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How to guard your business with a business continuity plan

No business is immune to the types of disasters that the natural and cyber worlds generate. In the event of a disaster, corporations of all sizes will need to be able to maintain their operations.

Doing so may allow them to recover from threats quickly and efficiently. Business insurance can help reduce any stress.

However, well-researched contingency planning can be used to make a cost-effective strategy which spans disaster recovery and business continuity. It can ensure that you return to business as usual with minimal disruptions.

What is a business continuity plan (BCP)?

A BCP is a detailed outline of strategies that an organisation can utilise in the event of a disaster. It needs to consider every possible threat from cyber-attacks, chaotic storms, power outages, and more.

Specifically, a BCP will provide detailed assessments and solutions on the following areas:

  • Essential supplies and equipment
  • The roles of employees and their responsibilities
  • Emergency contact details for workers and outsourced support
  • Backup power sources
  • And more

Like the natural disasters that battered small businesses in Hawaii and California, there may come a point in time where a business will be rocked by a disaster and they risk losing everything. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a sub-strategy incorporated into the BCP.

In these instances, a DR plan refers solely to a company’s IT infrastructure. Whether your business uses an in-house data centre or an external cloud-based system, a disaster recovery strategy addresses how your business can salvage its IT systems.

This includes:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Important data/data protection

By considering the company and its tools, the protection offered by a BCP can span the entirety of an organisation and future-proof all business operations.

Is it essential for a business to have a BCP?

Nobody can see the future and businesses that do not have a BCP can be severely impacted by natural disasters and man-made events. Apart from the immediate consequences (for example, loss of profit and productivity), companies can damage their reputation over time.

A customer’s lasting impression of a business comes from its brand and reputation. A clean image speaks volumes and businesses cannot afford to have their name blackened.

This public image becomes more important during a disaster and its aftermath. A business’s reputation can ensure that the company will be able to draw customers back in after fully recovering from their losses.

A BCP can also minimise the time it takes an organisation to achieve their recovery time objective (RTO) — the amount of time it takes a business to become operational after a disaster. Moreover, a BCP’s disaster recovery plan can assist businesses in identifying the amount of data that is appropriate to lose from a disaster — the recovery point objective (RPO).

Regardless of the nature or severity of the potential threats, a BCP can help your business survive and overcome them.

How is a business continuity plan created?

The intricacies of a BCP are exclusive to every organisation. However, the fundamentals are the same. They involve thorough risk assessments, extensive research using relevant sources, and careful planning.

A BCP should not be created by one person. Effective planning includes collaboration amongst everyone who may be affected.

An ideal approach to generating a disaster-ready BCP will consist of:

  • A designated disaster recovery team — the group responsible for creating the BCP and pinpointing the RTO and RPO — consisting of experienced employees. They should understand the inner workings of the company so they can determine what areas deserve the highest priority.The team should also consider what resources are needed to enact the plan. This may include recovery as a service and specialised training for workers.
  • Extremely in-depth research on established and current/emerging threats. Companies cannot risk the chance of being blindsided when faced with a disaster.The recovery team should examine natural and man-made threats specific to their company’s industry and field. They can assess the level of these threats against each part of the organisation.
  • Numerous tests that involve the entire company. All employees need to have a strong understanding of what’s expected of them.Tests provide businesses with the chance to simulate real-world disasters as often as needed. These exercises can help the recovery team determine the plan’s strengths and weaknesses.They can use this information to rewrite the BCP and test it again until everyone is confident in their role.
  • A company-wide announcement of the plan. After being approved and endorsed by management and stakeholders (where necessary), the disaster recovery team can formally introduce the BCP to all employees.Everyone can be handed a copy so they can educate themselves in their own time. It can also ensure that a business does not have to rely on one copy of the BCP in the event a significant disaster strikes and the business experiences catastrophic losses.

In the future, companies can reassess the efficacy of their BCP and make adjustments to suit the current times.

Create a business continuity plan for your company

A tested business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan can help businesses survive unpredictable circumstances. Running a business is stressful enough and nobody deserves to have the fruits of their labour spoil from something out of their control.The disaster recovery specialists at INTELLIWORX have the expertise to protect your business from any threat. Talk to a professional today to safeguard your business’s future.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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