Business continuity is what ensures that operations are not severely impacted by unforeseen events. It’s a contingency plan for disasters, death, and other events that could have significant ramifications for your business operations. Think of it as a what-to-do when unplanned incidents take your vital systems offline. A good continuity plan ensures that critical operations can continue unimpeded.
Your Business Continuity Plan: The Basics
Business continuity planning is an interdepartmental process. It’s a reactive plan in which each department knows what to do to mitigate damage and restore normal function. Business continuity is challenging because there are so many factors that can disrupt operations. Where do you start?
1) Identify Risk Factors
Every business is at risk for disruption in one form or another. It’s important to identify your top vulnerabilities. For instance, human error is a huge risk factor. If your employees handle sensitive information, there’s an increased risk of mishandling. Avoid breaches by implementing procedures for employees to follow when working online.
2) Business Impact Analysis
A business impact analysis is a process that reveals the impact of a hypothetical disaster. The first step is to take inventory of your business operations. Identify every operation that could be disrupted by an unplanned event. Then calculate how much revenue would be lost due to the disruption. That will give you a good idea of how much is at stake.
3) Prevention and Response Plan
Your business continuity plan should include ways to prevent disaster. This should include employee training, and IT consulting and implementation. Prevention involves taking active steps to protect your information and infrastructure. These preventative measures should be updated based on the needs of your business.
4) Create Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan begins after a disaster has struck. The goal of this part of your business continuity plan is to recover software, data, and hardware in order to resume normal functions. It should be designed to protect your business data and other sensitive data. Every department should have a role in recovery to speed the process.
5) Test and Practice
A good plan is one that has been tested and trialed. A stagnate plan doesn’t take into account important factors, like employee turnover and new technology. A continuity plan test can be as simple as a meeting. All employees with a role in the plan should spend some going over the plan, looking for gaps. With adequate testing, employee response to disaster should be immediate and automatic.
A business continuity plan won’t last forever. It’s important to put a plan in place and revisit it to make sure it’s keeping pace with your business. Keep in mind that your company will change and business requirements will shift. A plan created years ago might not cover you today. Use this guide to get started making sure your business is protected today.
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