Running the day-to-day operations for your organization is challenging enough but ensuring its continuity is even a bigger challenge. There isn’t anything more disastrous than downtime because it translates into a loss of revenues, customers, and reputation. It becomes crucial to have a comprehensive business continuity plan that serves a roadmap for the continuance of mission-critical functions through a disaster. The plan should be carefully thought out, documented, and circulated within the team, well ahead of disruptive incidents such as flood, fire, tornado, or a pandemic. Here are the key components that make it holistic and reliable.
Analysis and understanding of potential threats
The response to a disaster depends on its nature and extent. Threats such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or floods cause destruction of your IT infrastructure and power outages. A pandemic can affect human resources while leaving the infrastructure intact. A cyberattack typically affects the network without influencing the functionality of the hardware or your people. Your business continuity plan should cover diverse contingencies, which is possible with only a thorough understanding and analysis of the possibilities.
Identification of areas of responsibility
Effective crisis management requires assignment of areas of responsibility so that you have someone looking after them during and after the disaster. You can well imagine how confusing the situation can become if department heads squabble about the decision-making authority in the time of a crisis. Rather, you should define the key areas and assign people to manage them if the situation gets out of control. Training these people in disaster preparedness and incident management is equally important.
Have backup arrangements in place
Whether a disaster affects your IT infrastructure, network security, people, or power supply, you must have backup arrangements in place. Off-site data backup has you covered in case of unexpected loss of data due to breaches and natural calamities. Considering the kind of impact of blackouts on families, you can well imagine how bad things can get if it happens to your business. Having powerful backup generators in place can save you a lot of trouble because they keep your operations up and running, at least till the outage is resolved.
Ensure an alternative communications strategy
Apart from continuing operations and processes, you also need to come up with an alternative communications strategy as a part of your business continuity plan. It is crucial to be in touch with employees, partners, and customers at all times. A communication breakdown is something you cannot afford because it can halt operations and even result in loss of customers. Ensure that there are alternative e-mail addresses and emergency phone numbers for key employees.
Cover the recovery phase
When you plan for business continuity, you should cover the recovery phase because that’s what you will need to do eventually. The plan needed to address the steps for recovering and reinstating the operations and processes to a pre-disaster state. These steps include assessment of the damage, estimation of recovery costs, monitoring the recovery progress, collaboration with insurance companies, and alignment with the management.
The value of a disaster recovery plan for businesses cannot be overemphasized. You must have a good one to be resilient and come back strong after a calamity, no matter how bad it may appear.