The Components of a Successful Business Continuity Strategy
With the future so uncertain, it’s no surprise that many organizations are turning their focus toward business continuity. There are a lot of components that go into making a successful continuity plan, and if you want to optimize your chances of survival in the face of a disaster, you need to ensure that all your bases are covered.
First, let’s take a look at what business continuity means, particularly in a post-pandemic world.
Defining Business Continuity
A lot of things can go wrong when you run a business. From natural disasters like electrical storms, fires, floods, and so on, to not-so-natural disasters like hacking attacks, ransomware, and user error, there are a lot of ways that your business’ operations could be disrupted for extended periods of time. At its core, the business continuity plan is a list of steps that must be taken following such a disaster to keep downtime and losses to an acceptable minimum. It should be noted that business continuity and disaster recovery, while two sides of the same coin, are not one and the same. Disaster recovery is simply one of the many components of a successful business continuity strategy.
The Primary Components of Your Strategy
Before identifying where you should invest your time and effort when planning for business continuity, it’s best practice to run what is called a business impact analysis, which helps to identify critical functions of your organization. Basically, you take a look at which operations would be most costly during a disaster scenario; this helps you shore them up with your business continuity strategy.
The various parts of your business continuity strategy will generally fall into one of these three categories, based on what the above critical functions are for your specific industry:
- Digital resources: Most businesses rely on data of some form or another, whether it is stored on-premises or in the cloud. Making sure that you retain access to that data in the worst of times will be crucial. Data backup systems can aid in this process and make certain that your digital assets are not lost forever.
- Human resources: Your business cannot function without its employees, so you need to account for them, too. Establishing a chain of command and guaranteeing that you stay in touch with any clients or vendors will be critical to ensuring business continuity.
- Physical resources: This includes things such as your office space, physical assets like your hardware solutions, and anything else of the sort that’s needed for your employees to do their jobs in an effective way. Especially if you rely on manufacturers or a supply chain, ensuring that this is not broken is critical to success in the face of a disaster.
At the end of the day, your business continuity strategy should be accessible to anyone who will need it, along with a list of necessary equipment, the locations of your data backups, and contact information for additional resources as needed.
Reinforcing Business Continuity
A business continuity strategy is only effective if it can be feasibly pulled off and it meets your expectations. Imagine going through a disaster scenario only to discover that your business continuity strategy simply does not return the expected results, or perhaps it doesn’t execute well at all. This is why it is important to routinely test and adjust your strategy; you don’t want to be caught unawares. Here are some details to look for when testing your business continuity plan:
- Expected downtime: Does your plan meet the expected minimum amount of downtime and the costs associated with it?
- Ease of implementation: Is your plan able to kick off without a hitch?
- Feedback from staff: Have you listened to key staff who might be able to identify opportunities for improvement?
Need a Hand Getting Started?
The world of business continuity can be a bit daunting, but in today’s business climate, you cannot afford to be passive with it. ISC can equip you with the tools needed to ensure minimal downtime and disruption in the face of a disaster. To learn more, reach out to us at 502.292.5097.