When a disaster happens, your business is prone to loss of data or key client information. And unfortunately, as a business owner, you never know when a disaster will strike. Thus, having a solid business continuity plan is a must to be able to continue operations after such a disaster hits.
Disaster recovery is conceived as a way to get the IT department to recover damaged electronic data relevant to the business. An employee might misplace some data, or make an error that will cause loss of information. So, precautions are necessary. But, an effective business continuity plan goes a step further.
It not only gives you the tools for a proper recovery from a cyber-attack or a massive loss of e-data; It also provides you with a set of tools that will help you bounce back from a natural disaster (such as an earthquake or a flood).
Research suggests that approximately 25% of companies (globally) would be protected in the event of a major disruption in technological processes. That leaves 75% liable to massive damage should the worst happen. With a good plan in place, your company will be kept intact.
Downtime can cost you thousands of dollars of damage if you do not have a contingency plan. This might not be a serious issue for large companies. But, if you’re running a small to medium enterprise, a double-digit damage can cost your business months of progress and growth.
What makes up a good business continuity plan
A solid continuity plan provides you with real actions and tools that you can apply in the event of a disaster. Moreover, it empowers you to make a fast recovery from the loss of data or infrastructure damage.
Read on to find out how to bulletproof your business continuity plan.
Check your levels of protection
Assess your capacities to restore crucial data or handle a disaster. Before designing a continuity plan, identify the strengths and weaknesses of your company in case of disaster recovery.
You should check not only your physical backup resources but also your e-data backup options. Do you have cloud storage with backup client data? Have you scheduled regular maintenance of your electronic storage systems?
Prioritise your data
It’s crucial to ensure that the data stored on company computers is secure. But, it’s also critical to be aware which applications and data need to be salvaged first after a disaster.
Make a priority list so you can swiftly restore essential data when needed.
Identify the potential risks to your business
To polish your business continuity plan, you must make a list of the most likely scenarios that can disrupt your business. Your premises may be located on an earthquake-prone territory. It may also be prone to occasional power outages or floods.
Outline each of the events that might happen so you know what you’re up against. Afterwards, create a draft of the actions you might take that will remedy the potential damage done to your business.
For example, if a fire engulfs your main offices, you should have a second premise available that can serve as your temporary office.
Have a team in charge
When disaster hits, you cannot expect all employees to naturally perform as one unit. The ensuing chaos and stress will guarantee the opposite – mass confusion and disarray. Thus, you should define a team of employees in advance. And this team will have clear tasks and responsibilities.
Each member of the team should, therefore, know their role perfectly. One could be in charge of taking care of the physical copies of data. Another employee can be responsible for restoring digital data.
Everyone in the team should be aware of the steps they need to take. For example, the IT team members would be in charge of safely moving the entire IT equipment to a secure location.
The HR members of the team can take care of the employees. They can steer them to a safe location and make sure they feel safe.
Work with professionals
Even if you invest lots of time and resources in responding to disastrous events, there are professionals who do this for a living. If you feel overburdened, consider hiring experts who can take care of everything for you.
At InspiredTechs, we can assess the risks that your company faces in times of disaster. Our professionals will create contingency plans for each scenario and will make sure all your data is in a safe location. An effective continuity plan focuses on key processes, ensures that all team members know their roles, and is tested on a regular basis. Our professionals will work according to those principles, so there’s no drop in service when a disruptive event occurs.
Identify the disaster recovery budget
After you have identified the disaster scenarios that might happen, think hard about the budget needed to handle them. Having a plan is critical, but it’s also critical to have the means to implement it.
Different disaster scenarios require a different budget. Make a list of the most likely events that may attack your business and plan your budget accordingly. Select an employee to handle the allocation of the budget and make sure it’s not used for other purposes.
Test your plan
To demonstrate to your employees that you are prepared for a crisis, schedule quarterly tests of your business continuity plan. Go through each step required to recover from a cyber-attack or natural disasters. Your employees need to understand each step of your plan to be able to implement it and have faith in its effectiveness.
Testing is beneficial in several ways. For starters, it teaches your employees to react in the event of a disaster. As a result, they will be more efficient in preventing or eliminating any damage to your data.
Furthermore, testing strengthens teamwork in your company. Your employees learn how to communicate and work together to solve problems.
The skills they will acquire as a result of implementing your business continuity plan will spill over into their everyday work. Thus, not only will you ensure a quick recovery from a disaster, but you will make your business more efficient.
By running disaster simulations, you can identify gaps in your current plan. Testing lets you tweak your strategy and improve it so it can be more effective in times of need.
Consider letting someone help you
There’s a reason that so many small and medium-sized businesses are now outsourcing their IT. If you’re researching these topics for your own business and find it overwhelming, that’s normal. Small business IT is not simple or easy, and it keeps getting more complex by the day.
Most smart business owners have figured out that trying to keep up with the latest in IT is too much work. That’s why so many of them choose to outsource their IT.
Many Australian businesses are now outsourcing all of their IT hassles to us at InspiredTechs and there’s a good reason for this. If you want to learn more about what we can do for your business, be sure to check out this page. It’s probably going to be the answer to all of your IT issues and frustrations.