Disaster recovery (DR) planning remains a hot button business issue as cybersecurity spending is on the rise, reaching $96 billion in 20181. Beyond the pithy hurricane and malware media coverage, the most critical component of a DR event is ensuring business continuity (BC). For the office of finance, a BC/DR plan often revolves around access to ERP data for reporting and compliance purposes. To ease an already stressful situation, we have identified three ways you can improve your DR by moving to the Cloud.
1. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Planning is essential to growing a successful business and staying ahead of your competition. Additionally, modern enterprises must be reactive to potential disasters beyond stock fluctuations that could impact their business operations. When approaching BC/DR, the sooner you are prepared for the worst, the less risk that should affect your organization. Too many stories exist of companies that waited until after a crisis had occurred to establish a DR plan.
For example, some common types of disasters are listed below2:
- Natural phenomena
- Infrastructure related issues
- Social upheavals
- Political unrest
Building a proactive BC/DR plan is no longer siloed within the IT department. Compliance and risk considerations have increasingly forced all departments to proactively plan for business continuity. CFOs particularly have broad visibility across the organization to help drive BC/DR planning. Enter cloud-based solutions. By moving to the Cloud, you are no longer reliant on internal IT data centers and can more efficiently manage the R2R process through automation. The planners are not adding complexity or cost for the company-wide BC/DR plan, and they’re de-risking the fact that for many companies, said plan is not current or routinely updated.
Now, about that out-of-date BC/DR plan. Finance and Accounting (F&A) teams are required to update financial data within the R2R process for monthly, quarterly and yearly reporting. Yet, these critical crisis plans are usually tested less than once a year3. For best results, BC/DR plans should be reviewed and tested at least annually. Criminals and natural disasters do not wait for the calendar to change, and you should be prepared.
2. Connect Your ERP to the Cloud
To efficiently manage their financial data, many organizations are moving from on-premise to cloud-based ERP solutions. As financial data is business-critical, this technology decision becomes a key focus for BC/DR planning. By choosing cloud-based providers for everything around the ERP system, you can reduce the complexity, risk and cost of BC/DR planning across the enterprise.
When employing an automated R2R solution, companies utilize ERP integration to get data into and out of the solution. To ensure data security, end-to-end encryption should be used for all confidential client data including PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and PHI (Protected Health Information). Encryption at rest should be maintained as data is replicated from the primary to the secondary site, and encryption in transit should be maintained as data is accessed over the Internet. With data stored in the Cloud, any business unit able to access the Internet is still able to operate in the event of a disaster.
3. Ensure Business Continuity
Business continuity is imperative for the office of finance to maintain compliance activities. By selecting cloud-based solutions that include a comprehensive BC/DR plan, contractual Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) are guaranteed. With secondary site replication and robust audited operating controls that include annual BC/DR testing, F&A can ensure compliance activities continue.
Since most disasters are localized to a single company or specific region, larger reporting entities do not give leeway in reporting dates. Therefore, by utilizing a cloud-based, automated financial close solution, month, quarter and year-end close activities are not impacted and continue to be executed with data recovery solutions in place in the event of a disaster.
Provide Peace of Mind
To summarize, the value of a secondary site is in business continuity for the office of finance and the larger organization. Once you have an automated cloud-based financial solution in place, corporate IT should contact the solution provider to design for endpoints at both sites. Include this verification as an annual checklist item with all cloud vendors. If vendors are integrating with your ERP system to provide support, they should have both primary and secondary sites planned and allow for security filtering and firewalls.
A disaster event should not derail your business operations. A cloud-based automated solution ensures your office of finance will continue to provide expert services.
Written by: Chelsea Downey
 Allen, C. (August 16, 2018). 2019 Disaster recovery statistics that will shock business owners. Retrieved March 5, 2019, Phoenix NAP.
 DisasterRecovery. (2019). Emergency Management Plan. Retrieved March 21, 2019, DisasterRecovery.org.
 Teplow, L. (January 13, 2017). How often should you test your disaster recovery plan?. Retrieved March 19, 2019, Continuum.