IT Consulting Experts Share the Must Have Business Continuity Plan Checklist
The frequency of man-made and natural disasters has increased in the past few decades. Crises typically arise without warning. Organizations also face a serious impact of these disasters. While you shouldn't start every day expecting the worst but you should be relatively prepared for anything to happen. A business crisis can cost your company a lot of money and ruin your reputation if you aren't proactively prepared to handle one. To withstand and thrive during these many threats, businesses understand that they need to do more than just creating a reliable infrastructure that supports growth and protects data. With the growth of cyberattacks, companies are moving from a traditional recovery approach to an automated and software-defined resiliency approach.
According to IDC, on average, an infrastructure failure can cost USD $100,000 an hour and a critical application failure can cost USD $500,000 to USD $1 million per hour. Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, it's vital to retain current customers while increasing your customer base to remain competitive. The best test of your capability is when you do right even in an adverse event.
This is where business continuity and disaster recovery planning comes as the last resort to protect your business. DRP and BCP are the last corrective control of an organization when all other controls have failed. Though both work differently, BCP ensures to restore all functions of your organization and works as the best shot at success during a disaster. On the other hand, DRP is a short-term plan for dealing with specific IT-oriented outages. In situations like this an IT consulting company can really help you in creating a plan.
Let us discuss in detail about how having a business continuity plan prepares your organization to jump into action when disaster strikes.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
As the word sounds, it refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption. BCP is a document that outlines an actionable plan that is used to handle both minor disruptions and full-blown threats. BCP is the creation and validation of a practical logistical plan for an enterprise to recover and restore critical function within a predetermined time after the disaster. It is to be performed before a disaster occurs otherwise it would be too late to plan effective response. A business continuity plan is a guiding document which layout steps to be initiated by management to run the business under stressful conditions on the occurrence of the disaster.
The COVID-19 outbreak is the recent example that has already caused health, safety, and economic damage that is still in play across the globe with the United States leading in the number of positive cases and deaths. In this situation for the companies that haven’t managed remote employees in any great number, the transition to this new working style could prove to be complex. A lack of a business continuity plan in such a situation may let you go out of business for good. You can either create such a plan by yourself or can hire experts from a company that offers complete product engineering services.
The Complete Business Continuity Checklist
A successful business continuity plan depends on each organization’s specific structure, systems, and environments, geographical location, as well as the severity and nature of the disaster situation. Below is the checklist summed up based upon these points which will help in streamlining your efforts and will help you in creating a successful business continuity plan.
Assemble the team
Each member of the team should know their roles respectively so that they will be accountable to the assigned task in the future at any such miserable situation.
Draw up the plan
This is the key process as you need to map out the strategy at this point. Make a list of all the disruptions that could potentially hinder your operations along with formulating practical recovery strategies for these scenarios.
Conduct business impact analysis
It is important to analyze the impact of all the potential threats to your daily operations. Your business continuity team and management personnel should understand all the problematic scenarios that may accompany a disaster whether they are natural like floods, volcano, pandemic, or downtime due to power outage, hardware, or system failure.
Educate and train
Develop a comprehensive training program to help the team develop the required skills. The team should be trained on the objectives, requirements, and key components of your BC plan.
Isolate sensitive info
Every company should prioritize the data and keep financial records, login credentials, and other mission-critical information somewhere that allows for quick and convenient access during recovery.
Backup important data
A backup plan means one should always keep copies of the irreplaceable and critical data. This may include document files, employee and customer records, business emails, and even select data stored on mobile devices. If a disaster happens today, an effective backup strategy can make sure that your business can recover tomorrow from any disaster. You can use various cloud computing solutions to store your data safely.
Designate a recovery site
A secondary site can help you relocate your employees in a situation where disaster could wipe out your data center. This site should equip with all possible personnel needs to recover affected systems and perform business processes.
Set up a communications program
The ability to communicate in a crisis is crucial. Drafting sample messages to expedite communications to partners and suppliers in crisis scenarios will allow your BC team to coordinate their efforts and respond accordingly.
Protect hard copy data
Electronic or digital data is the main focus of modern IT consulting firms. A typical MSP converts documents that can be digitized to minimize the loss of physical documents.
Interesting Read: Must Ask Questions When Hiring EDI Services Provider
Test, measure, and update
Every business program should be tested first along with the BCP plan. Testing should include running simulations to test the team’s level of preparedness during a crisis. Those test results can be used to tweak and update your plan over time.
If your organization doesn't have a business continuity plan in place, determine which areas are vulnerable and prepare a checklist as mentioned above so that you can resume your business in the event of a major disruption, whether caused by a fire, flood or malicious attack by cybercriminals. You can also hire professional IT services to create a strategic plan on your behalf. Based on these findings, business continuity management can tweak the company's continuity plan to address any new potential hazards.
Your company's future depends on your people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on your company's reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence. Today we all are facing a critical time as the Covid-19 crisis has shown, this made us believe it's essential to put a Business Continuity Plan in place to defend against every type of disaster.