4 Steps to Business Continuity After a Business Disaster
Business continuity is the methodology and set of activities to ensure that the business continues normal day-to-day business operations.
It definitely sounds simple enough but how many businesses are able to quickly and successfully recover operations after a business disaster? How do you prepare for a business disaster? What should you do when the worse happens/
Step 1. Expect the business disaster
Business disasters come in many shapes and forms – power outages, severe weather conditions, data loss, building fires, union strikes, theft, loss of critical resources and more. Disasters are not generally planned but they can critically and substantially bring a company to a screeching halt if or when they occur.
Any event that could cause the potential loss of continuous business operations should be considered. Also look beyond the company walls for potential disasters. There may be disasters that are specific to a physical location or an industry.
Each company must develop its own specific list of situations that would qualify as disasters. To some companies, losing one day’s worth of data may be devastating but that is a very minimal disruption to another company who only has very few data transactions a week.
Step 2. Plan for the disaster
A company cannot prevent every possible business disaster but it can take action to lower the risk of it occurring and minimize the impacts when it happens. An effective disaster recovery plan identifies the risks, the likelihood of its occurrence, its impacts and the procedure to restore operations when it occurs.
What is the maximum amount of impact a company can withstand before its customers are impacted? Which disasters would shut its doors permanently? How can the company minimize the likelihood of those impacts? How many factors are impacted by each disaster event?
Creating a data backup system could greatly decrease the chance of data loss. Installing a building sprinkler system would minimize the damage from a fire. Preventing employee internet access reduces some of the data and malware security risks. Establishing a secondary work location reduces the length of time to resume operations.
Step 3. Validate the disaster recovery plan
Testing the plan establishes a timing baseline to execute the plan. It also identifies recovery issues before they are encountered in real life scenarios.
Communicating the plan is another critical step. After all, how effective is the plan if no one knows it exists? Does everyone know how to find it?
Step 4. Execute the disaster recovery plan
When it is time to implement the disaster recovery plan, all the key players must work together. Communication and coordination can make or break a company’s ability to recover from the disaster. Phone calls are made. Processes are implemented. Switches are checked. Insurance may help ease some of the financial costs but it will not restore operations on its own.
There are many things that can stall a business but the key is to reduce the risk of occurrence, minimize its impact and resume business operations as soon as possible.