaches

All software contains weaknesses, and there’s always a hacker looking to exploit them. According to the Online Trust Alliance, cyberattacks targeting businesses nearly doubled in volume in 2017, and experts predict things will only get worse.

3. Power outages

Electrical power outages, surges, and spikes are estimated to cost more than $150 billion in annual damages to the United States economy. Until the U.S. electrical grid is modernized, government organizations can expect the problem to only get worse.

4. Failed server updates

More than a mere annoyance, failed updates can result in non-patch deployment, leading to increased vulnerability to cyberattacks.

5. Human Error

Your organization’s greatest vulnerability may be working within your office. Employees can unknowingly unleash an attack due to lack of understanding regarding the importance of creating strong passwords and the dangers of clicking unknown links.

 

The RPO and RTO factor

Government agencies can’t afford to go dark. In fact, the FBI has invested more than $20 million to assure it doesn’t happen to them. With a reputable cloud provider, Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) are maximized to avoid any disruption in activity:

  • RTO: how much time can pass during a disaster before it affects a Businesses Continuity Plan.
  • RPO: the amount of time in which a business function must be restored to avoid negative consequences or business continuity breaks.

The high cost of downtime

Downtime can be very costly; in fact, most organizations estimate that downtime costs between $300,000 and $400,000 per hour. Outages can take away the tools your employees need to do their jobs. It can also affect your customers being able to access your website, apps, place orders, and get customer service. Plus, it can really damage your reputation among the public.

 

Seeking business continuity through the cloud

If all this sounds daunting, there is an alternative. Reputable cloud providers—no, make that partners—can offer comprehensive business continuity technologies which is one factor heavily influencing government organizations’ move to virtual private clouds (VPCs). With a VPC, systems run on a shared infrastructure owned by one provider, greatly simplifying your IT operations. VPCs also offer the following:

  • Heightened security
  • Complete compliance
  • Cost control

Along with business continuity, data backup and recovery, VPCs are useful as a way to replace tape storage and upgrade from legacy apps and infrastructure. IT managers also view VPCs as a way to move IT staff from performing maintenance to taking on more innovative roles.

Learn more in our story, 3 Ways the Cloud Benefits Government Agencies.

DSM, Florida's preferred cloud provider and the choice of Florida’s Department of Agriculture, offers VPC services to all government organizations through the G-CloudBy bundling with DSM’s government VPC the G-Cloud (now available for purchase through the GSA contract), government organizations can also save a bundle.

Speak with one of our IT experts today to learn more about the benefits. With G-Cloud, those dreaded late night phone calls can become a thing of the past!

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