Everyone’s expectations of systems and services continue to rise. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, your customers and employees generally will have an “I need it and I need it NOW” mindset. Whether those expectations are realistic or not might not even matter, particularly when it comes to your customers. After all, the customer is always right. But employees without email? Now *that’s* a crisis. From the dozens of tickets opened to the Help Desk to missed calls because staff doesn’t have access to their calendars, you’ve got a lot of wasted productivity.
Most of us use email constantly, from our phones, tablets, and laptops. Sure, we can probably communicate across multiple channels, but what happens when you have no access to your company email? How much “critical” information is stored there? How many emails have attached documents that you didn’t bother to save somewhere on a backed-up server because 1) it’s so much easier to search my email or 2) I’m too busy to save all of those attachments to my shared drive? Sure, policies should be part of the solution to minimize these impacts. But that doesn’t solve the problem that most companies rely so heavily on email that a day-long outage can result in tens of thousands of dollars of lost productivity.
Let’s sit back and think about the above statement when it comes to your business. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning is based on getting critical services/systems back online as soon as possible to ensure the business suffers the least impact possible. If email is considered critical, which these days is likely, make sure it’s not assumed to “just be there.” People are susceptible to not thinking about something until they don’t have it. It’s human nature. It’s also one of the reasons Business Continuity exists. We’re the people tasked with thinking about “all the things” (It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?). Part of our job is to ensure expectations are looked at as business processes are documented in a Business Impact Analysis.
Understanding what is a critical system, who uses this critical system and how it “really” impacts your business is a must when developing a realistic plan. The ability to triage your workload is the key to success when it comes to actually performing the recovery.
Keep this in mind when you are doing your next exercise:
1. What systems/services will impact my (company’s) ability to deliver our product/service?
2. What do I (we) need to do to protect that ability?
3. How much money (or time) am I willing to commit to that protection?
It sounds simple, but it rarely is, as the internal politics of all business will pull you and your team in directions you really don’t want to go!
How do we avoid this?
Be sure you have a complete Threat Risk Assessment, Business Impact Analysis and finally real numbers to back them up. Engage IT for help when you’re looking a costs for technology solutions, including email recovery. Once your senior management looks at the cost in dollars and time, they should understand why you can’t have everything backed up in 5 seconds without a budget to match! With realistic expectations, your company can make sound financial decisions to put in place protections for the company’s critical functions and the systems that support them, which quite likely will include email.
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