Build a Solid Business Continuity Plan

When disaster strikes your business, seconds matter. Any downtime will cost $. Disaster planning isn’t enough. Find out how to build a business continuity plan.  

Did you know that, according to Gartner, every minute of downtime costs your business nearly $6000? Downtime isn’t just an inconvenience to customers, employees and business operations.

The costs can be measured in minutes. That’s why building a better business continuity plan is key to business survival.

Business Continuity Vs Disaster Recovery

You kick a business continuity plan (BCP) into action during a disaster. But the distinction between the two is vital. Disaster recovery asks: how can we get business back online after a disaster? Continuity asks: can we continue with minimal or no disruption during an emergency? How do we do it?

When one minute costs you $6000 that’s a worthy question.

What Down-Time Disasters Does Business Continuity Address?

As business leaders, we must think beyond natural disasters. Down-time can occur due to:

  • Hardware failure (individual level or large scale)
  • Weather
  • HVAC goes out particularly if you’re in an extreme climate
  • Human error
  • PR disaster that “blows up” servers or phone lines
  • Ransomware and other cybercrime
  • Utilities or Internet failure
  • UPS battery backup goes down

Of these, human error, cybercrime, and UPS failure are much more common than weather-related disasters. It’s critical that overcoming these and other downtime causes is part of your strategy.

As you begin continuity planning, you’ll find that you can even mitigate some of these risks, preventing disaster in the first place. For example, making user interfaces more user-friendly while balancing security can reduce risky workaround that may lead to increased human error.

The 9 Critical Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

1. Assess Your Risks

We’ve listed some above, but you’ll need to dig deeper to understand how these risks may come to fruition.

Build your plan around these risks. But keep it flexible enough to work in cases of the unforeseen.

2. Assign Responsibility

Establish the human resources you’ll need both to plan and execute. These individuals need to be part of the planning process to create an effective BCP. Have backups for crucial roles.

If someone happens to be on a cruise or can’t work during a disaster, you need a backup. This person should know who they are and have needed access and training.

3. Build an Emergency Contact List

This should include multiple contact methods beyond work. Think personal email, Facebook messenger, individual cell, etc.

Establish which are the best methods for contact. Store this list in multiple locations.

4. Know Your Recovery Team

This team is responsible for getting things back to normal after a disaster. It may include people in:

5. Establish an Off-Site Backup

What if your primary servers are underwater or ransomware attackers have blocked access? These aren’t unlikely scenarios for businesses.

You need an alternate location, which generally means a cloud backup solution.

6. Invest in a Generator

Keep computers, lights, servers, security doors and other critical tools online during a disaster.

7. Plan for an Alternate Work Location

These days, this should include having some employees who work at least part-time remotely. From customer service to payroll, spread your human resources out geographically. This provides the best chance for continuity. Remote employees can “hold down the fort” while others move into alternate work locations.

8. Store Backup Equipment

It would help if you had backup equipment that can be quickly moved to an alternative area. If you have multiple locations, store in various locations in case you can’t access a building. Rotate backup equipment with used workstations periodically. You don’t want backups sitting in a warehouse becoming obsolete.

9. Create a Recovery Plan

Create a plan to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. This is the disaster planning portion of your BCP. While essential, you can see that it’s a small piece of your overall plan.

Build a Better Business Continuity Plan

A lack of business continuity will cost you. But building a better BCP can help you keep business running, providing better service to customers and avoiding losses. To learn more about customized continuity solutions, contact us for a consultation.