May 5th, 2022 by admin
You may have heard the phrase, “Always plan for the unexpected” before. In a nutshell, this is what business continuity services provide to your organization. The COVID-19 virus, for example, came in unexpectedly and took the whole world by storm. Many thriving businesses shut down because they were not prepared or agile enough to pivot to the new reality.
What Exactly is Business Continuity?
Business continuity is about having a prepared plan in place to deal with a variety of difficult situations that may come your way, so that your organization is able to continue functioning with a minimal amount of disruption. Some examples include:
- Regular data backups that enable you to recover from a server failure or ransomware scenario
- Automatic failover of phone lines
- The ability to seamlessly shift workers to a remote workforce environment
- Shifting operations to another location when the primary one is unable to be utilized
In essence, business continuity is a risk management process with the goal of preventing or minimizing interruptions to mission-critical services. With a good plan in place, an organization can reestablish full functionality smoothly and quickly, as any sort of extended outage risks both financial and reputational losses.
Depending upon your industry, business continuity may be a legal or compliance requirement. When you carry business interruption insurance, it may be required by your carrier or result in a discount on your insurance premiums.
What Does Business Continuity Include?
A thorough plan includes different levels of response for different scenarios. Not everything is mission-critical, for example. Identifying those top-level functions and categorizing them appropriately (and ahead of time) allows there to be no question about how to respond when a disruption situation occurs. Having objective recovery timelines for various services aids in prioritizing what to focus on first and allows you to deliver realistic expectations to your clients as well as your workforce.
Identify potential business impact
A business impact analysis provides a comprehensive idea of potential challenges that may emerge and the risks and vulnerabilities both from within your business and from critical supply lines. This analysis will also allow you to anticipate the financial consequences of a major disruption.
Plan an effective response
Detailed plans take each risk identified in the impact analysis and lay out an appropriate response strategy that minimizes or eliminates downtime associated with the event. These plans describe who needs to be involved to implement it, backups in case the primary is unavailable, and detail the actions and steps necessary to re-establish core functionality.
Determine roles and responsibilities
Documentation regarding who are the key personnel necessary to respond to the disruption. Typically this will be senior members of the organization, but this can vary depending on the type of business you are in and the risk that is being responded to.
Maintain clear communication
Having a list of key contacts and prepared statements will speed up your reaction time as well as minimize dissatisfaction from suppliers and customers. In addition, it ensures that the proper parties are kept in the loop and up to speed on the situation as it evolves.
Training and testing
There’s an old saying, “An untested backup solution is no backup at all.” The final, and key aspect of a business continuity plan is training your personnel on how to proceed when a situation does occur, and periodic testing to ensure that all systems are functioning properly for when they need to be deployed. This allows those key personnel to understand the plan, be comfortable with it, and know what their role in executing it is.
Additionally, as employees change roles within an organization, their responsibilities in the event of a disaster will likely change as well. Employees new to a role that is critical for recovery need to be able to confidently take the necessary actions, and if they are seeing the recovery plan for the first time as the situation unfolds then they will not be able to effectively implement it.
It is critical for every business to have a plan in place to help them survive complex and challenging situations. Parker Data and Voice’s business continuity services can provide this for you. Contact us to learn more, and to review how well your business is able to react when a disaster situation occurs.
Posted in: Managed Services