What Is Business Continuity?
“Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is a good idea to live by, especially in the business world. How prepared is your business for when hardship strikes? Whether it is a cyber-attack, natural disaster, or key employee parting ways, life is full of challenges that business owners have to be able to overcome. But how do you prepare for the unpredictable?
If you are like most of us, Covid-19 has taught you that the unpredictable can happen.
Business continuity is designed to give businesses a plan to follow when difficult situations arise. This allows you and employees to keep working hard with little disruption to the daily work routine, allowing your business to weather the storm.
Do I Really Need a Business Continuity Plan?
Regardless of whether you are a big business owner or a small business owner, the bottom line is that your employees and clients are looking to you. A healthy business supports its employees, allowing them to prosper and grow, take care of their families, and wake up every morning knowing that they have a job. A healthy business also provides unfailing service to its clients, allowing them to continue with their day-to-day operations.
When tragedy strikes, whether in the area of the business or within the business itself, these people are still looking to you to see them through. Having a business continuity plan in place gives your clients and employees assurance that they are taken care of. It will also help get your business up and running faster, help restore or save data that is in danger of being lost, and provide much-needed support for your employees and clients.
What Is Needed for a Strong Business Continuity Plan?
For the strongest business continuity plan, there are a couple of key elements that need to be in place. However, remember that the needs of your business change, so having a plan that can change with that growth is extremely important. Here are the elements of a business continuity plan:
Initiation helps determine what the objective of your business continuity plan is. This helps set up the entire direction of your game plan, allowing you and your employees to know what actions need to be taken to either lessen the damage and keep your business running.
In this step, your business will need to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) as well as a threat and risk analysis (TRA). Once you understand where the issues are occurring and what is in danger, your plan will be able to take a more focused direction. This is extremely important because, without this data, you will find your business and employees spending valuable time and resources protecting or managing areas of your business that do not need your attention while neglecting the parts that do.
What exactly do BIA and TRA measure?
BIA reviews which organizational functions are mandatory to keep the business running and which ones can be neglected for a bit until your business gets back on its feet. Understanding which functions need your business’s or employees’ attention is essential to ensuring that your time and resources are being used wisely. This is explained through the recovery point objective and the recovery time objective:
- Recovery Point Objective tells a business how much data loss is acceptable without disrupting or completely halting operations.
- Recovery Time Objective explains what an acceptable amount of time is that a business can dedicate to restoring lost data that is essential for day-to-day operations.
TRA analyzes the potential threats your business is facing, allowing you to know what to look out for. These threats include the following:
- Cyber Attacks
- Power Outage
- Natural Disasters
- Technical Failure
- User Error
These threats need to be considered when determining how much attention should be placed on nullifying certain threats. For example, it makes little to no sense to spend valuable time and energy preparing for a huge snowstorm when your company lives in the west. Instead, those resources and time could be used in training employees, securing networks and data, and ensuring that all of your systems and computers are up-to-date.
Designating Roles: Plan Design
There are a few things you and your employees need to be clear on with a continuity plan. The first main consideration should be who will implement the plan when adversity strikes. Your team should know what they are responsible for and how they will carry out their specified tasks when they are needed. Ensuring that there is one strong individual or a small team of individuals in charge to initiate the plan will ensure smooth communication. As long as all of your team members know their roles, the plan itself should be able to be carried on without a hitch.
However, when considering who should take the lead, make sure that whoever is chosen is prepared to make decisions for the following:
- Backing up and recovering data
- Executing the strategy and overseeing team roles
- Administrator duties
- Communication between team members and following through with the plan
Carrying Out the Business Continuity Plan: Implementation
All of the hard work in the planning stages and the designation stage should create a well-oiled machine for when it is time to implement the plan. Here is what should take place when adversity strikes your business:
- All employees should be able to follow emergency response procedures
- All employees should be able to follow detailed recovery procedures
- All employees should be able to follow the continuity activation procedures
- All team members should understand and be able to perform their recovery duties
Being Prepared: Testing and Maintenance
Don’t wait until disaster strikes to put your business continuity plan into action. Regular testing and maintenance can help show hidden issues or angles of a problem you may have not noticed before. It is important to have the plan practiced and perfected so that when the time comes, your team can implement it without a hitch.
When it comes to designing and creating a business continuity plan specifically for your business, understanding the issues, training employees, and ensuring that everything is running smoothly can be difficult to balance on your own. Blue Jean Networks is a superior managed IT and IT support company in the DFW area. Our team can help you design the perfect plan, train your team members on how to implement it, and help you monitor your systems to stop disaster before it strikes. For more information on our services, contact our team today! Together, we can face the unknown.