5 essential points to address in your business continuity plan
Having a business continuity plan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re expecting the worst, but it does mean you’ll be prepared and able to minimise damage or expenses to your business in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
As much as we all like to hope we’ll never be hit by bad fortune, to bury your head in the sand about the possibility of it happening could turn into one of your biggest regrets.
A continuity plan could mean the difference between your business picking itself back up or closing its doors after a disaster.
What is a business continuity plan?
A continuity plan is a process to help guide your business through a disaster. The disaster could take many forms, but some examples include fire, power failure, human error, a cyber attack or natural disaster.
Your plan will not only help to give structure during a very stressful time, it will also aim to reduce or avoid operational downtime which is often what can be most devastating for a business.
A continuity plan may sound like a time-consuming document to create, but it doesn’t need to be extensive or complicated. In fact, as long as it’s well thought out and covers all the important points, it’s best to keep it as short and simple as possible to give all parties involved complete clarity.
Not sure where to start?
The five essential points below are an excellent starting point when first beginning to formulate your business’ continuity plan.
Establish a continuity team
Think about which employees you will need help from when it comes to planning and carrying out disaster recovery. It is likely you will need input from across a variety of different departments in your business. Establish a team and a manager to oversee the project.
Perform a risk assessment
To efficiently prepare for a disaster it’s important to know where your business’ weak spots lie and what the biggest dangers it faces are. Once you’ve identified possible risks and your business’ vulnerabilities it will be much easier to plan out how to protect yourself.
Evaluate what you already have
Hopefully your business has already taken some precautions to protect itself from threats. Whether this takes the form of sand bags in case of flooding, fire hydrants or anti-virus software, any current technology, plans or equipment should be thoroughly tested and reviewed to ensure that they’re up-to-date and effective.
Work out a recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO)
Not as complicated as perhaps the jargon makes it sound. Simply put, your RTO is how quickly you need operations to be restored in the event of a disaster to prevent major disruption to your business. Your RPO is the amount of data you can afford to lose without it becoming a major problem to your business.
Setting goals for both the RTO and RPO is a very important part of continuity planning as they give you objectives to work towards in your plan.
Once you’ve got a better idea what your business could be up against, it’s time to create a plan to follow if the worst were to happen. Instructions should be clear and specific and their effectiveness should be tested by the person who would be responsible for carrying them out in the event of a disaster.
Once you’ve created your plan make sure that it’s not put to one side and forgotten.
For your plan to remain effective it’s essential that it is constantly being re-evaluated and re-tested over time to avoid it becoming outdated.
Got a question about business continuity? Get in touch with one of our experts at Everything Tech on 0161 826 2220 to discuss your business’ individual requirements.