Are you prepared for the unexpected? Can you recover from an incident and be back online with minimal downtime? Without a complete business continuity plan, it will be hard to achieve this.
Business continuity is really about what happens after the disaster or incident—it relates to the key steps you’ll take to deal with the impact of such an event. It has many aspects, including communication, getting critical business processes back online, and providing customers with a means to contact you.
There are many reasons why you need a business continuity plan. Downtime is costly. Disruption to business can have a lingering effect that may take considerable time to recover from.
“Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a whole — with a goal to support business resilience.” – Small Business Trends
But when you begin the process of creating a business continuity plan, what should your goals be? And how can you improve your strategy?
Goal one: document it
First, your business continuity plan should be documented. It seems easy enough, but many companies miss this step. So, consider this your first goal, which you don’t have to craft on your own. Partner with your managed IT services provider for guidance.
By documenting the process, everyone understands their role and responsibilities. There is a procedure to follow that takes into account all the mission-critical systems and how to best resume business as usual.
Goal two: identify roles
Determining who will be responsible for recovery internally, or how you’ll work with your third-party IT provider, is another vital objective. Document everyone’s individual role and, most importantly, how they can be reached in the event of an emergency.
Goal three: risk and impact assessment
A key part of a business continuity plan is a risk assessment or network audit to understand what threats are most likely to disrupt business.
Consider how different types of events can hinder your business, and if different steps need to be made depending on the nature of the disruption. For example, dealing with a data breach due to malware and a power outage from a storm both need a recovery plan, but each plan will be different.
Goal four: determine the tools you need to recover quickly
Many of the tools you need for business continuity relate to off-site backups or other means to ensure that your data is secure. Redundancy features are also necessary, as are things like generators. But what about using technology in a different way, such as artificial intelligence (AI).
AI is becoming an important aspect of business continuity. There are several ways AI can impact business continuity. Those include predictive analytics and automation functionality.
Goal five: identify your critical data and assets
A business continuity plan should clearly identify where your critical data and assets reside. By documenting this, it’s much easier for recovery teams to act. This part of your plan should allow anyone to move forward with recovery efforts, should you or another team leader be unavailable.
Goal six: outline preventative measures
Determine what preventative measures your company is taking to prevent downtime. Much of the time, this includes advanced monitoring of your network for threats. It may also involve things like policies and protocols that you take every day to maintain security, both virtually and physically.
Focusing on these six goals can substantially strengthen your business continuity plan. If you have questions about augmenting your current plan or building a new one, we’re happy to help.
Connect with us today to learn more.