Disruption of a business often proves to be a costly affair. This is not only because of the financial implications that follow due to the loss of trade but also due to the long-term consequences of having a tarnished reputation.

While no one likes to entertain negative thoughts, it is in your best interest to have a recovery plan in the event your company is hit by a catastrophic event. As Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station said, “Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive.”

Today, information technology problems are the most common cause of interruption to businesses. Ask yourself; “What do you do when your organization is hit by a large-scale virus attack or a power outage?” Though we enjoy the benefits of ever-evolving technology, our dependency means that there could be significant consequences should an outage occur.

Of course, you may be thinking that that is why you have business insurance in the first place; to cover such events. But insurance, at its best moments, is not known for brevity. Additionally, they might not include all the costs required to get your systems back running. Furthermore, you be spending many cost-inducing days waiting for your carrier to take care of you.

Before your customers begin to leave or you’re embroiled in countless lawsuits over compromised data, it’s best to plan ahead. Your organization needs a business continuity planning.

notebook with business continuity planning on front

What is a business continuity planning?

Business Continuity planning is a threat prevention/handling strategy. The purpose of this strategy is to list out all of the potential risks or threats that may affect a business’s operations. Once identified, lay our the appropriate policies and procedures for what to do to mitigate these issues if they do occur.

Plan Implementation will ensure that your company will remain operational even in the wake of a disaster.

What Does a Business Continuity Plan Entail?

As you look to incorporate a Business Continuity Plan, the first challenge is to review your business structure. At this point, you will need to identify the business-critical processes in addition to the systems that enable them to run.

Next, identify which measures (such as data backup) are already in place. At this point, you can search for all documentation that will enable the recreation of these systems.

It is important to remember that due to our dependency on technology, an “always-on” philosophy is necessary. No system or process should be overlooked.

Your organization should have a designated team member in charge of disaster management. This individual (or management team) will be responsible for reinstating the company infrastructure in the wake of a disaster. While this role may not be a full-time one in most organizations, it is imperative that you have somebody who will oversee the disaster recovery plan.

Finally, you should assign roles to other team members on what they can do in case of a problem. Training, both initial and ongoing, is imperative for this role to succeed.

man writing disaster recovery

Size Matters In The Event Of a Disaster

Larger organizations, such as banks or corporations, take disaster management and recovery very seriously. They typically have “hot sites” that will replicate all of their systems to another location so that they can be fully operational within a short amount of time should a disaster occur.

For smaller businesses, however, this may not be a feasible option due to the high costs involved. Nevertheless, there are still measures that you can take.

For instance, having an offsite data backup strategy ensures that you will still have access to your data in case of a catastrophic event. Similarly, you should have your incident management documentation offsite as well but readily accessible so that you can quickly begin to follow the steps to initiate recovery protocols.

Most people are now utilizing the cloud as a means of data storage. While this is indeed an option, it’s worth considering how your business will access this data once a disaster occurs. If the primary office cannot be accessed, you would need a stable internet connection at your backup location to retrieve your information.

Nevertheless, the rapid expansion of the cloud has meant that most businesses no longer require in-house servers. This means that critical systems are always available at a secondary location.

There is also the rise of Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), reducing the reliance on a single physical location.

However, you still have to consider how staff will access data if a disaster occurs. If you have a secondary location, it might suffice. Otherwise, you could allow your employees to work remotely in the meantime.

Consider Outsourcing Continuity Management

Business continuity is, without a doubt, a complex task. It is one of the primary reasons for businesses looking at outsourced solutions. The benefit to this is that you will be working with experienced teams in disaster management and recovery handling your business continuity management plan.

Additionally, you will have access to an immediate solution. This is not only desirable for your business’ longevity, but will go a long way to assure your customers, investors, insurers, and industry regulators that you are serious.

Also, you will not have to train in-house teams on critical disaster recovery techniques as you will be utilizing specialized expertise. These specialist centers also employ the latest procedures including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS), which use virtualization and cloud to offer enhanced levels of system resilience and protection.

pressing button that says recovery

The Benefits of Business Continuity Planning

      1. Your Business Remains Operational. Estimates show that upwards of 49% of business owners would need at least three months to recover from a disaster. This could be a catastrophic business impact. A business continuity plan can help you remain operational as your business recovers.
      2. Downtime is Expensive. A report by the Aberdeen Group revealed that downtime costs small organizations up to $8,600 per hour. If your systems are down, you are losing money, customers, and your reputation. A BCP can aid in preventing any lost opportunity during an outage.
      3. Disasters Can Occur Anytime. A disaster doesn’t mean tornadoes, fire, or earthquakes only. It also includes hardware failures, power outages, human error, and cybercrime. All of these will take your systems down. Even if you’re confident that you are not susceptible to natural disasters, you can still be vulnerable to other situations. A BCP will aid in mitigating these risks.
      4. Competitive Advantage. If your business is up and running when others are not, due to a natural disaster or a local situation, your clients could look more favorably at your reputation. All clients want to work with the most reliable and efficient company.
      5. Employee Assurance. When systems are compromised or go down, employees immediately begin to worry about how to proceed with their tasks. This can be stressful for everyone, especially if your employees were in the middle of customer interactions. A business continuity plan can help your staff understand what to do when things happen and continue with business-as-usual. This increases company morale and overall job satisfaction when teams are united.
      6. Peace of Mind. Knowing that you are prepared for any disaster gives you peace of mind as an organization. Ensure you understand the difference between business continuity vs disaster recovery. You can rest more comfortable knowing that you have measures in place to counter any system failure or compromise. Business contingency planning is critical to your business’s longevity. Not only does it help to mitigate any potential risks that are not within our control, but also enhances your company’s reputation.

PhoenixNAP is a Global IT Services provider that has the technology and experience to assist your business in navigating the complicated technological landscape to achieve greater success. We have an innovative staff of experts who have provided solutions to numerous companies.

Want to develop a business continuity plan? Let us help you through it.