6 not-so-obvious reasons you need a business continuity plan
There’s no shortage of articles out there about business continuity plans. There are guides on creating them, horror stories about what can happen if you don’t have one, and even entire articles on why you should want one.
But we find there are some compelling reasons for creating a business continuity plan that often fall through the cracks. Today, we’re going to address some of the not-so-obvious reasons why you need one . . . and point you in the right direction if you don’t have one already.
The plans you don’t want to need
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. No one likes talking about business continuity. It’s the plan you hope you never need. The only time your BC plan is going to go into effect is when something has gone terribly wrong.
It’s understandable that so many business leaders find the topic to be an unpleasant one.
But that’s no excuse for avoiding it altogether. And it’s not enough to just have a plan. You need a comprehensive plan to minimize downtime and keep all your critical business operations running, no matter what.
The not-so-obvious strategic reasons for business continuity
As mentioned before, there are a lot of reasons why business continuity matters. What follows here are some of the reasons that often get overlooked.
But just because these reasons aren’t as obvious doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them when building out your business continuity plan.
1. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes
When you think of “disasters,” you likely think of the big stuff—hurricanes, floods, fires and epic snow storms. But there are plenty of little disasters that can just as easily disrupt normal business operations.
For example, power outages, equipment failure and even planned downtime for things like updates and upgrades will take your network offline just like a major disaster. When that happens, your business continuity plan can kick in and help your staff stay productive while the network is offline.
Related: Data backup and security best practices
2. The aftershocks of a disaster can be as devastating the disaster
Any kind of network downtime comes with what one article called “the ripple effect.” The ripple effect plays out in two ways.
First, when your tech solutions are offline it affects more than just the rest of your network. It affects your entire business, from internal communications to customer service. The disruption reverberates.
Second, bouncing back after downtime isn’t as simple as turning everything back on. You’ll have to recover from any processes changes you were forced to make during the downtime, as well. That may mean going back and entering data or taking care of non-critical tasks you skipped during the downtime.
The better your business continuity plan, the less impact both “ripples” will have.
3. Customer expectations are unrealistically high
Your customers expect you to remain operational no matter what. Is that always reasonable? No. Is it still what they expect? Yes.
The difference between the companies that come out of a disaster looking good and those who shut down as a result comes down (in part) to how they handle that expectation. You may not be able to operate normally during a disaster, but if you can maintain core operations, your customers will notice.
On the other hand, if you can’t and your competitors can, they’ll notice that, too.
4. Your employees are going to freak out
Your employees are human. They’re going to be affected by a disaster just like your business operations. The worse the disaster, the more frazzled they’ll be.
The absolute worst scenario is an emergency with no plan. Then you can add chaos to the list of challenges. But a solid business continuity plan will help set everyone’s mind at ease, allowing your employees to focus on keeping the business running rather than their stress.
Related: 4 communication fundamentals that should be in every disaster recovery plan
5. Cyberattacks are basically inevitable
There is one kind of disaster we left out of our list all the way back at #1—cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks are unavoidable. 67% of SMBs have already experienced a cyberattack, and those who haven’t should fully expect to be forced to fend off cybercriminals at some point in the near future.
Your business continuity plan is one more layer of protection from cyberattacks. How so? If your network is pulled offline, your BC plan can help you maintain operations just the same way it would if your building burned to the ground.
6. Something is better than nothing
Finally, there’s one more reason you should establish some kind of business continuity plan, even if the very idea of it makes you feel out of your depth. Something is better than nothing. We mean that.
Is a thorough BC plan better? Of course. But even a half-baked plan will give you resources when you need them most. Plus, you can always build on an initial plan later, fleshing it out and making it even more strategic.
Just don’t ignore business continuity altogether.
If you don’t have a plan
If you have no BC plan right now and you’d like to start building one, we strongly recommend that you contact your managed IT services provider. They’re best situated to help.
Keep reading: 4 strategic benefits of working with a managed IT services provider