What Is Business Continuity?
“Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” can be a good mindset, especially in business. How prepared is your company when hardship strikes? Whether it is a cyber-attack, natural disaster, or key employee parting ways, life is full of challenges that business owners must overcome. But how do you prepare for the unpredictable?
Business continuity is designed to give businesses a plan to follow when difficult situations arise. This allows you and your 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?
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 they have a job. A healthy business also provides unfailing service to its clients, allowing them to continue their day-to-day operations.
Employees look to you when tragedy strikes within the business to see them through. Having a business continuity plan in place assures your clients and employees that they are taken care of. It also helps your business get back up and running faster. Additionally, it can 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?
A couple of crucial elements must be in place for the strongest business continuity plan. 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. It guides the direction of your game plan, allowing you and your employees to know what must be acted on to lessen damage and keep your business running.
In this step, your business will need to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) and a threat and risk analysis (TRA). Once you understand where the issues are occurring and what is in danger, your plan can take a more focused direction. This is extremely important. Without this data, your business and employees spend 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 those that can be moved to the back burner until your business gets back on its feet. Understanding which functions need your business’s, or employee’s attention is essential to ensuring that your time and resources are 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 an acceptable amount of time a business can dedicate to restoring lost data essential for day-to-day operations.
TRA analyzes the potential threats your business faces, allowing you to know what to look for. These threats include the following:
- Cyber Attacks
- Power Outage
- Natural Disasters
- Technical Failure
- User Error
These threats must be considered when determining how much attention should be placed on nullifying certain threats. For example, spending valuable time and energy preparing for a massive snowstorm when your company lives in the west makes little to no sense. Instead, those resources and time could be used to train employees, secure networks and data, and ensure 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. However, the primary consideration should be who will implement the plan when adversity strikes. Your team should know their responsibilities and how to carry out their specified tasks when needed. Ensuring one strong individual or a small group is in charge of initiating the plan will ensure smooth communication. As long as your team members know their roles, the plan should carry 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 the hard work in the planning and designation stages 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 implement your business continuity plan. Regular testing and maintenance can help show hidden issues or angles of a problem you may not have noticed before. Having the plan practiced and perfected is vital so that when the time comes, your team can implement it without a hitch.
When 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 challenging 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.