For many small and medium-size businesses, the need for a business continuity plan was something they thought about from time to time, but not necessarily an urgent concern.
All that changed in 2020.
While economists fine-tuned quarterly GDP estimates, and businesses across the country sharpened key performance indicators for 2020, a pandemic was slowly but steadily circling the globe. It’s fair to say that every business (and every world government) was, to some extent, caught off guard by this global event that has wrought (arguably) more economic havoc in a few short months, than the Great Recession did in years.
Of course, many small and mid-size businesses survived the Great Recession—and many will survive this current crisis. Several factors contribute to the resilience of the businesses that weather business disruption. What most distinguishes “the survivors” from companies that don’t make it, is their investment in a business continuity plan.
What is Business Continuity?
“Business continuity (BC) refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption…A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of such disasters; it covers business processes, assets, human resources, business partners and more. Many people think a disaster recovery (DR) plan is the same as a business continuity plan, but a DR plan focuses mainly on restoring an IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. It’s actually just one part of a complete business continuity plan.”
Why Continuity Matters
What are the Main Elements of a Business Continuity Plan?
Because businesses are different, they face different risks in the event a disaster occurs. Before writing your continuity plan, you need to carefully assess not the risks any business faces, but the ones with the greatest potential to harm your business.
This could include the kinds of damage your property might sustain from a natural disaster such as hurricane, flood, or tornado (these dangers will differ depending on your company’s geographical location). The point is, the more effectively you assess the possible risks your business faces, the better prepared you’ll be to address those challenges when you need to.
When a disaster strikes, your business will need to quickly move from in-office to remote operations. This might include things like remote access to workstations so your employees can remain engaged for the duration of business disruption to teleconferencing and video conferencing technology to recreate the face-to-face communications critical to business productivity. It’s also critically important to provide workers with the tools they need to continue working collaboratively. This could include things like whiteboarding and document sharing.
Many natural disasters will cause your business to lose power, in some cases for a protracted period. You need to ensure that you have a backup plan for power generation if this occurs. Be sure the generators you buy are sufficient to meet all your power needs. If you rent your commercial property, you should also consult with your landlord to ensure you’re in compliance with the terms of your lease.
How will you make sure your business is able to effectively communicate with employees, customers, and key stakeholders to share critical information? For example, will you need to quickly put-up emergency instructions on your website? Will you communicate through social media platforms, emails, or texts to keep your people informed? It’s important both to have these plans in place before you’re in crisis mode—and to let all stakeholders know what the plan is through education and training.
The fact that you’ve created an effective business continuity plan doesn’t necessarily mean that all your vendors have done the same. To ensure you maintain your supply chair and continue delivering outstanding customer service, prepare a list of secondary vendors in the event one or more of your primary vendors is no longer able to meet your needs.
6. DATA PROTECTION
You need to ensure you have access to business-critical data to keep operations running smoothly if a crisis occurs. Make sure all your important data is backed up in the cloud. You could use providers like Dropbox or Google Drive Google Drive to protect your data. Again, the important thing is to prepare for data backup now, so you won’t be caught flat footed when a disaster happens.
That’s where Hogland can help!
Contact us today to start the conversation.
HOGLAND IT: 806.763.9525
Avitus Group, 2021, The 6 Elements of An Effective Business Continuity Plan, 2021, <https://avitusgroup.com/managed-it-services/biz/the-6-elements-of-an-effective-business-continuity-plan/>