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Winter Storm Warning: Is Your Business Continuity Plan Ready?

Nathan Distel

No organization is bullet-proof. At some point, you’re going to encounter a natural or man-made emergency that’ll immediately impact your operations.

Business continuity refers to a company’s readiness to maintain critical functions after emergencies or disruptions such as:

  • Security breaches
  • Natural disasters
  • Power outages
  • Equipment failures
  • Sudden staff departures

Good business continuity planning ensures when these inevitable disruptions strike — be it a downed power line, software failure, or security breach — that they’re contained and controlled incidents instead of escalating disasters.

In a nutshell, a business continuity plan involves identifying the major parts of your business that keep it running and determining what you can do to mitigate or recover from losing those parts. Creating one should be a top priority for your organization. Here are some of my tips for developing a solid business continuity plan.

Identify Potential Threats

What possible scenarios could interrupt your essential functions? Does your area get tornados, floods, or heavy snowstorms? Are there gaps in your cybersecurity that could let in a cyberattack?

Your business continuity plan should apply to all the situations that could disrupt your operations. Identifying and understanding potential threats can only help you to better prepare for every possible contingency.

Determine Potential Outcomes

In addition to knowing the threats that could derail your operations, it’s important to walk through what will happen in the wake of such catastrophes. For example, what happens when your company becomes the victim of ransomware?

If you’re unprepared for this possibility, chances are you’ll end up paying the ransom in order to regain control of your network and access to your files. The other potential outcome is that you refuse to pay, and you have to start over from scratch.

The third option, of course, is being prepared with a business continuity plan that includes the appropriate technical support. This might involve a managed services provider that hosts off-site system backups you can implement in just such an emergency to keep your business up and running.

Build a Recovery Team

Whether you hire in-house IT staff or work with a third-party vendor, you’re going to need a team in place that can spring into action when a disaster occurs. This team can help create your business continuity plan as well as implement it should the need arise. Your recovery team could include:

  • Upper-level IT manager
  • Department heads or C-level executives
  • Human resources or public relations manager
  • Experts from your IT team

Create a Recovery Plan

Leverage the expertise of your recovery team to develop your business continuity plan. Take each threat you’ve identified and build a pathway to your desired outcome.

A solid business continuity plan identifies essential business functions and finds ways to restore them in the event of a partial or complete shutdown. The goal is to disrupt normal operations as little as possible.

Train Employees

Employees are trained not only to do the jobs for which they were hired, but also to interact appropriately with coworkers, observe basic computer security protocols, and generally behave in a safe, responsible, and appropriate manner in the work environment.

Part of their training should also include the steps to follow if business is somehow disrupted, such as informing superiors, contacting the recovery team, or following other prescribed protocols.

Don’t Be Afraid to Bring in the Experts

Good business continuity planning takes effort and time. If your organization doesn’t have the manpower or resources to do it, consider working with a managed services provider like Elevity.

We have the strategy, solutions, and support to help you create a comprehensive business continuity plan. From backups and disaster recovery to cybersecurity protections for your systems, we can partner with you to ensure you keep operating no matter what disaster lurks around the corner.

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