As businesses are increasingly relying on IT, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) programs have become vital to warrant business can operate ‘close to normal’ during and after an unexpected event. This critical condition can be anything, from internal problems such as accidental deletion, hardware failure, and malicious users to external accidents such as natural disaster or ransomware.
The BCDR industry has witnessed a huge explosion recently as businesses of all sizes have an increasing demand for a comprehensive data protection solution. However, the traditional business continuity ecosystem follows a manual, time-consuming and expensive process. Many companies do not have in-house expertise and have to call on MSPs.
Let's talk about Disaster Recovery; in the event of an outage, the IT department is responsible to bring the systems back online accurately and efficiently. It is a complex process and involves a whole range of applications; if they make a mistake during the recovery process, it will result in a true disaster. This challenge can be addressed through implementing RPA to manage the whole process.
MSPs that act as an advisor of all-things IT for their clients are on the front lines of an ever-changing landscape. Of course, it is challenging to navigate the constantly evolving technology and tools, but one rapidly emerging area that can offer immediate value for managed service providers is RPA (Robotic Process Automation). By adopting RPA, MSPs can serve their clients better, give them confidence, and accelerate product innovation.
This article will explain what is BCDR, why it is important for MSPs to offer automated BCDR solutions; you will see RPA in action - how it can enable business continuity, and how partnering with a reliable RPA vendor can help MSPs position the value of BCDR to their clients.
What is BCDR?
BCDR is a set of processes and techniques that enable companies to recover quickly from an unexpected event and operate ‘close to normal.’ BCDR is a broader term that combines the roles and functions of IT and business in the aftermath of a critical event. Every day, 365 days a year, companies at some point can become vulnerable to an unforeseen event beyond their control, and BC (business continuity) and DR (disaster recovery) plans can help them deal with this challenge. BCDR consists of two phases or components - BC (business continuity) and DR (disaster recovery).
- Business Continuity: It is a broad plan created to keep a business running, in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. BC plan focuses on the organizations as a whole, but deals with specific situations that create operational risks such as breakdowns in internal procedures, hurricanes, computer hacking, and internal and external fraud. The objective of this plan is to ensure critical operations keep running, so that the enterprise can resume its services to customers, and meets its obligations to regulators and other stakeholders with minimal disruptions.
- Disaster Recovery: The Disaster recovery plan is aimed at the IT department; how it recovers the operations after a specific event or disaster happens. This plan includes processes such as copying of backup data, network and server recovery, and provisioning of backup systems.
Many factors are shaping the BCDR landscape: businesses’ transition to the cloud, increased adoption of an integrated threat prevention solution to safeguard against data breaches and hacks, ever-changing data protection needs, and prioritization of compliance and security. These factors have derived significant changes in the BCDR industry. The capability to store, process, and keep data available is not enough to satisfy today’s organizations’ needs, and MSPs have been called upon to offer value in innovative ways. Even the SMB community are interested in business continuity given the fact that they are more likely to get hacked or infected with malwares than large enterprises.
What is BCDR Automation and orchestration?
There has been a huge push toward hybrid cloud adoption as businesses undertake digital transformation to reduce costs, improve agility, deliver superior customer experiences, and enhance business continuity. Another goal in this effort is to reduce downtime resulting from outages and disruptions that negatively impact business profitability and clients’ satisfaction.
At the same time, digital transformation and hybrid cloud adoption have resulted in many points of potential disruption in comparison with the traditional technology infrastructure. Moreover, businesses may not have their core applications sufficiently protected which means they are vulnerable to data breaches, cyber/ransomware attacks resulting in downtime.
A smart strategy would be to improve the recovery capabilities by minimizing the outage duration and reducing its impact on operations with automation and orchestration.
Automation would save the IT staff from spending time on repetitive and mundane tasks, so they could focus more on meaningful tasks. Examples include data migration. provisioning, and configuration management. Whereas Orchestration means combining various automated tasks to work together.
MSPs can use ElectroNeek’s Orchestrator, an easy-to-use and scalable solution, that functions as an RPA control room to develop and connect bots with APIs, setup triggers, build sequences, and analyze bots performance on desktop and virtual machines. This tool can be used to test planned DR or migrations, DevOps, Application upgrades etc without causing any disturbance. It is a secured, AWS Guard Duty and SOC complaint solution so MSPs need not to worry about malicious or unauthorized activities.
Leveraging RPA for BCDR- Use cases
Use case # 1: Adopting RPA to ensure business continuity
A clothing store is facing a challenge to manage its sales orders as nearly 70% of its staff is working from home due to lockdown due to the Corona pandemic.
The company leveraged RPA to retrieve customer orders and data from the website and enter that into the ERP without any human intervention. Contracts and sales order management were critical to the functioning of the business, and with the help of RPA bots, the firm ensured to streamline its sales cycle to process orders quickly and with less user interaction.
Use case # 2: Using RPA to automate a manual disaster recovery plan
A bank wants to implement a DR plan efficiently and cut the mean time to recovery, but there were so many manual processes involved that caused delays from manual DR processes.
With the help of the RPA technology, the Bank’s IT department created automated workflows quickly and streamlined the IT processes at the start and end of the day. The RPA technology also simplified administration and minimized the maintenance overheads. All amendments to the Disaster Recovery plan were quickly applied and documented as they were embedded into the workflow definitions. The bank was able to convert its manual run book instructions into a single automated DR solution.
Besides, the bank has now more control and visibility over its DR activities. The RPA bots make it possible to monitor the progress of site switching, and failover processes, and also provide recovery time reports; producing these reports was a time-consuming process for the IT team.
Importance of BCDR automation for MSPs
IT services and data are very critical for a business regardless of its size, and most clients of the MSPs have BCDR needs. Many are also thinking beyond basic backup, and many are aware that they are not backing up properly due to limited in-house resources. This presents a significant opportunity to MSPs, and they must go about it the right way.
MSPs know how critical a BCDR plan is for the survival of their customers. If they lose access to critical applications and data, MSPs productivity and income is directly impacted. Delivering peace of mind to the clients is significant but for many MSPs it is quite challenging and time-consuming too as they face different scenarios based on human error, natural disaster, hardware failures etc.
Here, an automated BCDR solution takes away the stress and workload of delivering disaster recovery, backup, and business continuity services for MSPs, so they can focus more on their specialisms.
Now, let’s talk about those MSPs who may not have the expertise or in-house resource to offer this critical service but they have been asked whether they can implement a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan. These MSPs can take the help of a reliable RPA vendor such as ElectroNeek to assist in automating rule-based, redundant, and simple activities within BCDR services, which would help those MSPs deliver additional service and value to their customers.
How ElectroNeek can help MSPs deliver value-added services
Companies already know that downtime means financial loss, and the time spent on the recovery of data and IT systems is simple revenue loss. Manual processes will never offer the speed and efficiency required by the response teams. To respond to an unexpected event as quickly as possible, businesses look towards their MSPs to find them new ways. Here is how ElectroNeek can help MSPs build. Monitor, manage BCDR solutions, and increase customer satisfaction by offering automating rule-based, repetitive, simple tasks within BCDR services.
1. ElectroNeek offers many critical features for disaster recovery:
These features include scalability, compatibility with existing infrastructure, compatibility with physical and virtual servers, ease of use, autonomy and control over your data, allows flexibility, support for various cloud options, offers archiving and backup integration with custom backup policies.
2. Unlimited bot licenses with a low entry price
MSPs can use ElectroNeek's RPA platform as a single scalable solution to build unlimited bots with no additional costs. This means you can develop as many bots to help clients for critical areas of need. These pre-built bots will help you manage changing demands during emergencies.
3. Manage all client backups from a single console
The ElectroNeek Orchestrator helps MSPs manage all backup automation bots from a single control room. Besides, a bot can automate the report creation from various systems. It can also automate switches between apps to consolidate data from various reports.
4. Dedicated technical support has got you covered from start to finish.
To achieve greater customer satisfaction, MSPs must profit from the success of their clients rather than when things go wrong. ElectroNeek’s dedicated technical support is there to help you with trainings, knowledge base, and community to keep the businesses running which means satisfied clients.
5. Guidance on compliance
ElectroNeek ensures to guide MSPs on meeting the requisite standards. By partnering with us, there is no need to worry as your BCDR solution addresses regulatory and compliance standards adequately.
6. Opening up other opportunities.
A fully-automated BCDR solution can open doors to other opportunities for MSPs. Clients, who have outsourced their business continuity and disaster recovery plans to you will hand over other responsibilities after exploring the value of your service. You will be able to grow your business quickly with the ElectroNeek’s RPA platform.
7. Reduce downtime.
When it comes to hardware maintenance and software improvement, MSPs can use ElectroNeek’s bots to reduce downtime. For instance, our bot will use a business rule to automatically respond to an incident that can impact critical business processes. In this way, it will also reduce the number of IT technicians required to be on call.
Additionally, in terms of hardware maintenance, the bot will trigger a request to replace or repair a part and notify the end user. This way, the ElectroNeek bots are helpful for support functions and reducing downtime.
This article explained BCDR, the need of an automated BCDR solution and how MSPs can capitalize on this. By using ElectroNeek's RPA capabilities, MSPs will be able to expand their BCDR offering without adding headcounts.
MSPs that are generating more profits from value-added services such as automating BCDR management and orchestration will be able to grow their business faster. Generating income from different streams in addition to the core services also help MSPs become resilient during economic downturns as they would be able to manage various income streams.