It’s called business continuity, but it means that your business keeps running when disaster strikes, and when unprepared businesses either have to seriously limit their operations, stop dead for a short period of time, or fall flat on their face and never recover.
When a serious problem threatens a business, one of two things happen. The first is the management team are forced to react quickly and put “Plan B” into operation, or the second is the team does its best with limited resources, limited time, and probably, an increasing sense of doom. The better the plan, the greater the chance of success. Let us discuss the basics of business continuity planning.
Some disasters are unexpected and unavoidable. Earthquakes, fires, and floods are three examples. Other disasters are less so. Examples include a total IT hardware failure, cyber criminals gaining access to your systems and either holding everything to ransom or just destroying the company’s data.
A less traumatic example may be that a critically important employee is unable to work or communicate because of a serious accident. In all these cases, your customers and clients still need their orders filled, production and logistics still need to be properly managed, accounts must still be processed, customer data such as credit card details, etc, must be protected.
Regardless of the disaster, the basic 4-Point Plan will help your business to stay operational. Let us look at the points.
1. Have a Plan
That sounds simple, but many companies and organizations do not; especially the smaller ones. Some of those which do have a plan have not reviewed it or tested it for too long. So, to be prepared, a company and each department must, well, be prepared.
2. Be Resilient
Basically, this means that each department, function, and system can resume its normal operation without delay. This may mean having excess capacity so the failure can be absorbed. It may be that all software, files, data, and security systems are held in duplicate on a remote site, such as the cloud, so destruction is inconvenient but no more than that.
3. Focus on Recovery
Having the back-up system and securely-held data available then requires a recovery phase to be implemented without delay. Speedy and complete recovery often takes practice, so those responsible must also be prepared and practiced. Many companies have regular fire drills, for example, they should also have “technology-fail” drills.
4. Have Contingencies in Place
Even the best-laid plans can fall short, especially if a crucial individual is unable to play their part in recovery. They also fall short because the disaster is area-wide, like a flood or wildfire, and not limited to the company’s technology systems. Successful recovery, in this case, means knowing the company has already asked the question “What if?” What if the plan fails because the disaster is so far-reaching the basic plan cannot deliver results?
Few companies, other than major corporations, are expert at disaster recovery and business continuity just because they lack the resources to cover all eventualities. A solution is to partner with a specialist strategy partner.
That company should have a proven track record of managing business services, have enough experts on hand to understand what to do and be able to do it and be a company with locations beyond a common disaster zone. If you would like to discuss your company’s business continuity needs and how we may be of service, please contact us by clicking the link.