What is a Business Continuity Plan and Why is it Important for My Business?

Business continuity plan in a blue folderWhat would happen to your business if a fire, flood, tornado or another type of disaster struck tonight? If you haven’t taken these steps already, you should have a plan and the right solutions in place to get back up and running and ensure you still have access to vital data following any sort of catastrophe. Otherwise, the aftermath could prove extremely costly and otherwise damaging to your company: On average, the cost of an unplanned data center outage was nearly $9,000 per minute in 2016, according to the Ponemon Institute.

If you already have backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions in place, you might think you’re all set, but that’s a common misconception. BDR alone isn’t enough. For instance, if you just have file-based backups and lose a server, spinning up a new one will take a long time, since you’ll have to locate application software and drivers, go through the importing process, and so on.

Similarly, if you have both backup and disaster recovery solutions that supply you with a snapshot of your data before the catastrophic event, you’ll still need to consider what you’ll do if you lose your hardware and/or your main site.

At the end of the day, business continuity (BC) is essential – in combination with BDR – to provide comprehensive protection and ensure your organization can weather a disaster with minimal damage and downtime. If you’re looking to establish a BC plan for your organization, here are the answers to some questions you might have.

1. What is business continuity? BC involves either keeping your business running uninterrupted or recovering from an outage quickly in the event of a disaster, according to the CIO article “How to create an effective business continuity plan.” A BC plan specifies what your organization will do following a disruptive incident and includes details about human resources, business processes, assets and other factors.

It’s important to note that a BC plan concerns all aspects of the entire organization, whereas a disaster recovery (DR) plan typically just addresses IT operations and infrastructure.

2. Why do I need a business continuity plan? Why is it important? Overall, a BC plan is vital for any organization that wants to succeed and remain competitive, regardless of size or industry. If you experience extended downtime due to a disaster, you won’t be able to get anything done or serve your customers. A disruption in business can result in lost profits and cause your clients to turn to competitors, according to Ready.gov, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

Conversely, with a business continuity plan in place, you can minimize outages and reap the following benefits:

  • Reduced downtime
  • Greater productivity
  • Better customer service
  • Improved profits

Many businesses must also address business continuity and disaster recovery to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, according to DRI International.

3. What steps should I take to create a business continuity process for my business? To establish a comprehensive BC plan, you’ll want to go through the following process, according to Ready.gov.

Analyze the impact a disaster would have on your business and identify critical applications, functions and processes for your organization. Have your team members fill out questionnaires to achieve this.

Strategize concerning what you will need to do to recover effectively if a catastrophe occurs. Figure out the gap between your current ability to restore business functions and your actual recovery needs.

Develop your BC plan. Assemble recovery teams and document your recovery process, including relocation plans and manual workarounds.

Test your BC plan on a regular basis. Your whole team should also receive awareness training, so they know what to do in a disaster. Perform tests at least once per year to ensure your BC plan is still adequate.

A managed IT service provider can assist your business with this process and supply you with advanced BDR and BC solutions to ensure you’ll bounce back fast in the event of a disaster.

Ultimately, a business continuity plan is a wise investment for any company, regardless of size or industry. Considering the potential cost of unplanned downtime, most businesses can’t afford to operate without a BC plan.

To learn more about backup, disaster recovery and business continuity, contact our team of expert techs today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing sales@stratospherenetworks.com. We can answer any questions you might have about the business continuity planning process and help you implement a solution that takes all your company’s unique requirements into account.

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