Choosing the right business continuity providers will ensure that your business can rapidly recover after a critical event. But with so many different companies that provide business continuity services, the choices can be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the key players in the industry, known for their leading solutions, tools and services. To help narrow your options, we’ve divided providers by their area of focus, which will enable you to identify the right partners based on the individual needs of your business.
Recommended Business Continuity Providers
Always remember that disaster recovery is not limited to IT solutions. Your business continuity planning steps should consider every aspect of operations, from personnel to physical assets. With that in mind, here are some providers and vendors you should know.
1. Business Continuity Management & Education
Disaster Recovery Institute
If your organization hasn’t given much thought to disaster recovery up until now, this is a great place to start. Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) is a nonprofit that helps businesses prepare for (and recover from) disasters. They are a leader in business continuity education, offering corporate training for businesses of all sizes. Corporate training is available on-site, off-site or online, customized to the business’s needs. DRI is a great resource for understanding all aspects of business continuity and for putting together a comprehensive plan.
2. Emergency Communications
In a disaster, communication is critical. You’ll need an effective way to send emergency communications to personnel, whether it’s a few key stakeholders, team managers or an entire global workforce. Everbridge’s platforms provide integrated solutions for delivering “the right message, to the right people, at the right time, during critical events.” The platform is designed to know the best way to reach people at any given time and will keep on trying to connect with them via various modes until they confirm.
3. Data Backup & Recovery
Older backup technologies are notoriously unreliable and slow, often corrupting data during the recovery process. Datto has become one of the most trusted business continuity providers for data backup and recovery, because of its hybrid cloud technology. This provides both local and cloud backup virtualization so that data can be rapidly restored with little to no downtime. Datto’s screenshot verification process checks the backup integrity and performs a daily mock recovery to ensure it can be booted in a disaster.
4. Business Continuity Software
Castellan (formerly Assurance)
A single software solution won’t help you magically restore your operations after a disaster. However, business continuity applications like those from Castellan can be great tools for planning, identifying your risks, complying with federal regulations and managing incidents. It replaces your standard disaster plan document and allows your plan administrators to easily update and manage the plan online via mobile or desktop devices.
5. Operational Recovery
By some estimates, roughly 25% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster – often because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that arise within the first 48 hours. For many businesses, the chance of survival significantly diminishes with each day of downtime. Agility Recovery, in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Association, provides a range of solutions for businesses that have been crippled by a disaster, including emergency office space, backup power supplies and restoration of communications and computer systems.
6. General Emergency Preparedness
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has a lot of great resources on all aspects of emergency preparedness. It can also point you to specific business continuity providers for things like disaster assistance, disaster cleanup and protecting financial records, just to name a few. If you’re looking for general information on disaster preparation for small businesses, this is another great place to start.
7. Disaster Planning
Ready.gov (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offers a trove of disaster planning resources via its Ready.gov website. While the agency itself is not technically a “business continuity provider,” it does provide extensive guidance on how to prepare for disasters, mitigate risks and maintain operational continuity. The site provides a variety of toolkits on disaster preparation, as well as advice on creating business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans, training exercises and more.
What do these business continuity providers do?
The above list provides a brief overview of various business continuity providers and what they offer. But as we address below, it’s critical to make sure you identify vendors that are well-suited to the specific needs of your organization.
As such, it’s worth taking a closer look at each of these providers to understand what they do and how they can benefit your continuity planning. Not every business will need the assistance of every provider on the list. And in fact, you may find that your organization has even greater needs that aren’t covered by these entities. However, these overviews will provide a good starting point for identifying the services you need and where to go from here.
1. What is Disaster Recovery Institute?
Disaster Recovery Institute is a nonprofit organization that helps businesses with their business continuity planning and emergency preparedness planning. They do this primarily by providing education and accreditation in the areas of disaster recovery, cyber resilience, risk management and related fields.
What they provide:
- Online training programs on creating a business continuity program.
- Industry-specific education for healthcare, the public sectors and other organizations.
- Certification for individuals or vendors who wish to become a “DRI Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP)”.
- Online and in-person workshops covering business continuity management (BCM) architecture and disciplines.
While DRI is heavily focused on providing training to individuals aiming to receive certification as a business continuity professional, their training programs are also a valuable resource for organizations.
2. What is Everbridge?
Everbridge is a provider of critical event management solutions. The company offers a variety of products that help to automate the steps for responding to a critical event by aggregating data from third-party sources.
What they provide:
- Critical Event Management platform that helps organizations to accelerate disaster response and mitigate or eliminate the impact of a threat.
- Location tracking to pinpoint missing employees’ whereabouts during an emergency and alert them of approaching danger.
- Communications platform for sending email, SMS and voice alerts during emergencies.
- Visual command center that serves as the core orchestration engine for the Everbridge Critical Event Management Platform.
- Automated incident management platform (xMatters) that streamlines operations workflows.
3. What is Datto?
Datto is a provider of data backup, business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Its flagship product is the Datto SIRIS, a unified backup system that combines local backup storage with replication in the Datto Cloud. The company also offers a similar backup solution for small businesses, known as the ALTO.
In addition to its core BCDR products, Datto also offers a suite of networking products and a SaaS backup solution known as Backupify, which provides cloud backup for Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
What they provide:
- All-in-one BCDR solutions (SIRIS and ALTO) that back up physical and virtual infrastructure running on Windows or Linux.
- Local backup appliances that store backups as virtual machines, allowing them to be booted instantly (via the on-site device or in the cloud) for quick access to protected files, applications and operating systems.
- Optional software-only deployments that enable SIRIS to be implemented on existing hardware and/or as a virtual machine.
- Wide range of data recovery capabilities, including Rapid Rollback, which allows you to restore file systems after massive unwanted changes (such as in a ransomware attack), without needing to reimage the entire machine.
4. What is Castellan?
Castellan is a provider of software and consulting services for business continuity management. The company was formed in 2020 by merging several different business continuity providers under a single umbrella, including Assurance Software, Avalution Consulting and ClearView Continuity.
What they provide:
- Business continuity management software that helps to streamline continuity planning, including documentation, risk assessments, business impact analyses and testing.
- Consulting services that provide individualized guidance and training to help businesses with any phase of their continuity planning.
- Crisis management tools that enable communication and emergency notifications during a disaster, helping recovery teams to collaborate even if normal communication channels are compromised.
5. What is Agility Recovery?
Agility Recovery is a provider of software solutions designed to help businesses manage their business continuity planning. This includes management of planning documentation, training exercises, audits, emergency messaging and recovery systems.
What they provide:
- Cloud-based BCM software (RecoveryPlanner) that supports businesses through all phases of continuity planning, including business impact analyses, risk assessments, plan creation, crisis management and compliance.
- Incident management software that helps businesses respond to disasters via one-touch communication capabilities, real-time alerts and emergency response task prioritization.
- Emergency notification system with 2-way messaging via voice, SMS text, email, push and desktop notifications.
- On-site and remote business continuity testing services.
6. What is the SBA?
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency that offers a wide range of support for American small businesses, including counseling, financing and business-development resources. Within the realm of business continuity, the SBA offers a host of guidance for disaster preparedness and emergency response.
What they provide in terms of business continuity and disaster recovery:
- Resources for creating disaster recovery plans, including free toolkits and checklists for preparing for various types of disasters.
- Support for businesses that are recovering from disaster, including guidance and financial assistance.
- Cybersecurity training and guidance for preventing malware, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks and other common threats to businesses.
7. What is Ready.gov?
Ready.gov is an online portal run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that provides disaster planning resources for businesses and families. For businesses, the site offers an extensive range of guidance to support all phases of a business’s continuity planning and disaster response.
What they provide:
- Hazard-specific toolkits that provide step-by-step guides to building preparedness for disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, power outages and severe storms.
- Guidance for creating business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans and other documentation.
- Resources for conducting risk assessments, business impact analyses, employee training and disaster preparedness exercises.
What to consider when choosing business continuity providers
As we touched on above, each business has its own unique risks and business continuity strategies. Choosing a provider to support your continuity planning will ultimately depend on your unique objectives and needs.
Here are a few key questions to consider to help you identify the right vendors for your needs.
1. Have you already created a business continuity plan?
If not, this is likely the first step you need to take. A business continuity plan (BCP) is the foundation of all your disaster planning. It outlines your organization’s unique risks, the impact of various disasters and the necessary systems for preventing and recovering from those events.
Creating a BCP will help you identify which providers you need to support your continuity objectives. If you need help creating the BCP, check out this business continuity plan template for a basic idea of how to approach it. Separately, some of the vendors and providers we outlined above can guide you along this process, including the Disaster Recovery Institute, Castellan, the Small Business Administration and Ready.gov.
2. What are your objectives for data backup?
Data backup is arguably the most vital component of your business continuity infrastructure. So it’s critical that you deploy the right backup system for your needs.
Why does it matter?
For starters, a major loss of data can cripple your business. Threats like ransomware can quickly destroy your file systems and render servers inoperable. For unprepared businesses, recovery can take weeks or even months, if they can recover at all. Plus, ransomware is only one of several threats to your data. Every day, businesses lose valuable files due to accidental deletion, hardware failure, software corruption and other types of malware. So having a robust data backup system is essential.
But since not all backup systems offer the same level of protection or performance, you need to compare your options carefully.
The following questions can help you narrow your options to solutions that fit your specific needs:
- How often will you need backups to be performed to limit the risk of major data loss?
- How quickly will data need to be restored?
- Will you need to back up virtual environments in addition to physical?
- Where will backups be stored? Locally? In the cloud? Both?
In our list of business continuity vendors above, we recommend Datto’s business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for dependable data backup. The Datto SIRIS is an all-in-one BCDR solution that can perform backups as often as every five minutes and can restore systems instantly with features like backup virtualization.
3. Which experts can provide the guidance and services you need?
Online resources like those from Ready.gov are great for small businesses that plan to manage their continuity planning by themselves. But larger organizations will often need to partner with third-party business continuity experts who can provide individualized guidance and assistance with their planning.
The question is: which providers are best for your needs? For example, maybe you need an expert specifically to develop your BCP. Or, maybe you need an agency that specializes in risk assessments and impact analyses. Whatever your specific need, it’s crucial to hire the right team for your needs.
Some questions to consider:
- Which areas of your continuity planning will require the expertise of outside providers?
- Do the prospective providers specialize in those services?
- How much experience do they have?
- Do they currently support other companies in your industry that have similar continuity objectives?
- How well are they rated? Can they provide references? Are there any online reviews from current/previous clients?
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have the resources to conduct all this research internally, then you’ll likely want to work with a business continuity consultant who can manage the whole process for you. But again, you’ll want to select that consultant based on their credentials (who they’ve worked for and whether they’ve been successful at providing these services to other businesses like yours).
4. Is your continuity planning also focused on emergency preparedness?
Business continuity and emergency preparedness often go hand in hand, but there are important differences between the two. Business continuity is principally focused on strategies to keep the business running during a disaster. In contrast, emergency preparedness is typically focused on safety measures for the people who work at that business.
Organizations often develop an emergency response plan separate from their business continuity plan. But some types of business continuity providers specialize in emergency preparedness, making it an ideal resource for organizations that don’t currently have a response plan in place.
Here are some examples of how such providers can support your business:
- Developing safety drills and evacuation procedures
- Creating protocols for sheltering-in-place during severe weather or other emergencies
- Acquiring first aid supplies and emergency medical equipment
- Conducting employee CPR training
- Outlining steps for immediately responding to an incident to stabilize it
- Developing procedures for damage assessments
- Identifying regulations and requirements for compliance
Partnering with business continuity providers is essential for most organizations. But since there is such a wide range of providers, you’ll need to determine which providers are best suited to the needs of your business. Working with the right providers will help ensure that you have the resources, planning and systems needed to prevent disruptions to your critical operations. Use the list above as a starting point for identifying providers that can support your continuity strategy.
Get more information on business continuity solutions that can safeguard your business from data loss, ransomware and other threats. Contact our experts at Invenio IT. Call (646) 395-1170, email us at success@invenioIT.com or request a free demo of robust BCDR solutions from Datto.