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What are the Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan?

In this day and age businesses are delegating more and more of themselves out to online tools and services to make the business run as smoothly as possible. However, with businesses being more and more online the likelihood of them being targeted by cyber threats becomes highly likely. This is where, in the event a cyber threat does succeed on damaging the online infrastructure of your business, the benefits of a business continuity plan are numerous. If your business’ workflow is halted by a cyber attack you want to be able to get your business up and running again as fast as possible so as to minimise damages and a business continuity plan can help with this. To help you understand and hopefully implement a business continuity plan for your business we are going to take an in depth look at them in this article.

What is Business Continuity more in depth?

In the event of a significant interruption, regardless of the source, business continuity is the practise of promptly resuming commercial operations. In the case of a crisis, your business continuity plan will specify the precise steps and directives that your entire organisation must adhere to. Every aspect of your firm should be covered, allowing everyone to continue working at least partially.

Many individuals think that a business continuity plan (BC plan) and a disaster recovery plan (DR plan) are interchangeable terms. A BC plan is created to ensure that an organisation can function during a crisis, whereas a DR plan is created with the goal of restoring infrastructure. Since a business continuity plan considers the continuity of the entire organisation (and not just the infrastructure) to keep it functioning, your DR strategy is a close complement to it.

You must be prepared to delve deeply into the inner workings of your organisation in the hopes of uncovering some realities. Consider this: Can every department in your company function at least somewhat to its full potential? What if a pipe burst and your equipment was destroyed? What comes next, where will everyone work, how do you access your backups, and do you need to cease some operations in the organisation to reallocate resources to greater uses? The final outcomes improve the further you go.

One aspect of your business continuity plan that is sometimes forgotten is the business impact analysis (BIA) portion. It calculates the effects of an abrupt loss of business operations since, as we just mentioned, resources might be better used elsewhere. Such analysis will provide you with the knowledge to decide which areas, if any, you can afford to lose up on in favour of others. The key is damage control; harm will always occur, but the extent of that damage depends on your plans.

Why is it important to have a business continuity plan?

Clients are the lifeblood of your business because without them you wouldn’t have an income, as you are already aware. It is therefore crucial that you retain as many devoted customers as you can (as much as customers can be loyal these days). There is no better way to establish your value than by handling unforeseen scenarios well. By doing so, you can show your clientele — and any rivals lurking in the background — that you can secure their personal data while also offering a top-notch service, no matter the situation.

For the majority of businesses, restoring IT is a crucial task. Disaster recovery solutions have flooded the market as a result; IT can implement them, but what about everything else? Your organisation actually depends on its people and procedures, even if you have the newest and best IT. As we mentioned before, efficiently resolving problems can increase client confidence in your business. They will have more faith that you can take the necessary steps to provide a high-quality and secure service.

What does a business continuity plan look like?

So, to start, evaluate your business processes, identify the vulnerable parts of those processes, and then compile a list of your possible losses in the event that those processes were to fail for certain lengths of time. This then enables you to create a list of those you would prefer to lose or direct resources away from and toward.

Next, develop a plan. This involves six general steps:

  • Create a plan to maintain operations. What policies must be in place if you want to stay in business?
  • Identify dependencies between various business areas and functions – You can understand how crucial it is to resume operations if you are aware of the extent of the reliance.
  • Identify key business areas – Specifically, the points when Sales and Manufacturing cross across; for instance.
  • Identify the scope of the plan – What lengths will you go to? It makes sense to be as thorough as you can because there is no purpose in deciding which portion of the business to focus on, then changing your plan later on because another aspect of your business has an impact.
  • Identify critical functions. Which procedures are crucial to your company’s daily operations?
  • Determine acceptable downtime for each part of the business – Naturally, some will be practically nil because there is no such thing as acceptable downtime, but others can be tolerated for a few days.

Make a checklist so that you will know what resources and equipment are required, where the plan is, and who will be in charge of moving quickly through it to get everything back up and running as soon as possible, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Include information about data backups, as well as the names and phone numbers of any critical individuals who can provide assistance and emergency responders. As we mentioned before, your BC plan should be paired with a strong DR plan. Restoration timeframes must be assured, and it must fit your company’s requirements; otherwise, it is pointless.

Use your team to accomplish this because doing it alone may seem overwhelming. Find out from your team what the main components of the company are and what need particular care and attention. They utilise the systems on a daily basis and are familiar with their duties, so they likely have a better understanding of the inner workings of your company than you do. Once people start and feel at ease talking, it’s possible that you’ll not only construct a good BC and DR strategy but also a better functional working atmosphere when things are going according to plan.

In the next article we are going to look at the importance of testing and reviewing your business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure that they remain effective.

Considered implementing a business continuity plan?

We understand how important IT is to your business and how downtime can impact your bottom-line, that is why we have been helping our clients for over ten years to make sure that they stay up and running, even when things go wrong. Contact us today to schedule your business continuity consulting session.

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