Few businesses have any idea a disaster is about to strike. Even with some hint of future events, many things can go wrong, as events unfold in their unique way. The global pandemic has starkly highlighted how rapidly things can change, with management teams scrambling to turn business into virtual workplaces, as more employees work from home and cyber events increased exponentially.
Therefore, it is important to have an effective business continuity plan ready to guide your organization through any disaster, whether it is a global pandemic, a natural disaster, or a cybersecurity event.
Over half of companies globally had no plan in place to mitigate the impact of incidents such as the Covid-19 pandemic. A lack of an up to date, tested plan to recover from a disaster as quickly as possible can lead to serious repercussions.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity is a term used to signify the practice of preparing to maintain business functions in the case of a disaster that has the potential to cause disruptions. Disasters might be natural events, such as fire or flood, or can be caused by power outages or cyber-attacks that lead to IT infrastructure being affected.
A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions that an organization must follow in the event of a disaster, covering processes, assets, human resources, and more.
Many people think a disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan is the same thing, but they have a different focus. Disaster recovery focuses on restoring IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis, and is part of the business continuity plan, which focuses on the continuation of day-to-day business operations.
Business continuity is not just about IT or just one department. It encompasses the entire organization, ensuring that it is still able to function despite any unforeseen circumstances.
Why is a business continuity plan important?
Having a business continuity plan isn’t just a good thing to have – it’s vital for businesses of all sizes. A disaster can cause disruptions to critical business functions and technology, regardless of whether it is a cyber-attack taking your network offline for days, or natural weather events causing physical damage to your office space.
Business disruption can create problems beyond the short-term disruption, such as:
How to create an effective business continuity plan?
If your organization doesn’t have a BCP in place, it’s imperative to create one as soon as possible. It can be extremely important to have the input and support of experts in disaster recovery and business continuity, to ensure emergency response and a recovery strategy is in place to protect critical business data. Having robust data backup and recovery services in place can ensure your BCP is effective and allows your organization to continue operations as quickly as possible.
A business continuity plan (BCP) can be divided into these basic steps:
- The first step in creating a business continuity plan is to identify its objectives and goals. Depending on the organization’s needs, different departments should be considered, as well as expected outcomes. Consider the level of detail that will be required and other areas that might need to be included to ensure that your objectives are met.
- Choose members from each department and record their contact details to the business continuity team, who undertake emergency management in the event of a disaster. The exact responsibilities of each team member must be clear to ensure the plan can be implemented effectively.
- Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) which helps to evaluate whether any or some company activities will need to be outsourced to save time, effort and resources. The BIA lets you determine your company’s core processes and the potential losses if these processes are not operational for a day, few days or a week.
- Identify the recovery time objective (RTO) which is the amount of real time a business must restore processes to an acceptable service level after a disaster to avoid severe consequences associated with disruption.
- The main goal of a BCP is to ensure the business operations can continue as normally as possible during and after a disaster. Create a plan that includes prevention, response, and recovery strategies. Each step should be thoroughly planned.
- Create documentation, training and plan testing for BCP response teams and senior management and conduct periodic drills to ensure the disaster recovery plan is relevant and all employees are cognizant of their roles and responsibilities.
An effective business continuity plan and a robust backup and data recovery plan prevents the worst from happening when disaster strikes, whether it is a cybersecurity incident or the impact of a natural disaster. Speak to the business continuity experts at Technology Solutions for peace of mind and a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to protect your organization’s operations and data.