Businesses continuously increase their exposure to risks by relying more and more on sophisticated enterprise technologies. Most organizations that depend on modern business infrastructures are easily susceptible to the devastation following natural disasters, cyberattacks, data breaches, and loss of communications. In business terms, a disaster is any disruptive event that can interrupt normal enterprise operations.
Having a business continuity framework is the only sure way to prepare for disasters and ensure business survival through tough times.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan is a proactive strategy for ensuring that critical business processes continue running in case vital components and resources fail. It essentially defines contingencies for coping in a crisis and guidelines for disaster recovery.
A lot of entrepreneurs incorrectly assume that continuity planning means setting up a data backup and recovery system. A business continuity framework takes a more comprehensive approach to business resilience — data management and restoration is only a small but essential part of a continuity plan.
Why is business continuity so important?
The ongoing global pandemic has revealed that a majority of organizations lack proper measures to mitigate unexpected disruptions. One of the main advantages of having a practical business continuity plan is minimized downtime. According to recent surveys, IT outages and business downtime are frequent and expensive.
Here are more reasons why business continuity matters:
- Avoid heavy financial losses
- Increase business agility
- Comply with regulatory standards
- Protect business reputation
- Retain customer base
- Gain a competitive edge during difficult times
Formulating an ideal business continuity strategy
Developing an effective business continuity framework follows a series of steps that cover every aspect of disaster preparedness. Here is a checklist for creating a dependable continuity plan.
1. Identify critical functions and their dependencies
You first have to identify and categorize all your mission-critical functions and the resources that power them. These are all the vulnerable services that must remain operational to keep the business alive. Some critical duties may include revenue generation, communications, and collaborations. Their dependencies could center around supply lines, IT, data, and human resources.
2. Analyze potential threats and set acceptable downtimes
Analyze the business’s vulnerabilities by learning what kind of disasters pose risks to your critical functions. Have an idea of what to expect in the worst-case scenario when a disaster strikes. From there, you can come up with acceptable downtime for each of your essential processes. Restoration of processes after an interruption may not be instant; you have to allow for a realistic delay before recovery systems kick in.
3. Create contingent measures and action plans
A business continuity framework must describe recovery measures capable of responding appropriately to every possible disaster. These contingencies should prioritize restoring business-critical operations as quickly as possible. Depending on the disaster in question and your business model, valid response strategies may include:
- Contacting and engaging emergency response teams
- Restoring lost data using backups
- Supplying backup power
- Making arrangements for a temporary housing site
- Deploying alternative communications and IT systems
- Restructuring leadership and management roles
- Establishing new business logistics
4. Focus on recovery
Most of the strategies in a business continuity plan may only provide quick temporary fixes to keep the businesses going indefinitely. Crucially, a continuity plan must also lay out a path to full recovery. Immediately after reestablishing all essential functions, you should start assessing the situation to see what it might take to reinstate normal business operations. Once you have determined what to do, you can begin cleaning up after the disaster and righting any damages to set the stage for ‘business as usual.’
A business continuity framework prepares your organization for any number of threats. A well-crafted and tested continuity plan should be ready at all times in anticipation of disaster — this is not something you can just whip up in the middle of a crisis.
Contact us today
We know you care about your business and you would do anything to make sure it will always prevail. Call us today and we will help you set up a business continuity framework that will ensure you do just that.