What is Business Continuity? All You Need to Know

Most business owners and leaders are familiar with the concept of risk. The very fact that you are in business is a risk. However, as the world continues to become more volatile and unpredictable, have you thought about what would happen if your business faced a disaster? A flood, fire, cyber-attack, prolonged loss of power, supply chain failure, loss of a key employee or even terrorism?

There is always a risk that any of these or other events might disrupt your business operations at any given time. So, how do you effectively prepare for and deal with these disruptions to avoid downtime, loss of revenue or clients? This is the role of business continuity planning.

What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is all about having a plan to deal with a multitude of difficult situations with the aim that your organisation continues functioning with as minimal disruption as possible. While this might appear difficult in the face of disaster, it all boils down to good planning.

The quality of your business continuity plan lies in its ability to cover all areas of exposure and to create multiple levels of sustainable redundancies with innovative solutions that stand up to the worst-case scenarios. The worst thing you can do is to assume anything in the process of business continuity planning. And while every disruption is different, a good business continuity plan gives you all the foundational guidance you need to navigate all sorts of scenarios.

Why Creating a Business Continuity Plan is So Important

According to Forbes, 40% of all small businesses never recover after a disaster. Additionally, only 29% of businesses that survive a disaster continue to operate after two years. For a business owner or business leader, these are sobering statistics that scare even the most prepared among us. If not for anything else, this is why you need a business continuity plan.

However, to gain a better understanding, you must first differentiate between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan lays out the steps you need to take after a disaster in order to recover. On the other hand, a business continuity plan tells you how you would continue to operate in providing key services and products and is done long in advance.

This plan protects your core business operations, employees and clients while avoiding financial loss and reputation damage to your business. It involves designing service alternatives that keep applications functioning even when your usual IT is down.

So, How Do You Put Together An Effective Business Continuity Plan?

A good continuity plan covers all key components of a business. As we all know, employees are the most valuable asset to any organisation. Therefore, an important step in creating a business continuity plan is to allocate different tasks among employees for which they will be responsible in the event of a disruption.

You should also outline action steps, recovery inventories, time frames and alternate facilities and other key areas of focus in the early stages of the process. The key is to cover as many scenarios and areas of exposure as possible. Remember that you cannot be too cautious.

In keeping up with this meticulous approach, remember that alternate technology might become outdated, employees important to the plan might leave and need replacing. Therefore, reviewing and modifying these processes and procedures is also important and so is ongoing training for employees. Your team, including the individual recovery teams, need to have complete awareness of their responsibilities.

Why Does IT Matter In Business Continuity?

For the longest time, technology was unreliable and so the safest way to run a business was near a primitive level. However, we are at the height of technological advancement. Technology is now far more reliable than ever before. This has occasioned its integration into almost every aspect of business. Currently, most businesses rely on technology to run effectively while some are fully based and run through the internet.

Majority of disasters such as floods, hurricanes and power outage tend to affect a local area. If all your critical assets such as IT infrastructure are in one location, a disaster affecting that location would decimate your business. You would have to deal with dreaded downtime while your competitors are taking up your clients.

For this reason, it is critically important that you identify the most vital technologies in your business and find a way to create independent redundancies in their functions in the event of a disaster. Talk to an IT or Managed Service Provider to find out the best plan to protect your IT functions.

With the ever-increasing threat of cyber-attacks among other disasters, business continuity planning is no longer optional but rather critical for every business. At Adept, we deliver a fully managed disaster continuity solution you can rely on. Our seasoned experts can meet all backup and disaster recovery requirements including those of highly regulated industries such as legal, healthcare, government and financial institutions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prevent catastrophic consequences due to data loss. It is our pleasure to serve you.

Written by Sami Malik

Head of Business Development - AdEPT IT Services