BDR vendor CloudOak has introduced a new cloud-based solution for building and executing business continuity plans.
Unlike disaster recovery systems, which help businesses keep IT workloads up and running during service outages, CloudOak’s Plan4Continuity product walks users through all of the steps that must be taken after a fire, tornado, successful ransomware attack, or other disruptive event. Those can include anything from ensuring employees are safe, to notifying customers, to rounding up warranty information about damaged hardware, and beyond.
Most MSPs rely on rudimentary procedures captured on paper for continuity planning at present if they have plans for their clients at all, according to Troy Cheeseman, CloudOak’s chief strategy officer.
“Partners shy away from doing those plans because they’re all manual,” he says.
Plan4Continuity, by contrast, is designed to streamline plan creation and orchestrate plan implementation. The system displays centralized status information about unfolding continuity incidents and stores that data for post-incident reporting as well.
Users can create continuity plans in minutes, Cheeseman says, drawing on more than 20 templates provided with the solution that cover scenarios ranging from security breaches and earthquakes to active shooter events. All processes in those templates cover all five elements of a complete business continuity plan, as defined by the respected ISO 22301 standard: people, assets, services, locations, and suppliers.
End users can put a saved plan in motion at the press of a button, access it from any device with an internet connection, and see exactly which actions have been completed and which remain to be done.
“While the tool is coordinating the entire event, the client gets to see everything happening real time,” Cheeseman says.
Managers can communicate with employees through the tool during incidents too. A built-in “broadcast” feature, for example, lets companies send messages to pre-defined groups of people with instructions or safety information. Users can attach files to broadcasts as well, such as maps of where fire exits are located or where evacuation areas are located outside the building.
“Roll call” broadcasts, meanwhile, let businesses quickly determine which employees are safe and which need assistance.
Plan4Continuity keeps detailed records of those communications, and everything else it does during a continuity event. Users can generate reports on that information after an event to assess what went well and what didn’t, or to assist with property and cyber-insurance claims.
Integration with third-party products lets the CloudOak system import information about end user assets automatically. At present, the application collects data from Cohesity, Datto, and Rubrik solutions. Support for Veeam and Zerto offerings as well is currently in development.
Also on the way by the end of the year is the ability to create tickets during continuity incidents automatically in PSA software from ConnectWise, Datto’s Autotask unit, and SolarWinds MSP. CloudOak’s longer term vision for the product is to move from orchestrating continuity measures to performing them automatically where possible on a company’s behalf.
Plan4Continuity licensing is available in two models. “Managed” seats give end users access to all of the solution’s functionality, but restrict editing rights to their MSP. “Dedicated” licenses add the ability for customers to edit as well as execute plans.