Cyberattacks, equipment failure, human error and other disasters can force a business to shut down unexpectedly. The ability to continue operations during an unplanned event is critical to an organization’s long-term success.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a proactive business process that enables businesses to understand their potential weaknesses and threats in times of crisis. With a solid BCP in place, an organization can continue serving customers, minimize downtime and prevent a catastrophic loss of business revenue.
What Does a Business Continuity Plan Entail?
When a business is interrupted, it can cost a company money until operations can resume. Insurance does not usually cover these expenses, and it is not always possible to recover customers that have turned to the competition. While a business continuity plan cannot necessarily stop a disaster from occurring, it can aid in an organization’s recovery.
A BCP consists of a series of procedures to restore critical business functions in an unplanned event. The development of the plan generally begins with a business impact analysis. Conducting a business impact analysis helps identify crucial or time-sensitive business processes and functions and the resources needed to support them.
Organizations are also tasked with organizing a business continuity team. This team is usually made up of business leaders within an organization responsible for managing the disruption and implementing the business continuity plan. The business continuity plan should undergo regular training to test the plan and evaluate the effectiveness of its strategies.
Following an unexpected incident that disrupts normal business operations, resources will need to be leveraged to restore operations and minimize downtime. Resources often come from within the business but may also be provided by third parties.
Common examples of resources include employees, technology, office space, production facilities, inventory, vital records, and utilities like power, water, natural gas and internet.
Essential Aspects of a Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity plans generally contain several important aspects designed to accommodate both short-term and long-term outages.
First, a BCP may include a checklist of equipment, supplies and backup site locations. It should also identify plan administrators and provide contact information for key personnel, emergency responders and backup site providers.
A disaster recovery plan is a crucial component of any business continuity plan. This plan should contain strategies for resolving IT disruptions to servers, networks, mobile devices and personal computers. It should also detail how to quickly and efficiently re-establish productivity in the office and implement manual workarounds if needed.
There are three main aspects of a business continuity plan for critical business processes and applications:
A disaster recovery plan outlines how to recover a data center at an alternative site if a disaster should destroy a primary workspace, rendering it inoperable.
A BCP should include a plan for keeping operations running during business disruptions and planned outages, such as planned maintenance.
Business continuity plans should maintain high visibility, meaning all processes and applications should remain accessible even during a local failure.
Importance of Creating a Business Continuity Plan
Businesses of all sizes rely on business continuity plans to maintain productivity in times of crisis. Even the best employees may struggle when faced with an unexpected disaster.
Having a well-documented business continuity plan in place, along with regular employee training, can help ensure that the company experiences a safe, organized and timely recovery.
A comprehensive BCP encourages business leaders to review the threats and weaknesses plaguing their organization and strategizing solutions for overcoming these challenges. The process of crafting a business continuity plan also involves accessing employees, leadership, resources and company strategies in a way that highlights areas of opportunity.
Unexpected events are not just limited to natural disasters. Businesses may face a wide range of problems, such as hardware and software hacking, data theft and other malicious actions that put the business at risk. A business continuity plan not only helps protect the organization itself but also its customers.
Customers are a business’s most valuable asset, and their data must be safeguarded to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Business continuity plans can also aid companies in other ways, such as enhancing their communication and collaboration methods. Communication is critical to a business’s ability to bounce back after a disaster. An effective BCP ensures that employees and managers alike can communicate effectively and work together to return to normal business operations.
Speak with a Managed IT Service Provider
Whether it is a natural disaster or data breach, businesses face catastrophic events every day that put their organization at risk. It is how these businesses respond to adverse circumstances that dictate the outcome.
To learn more about business continuity plans or to speak with an experienced managed IT service provider about acquiring managed IT services, reach out to the experts at SeaGlass Technology today.