It goes without saying, 2020 forced businesses to adjust in ways they never had before. Between the pandemic, natural disasters, and political and racial turmoil, businesses were thrown one curveball after another. Even businesses with the best thought out plans, found themselves struggling to manage their business.
This is where having a solid, well documented business continuity plan can help. A Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness plan is a set of processes and techniques used to help a business cover from a disaster and continue to maintain routine business operations. It is a concept that combines everyday business functions with IT to allow your business to survive the aftermath of a disaster.
What Are the Objectives of a Business Continuity/Disaster Preparedness Plan?
Your plan should aim to protect your company from financial loss in case of a disruptive event. The loss of data and system downtime can lead to businesses being shut down, sometimes forever. Having a Business Continuity/Disaster Preparedness Plan will:
- Reduce the overall financial risk to your company
- Enable your company to comply with industry regulations regarding data management
- Prepare your business to respond adequately and resume operations as quickly as possible once safe to do so
How to Establish Your Business Continuity/Disaster Preparedness Plan
Step 1: Identify Your Team
The continuity team will not only carry out the business continuity plan in the event of a crisis but will also ensure that your other employees are informed and know how to respond in a crisis. The team will also be responsible for planning and executing crisis communications strategies.
Step 2: Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
A Business Impact Analysis will help identify the impact of a sudden loss of business functions, usually in terms of cost to the business. It also identifies the most critical business functions, which allows you to create a business continuity plan that prioritizes recovery of these essential functions.
Step 3: Design Your Recovery Plan
Most businesses will experience a certain amount of downtime in the event of a disruption. It is important to determine acceptable downtime for your business. Downtime will apply to critical systems and implement backup and disaster recovery solutions for those critical systems. Your Business disaster recovery solutions can be appliance-based or in the cloud. Consider Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions as part of your overall strategy.
Step 4: Test Your Backups
Disaster recovery testing is a vital part of a backup and recovery plan. Without proper testing, you will never know if your backup can be recovered. According to the 2019 State of IT Operations Survey Report, only 31 percent of the respondents test their disaster recovery plan regularly, which shows that businesses usually underestimate the importance of Business Disaster Recovery testing.
Step 5: Execute the Plan
In the event of a disruption, execute the processes and get your systems and business back to normal.
Step 6: Measure, Review and Keep the Plan Updated
Measure the success of your execution and update your plan based on any gaps that are uncovered. Testing the Business Continuity/Disaster Preparedness Plan beforehand is recommended for better results.