How to Build an Effective Business Continuity Plan

Are you ready?

Aug 5, 2020

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that disaster and business disruption can’t be predicted. Cyberattacks might be the most prevalent risk to your company’s operations, but disruption can come in many different forms—and businesses should be prepared for any situation.

A business continuity plan is a blueprint for keeping your business operating when emergency situations arise. When disruption occurs, it’s too late to implement a strategic response. Businesses that are willing to invest time into creating a business continuity strategy are often the most resilient in the face of future challenges.

If your business doesn’t currently have a plan in place, here’s how to start the process.

Prioritize and evaluate

Different disaster scenarios have different consequences and thus need different priorities. For example, a power outage in a retail shop will disrupt sales if the electronics are not quickly made operational again. An upcoming hurricane will also disrupt the electronics, but the main objective in this situation would be relocating and securing valuable inventory. One immediate concern all companies share is their business information. Employee records, customer data, and credit card information can be severely damaging to a business if compromised without a recovery plan. 93% of businesses fail after suffering a major data loss if no backup solution is in place. To avoid this statistic, learn more about our backup and disaster recovery solution for SMBs.

Create a plan (with short and long-term goals)

The right technology can help businesses reduce the amount of damage inflicted by disasters. Employees can work remotely via the Cloud if the main location is damaged, data can be restored with backup and recovery services, and equipment and systems can be automatically stopped with safety features if there is a malfunction. Employers should research short-term solutions such as these, as well as long-term plans on how to eventually return to full operations. Research long-term solutions ahead of time such as temporary office locations and alternative suppliers to better prepare your business for emergencies.

Be transparent and inclusive

Your business continuity plan needs to be clear to all your employees. Not does this transparency give employees peace of mind should a disaster happen, but also lets people know what is expected of them. Outlining the plan to your team also gives them the chance to provide feedback to aspects you might have missed. You should also have a less transparent message ready for the media/clients toe sure them of changes and a time frame to let them know when they can expect business to return to normal.

Implement and test

It can be frustrating paying for something that you cannot see direct benefits for yet, but what's worse is knowing you could have mitigated a disaster had you taken action sooner. This is why we recommend implementing any business continuity technologies as soon as possible, because you never know when an emergency situation will occur. Integrating these upgrades sooner rather than later also gives you the chance to test the new equipment and ensure everything works the way you want it to. Simulate a disaster (telling your employees beforehand) and see how your technology and team responds. Measure along the way how long it takes for certain steps of the plan to be completed and what areas could be improved upon.

Is all accounted for?

To deter the panic that typically accompanies disasters, be sure to have a checklist so you will not forget or miss anything as you work towards normalcy. We have developed a general business checklist that covers the basics in any emergency and can be expanded on for more specific scenarios. Be sure to download your free checklist today!

Download the checklist