Business continuity planning has long represented a “grudge spend” for many companies, a required investment that is unlikely to ever produce any real value. The events of the past year have challenged that viewpoint.
The pandemic provided a stark reminder of the perils of failing to adequately prepare for a disaster or disruption. Nearly 100,000 U.S. businesses have permanently shut down since the coronavirus outbreak and tens of thousands of others have experienced temporary closures, according to Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report.
There’s no doubt that organizations with a comprehensive business continuity plan were better prepared to deal with the disruption of normal operations. Well-developed plans served as a blueprint for operational resilience in the early days of the pandemic, when lockdowns and travel restrictions forced organizations to make the sudden transition to remote operations.
As we head into the second year of the pandemic, anyone still operating without a formal plan should take steps to correct that. Those with plans should use lessons learned in the past year to update their existing plans.
Beyond Data Protection
Many companies assume it’s enough to have a solid backup plan to minimize the risk of data loss. However, data survivability alone will not keep a business going in the event of a catastrophic event. A comprehensive plan should address all factors necessary for a business to continue operations following a disruption.
Of course, you’ll need your employees to remain in business. In a worst-case scenario, you need a plan for evacuating employees, keeping them safe, maintaining communications and providing them with the tools they need to continue working. Additionally, the roles and responsibilities of key personnel before, during and after an incident should be clarified to ensure the plan is properly executed.
Many companies make the mistake of planning only for short-term disruptions. But what would you do if something were to wipe your physical premises off the map? Would your data be safe if a fire reduced your business and its technology to ash, or a sudden storm expanded your business’s footprint and its infrastructure by a few counties?
You must also ensure that your data is protected from external threats while still remaining accessible to your business resources. That requires an offsite, secure backup solution — preferably with your data being safely stored in multiple locations and accessible through a cloud service. This not only protects your data from a widespread catastrophe, but also allows you to establish business operations much faster without being tethered to your place of business.
Testing is Critical
Once you’ve considered, planned and implemented these precautions, your next step is to ensure that they will work when you need them to. This means you will need to monitor and maintain your solutions to defend against potential issues. Running emergency situation drills and tests will enable you to safely determine if your preparations are adequate, or if they need a bit more work.
You will also need to keep an eye out for any improvements that develop for your solutions, or any new threats that may arise that your precautions are ineffective against. Develop a schedule to perform regular system checkups and improvements and stick to it. It might just bring your business back from the brink of disaster.
The pandemic demonstrated the value of business continuity plans. If you don’t have a plan, RMM Solutions has the expertise to help you develop one. We have years of real-world experience with disaster recovery and data backup solutions that provide the basis for a best-practices approach to BC planning. We can help ensure that you can overcome a disruption while minimizing the risk of lost revenue or lost data.