Business continuity (BC) is a topic every business should consider. With the right BC solutions in place, an organization can withstand and recover from unexpected disruptions, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, or economic downturns.
However, creating a BC strategy can be a complex process that requires careful and accurate planning. Before creating a business continuity plan, you need as much information as possible to minimize risks. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about BC so you can make informed decisions about your organization’s survivability.
What is business continuity?
BC is an organization’s ability to continue doing business after a disruptive event. This disruption could be a sudden disaster, such as a fire or cyberattack, or a long-term disruption, such as a pandemic. BC includes preparation and response planning for all manner of disruption, as well as physical solutions, such as data backups.
My business is in the ______ industry, is BC important for us?
Regardless of the industry your business is in, BC is vital for your company’s survival. Even if you are confident that your business could return to full operations after a disaster, you are still at risk. The important question is not, “Can the business survive?” but rather, “How fast can the business return to full operations?”
Every minute you spend getting your business back up and running is time that you’re potentially losing revenue, wasting employee time, and/or not meeting your clients’ needs. Many businesses that experience a major disruption fail even if they get back on their feet because their markets and customers have lost confidence and moved on. With proper planning, your business can bounce back quickly so you can minimize downtime and satisfy your client base.
How can I determine my organization’s BC needs?
A business impact analysis (BIA) helps you determine the effects and scope of a long-term disruption to your operations. With this information, you can see which areas will be hit hardest and how, so you can prioritize time and resources to recover faster. A BIA should have input from all stakeholders to ensure comprehensive coverage. If you don’t have the resources to conduct a BIA in house, you can outsource it to professional consultants. Once you have your BIA, you can start creating your business continuity plan (BCP).
What goes into an effective BCP?
Every BCP is different because it is tailored to each specific business. However, there are some key components that every business continuity plan should have, including:
Risk assessment – A risk assessment uncovers the biggest threats to your company’s productivity and survival and what damage they might cause.
Incident response plan – This plan outlines what each employee needs to do or focus on during a disaster to minimize damage. Multiple response plans can be made for different types of disasters.
Communication plan – This plan is essential to preserve internal communications when your network or the internet is down.
Training and testing materials – These refer to the resources and information needed to train employees on BC procedures.
How often should the BCP be tested?
Like all other parts of your business, your BCP must adapt and change with the times. For most organizations, your workforce should do a full-scale drill with a mock disaster annually. This will not only keep everyone informed and functional, but also help with implementing and testing new facets of your BCP.
Is BC expensive?
The cost of an effective BC solution depends on the size, industry, and other unique features of your business. Creating a BCP internally takes a lot of time and effort. While outsourcing this task to professional consultants can reduce the time and effort you invest, it will cost more money. In any case, one thing is certain: having no business continuity plan in place is the most expensive option of all, because the financial repercussions of a disaster could mean the end of your business.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst
Because BC is so essential for your business’s survival, don’t be afraid to put a lot more time into learning its ins and outs to make your BCP as detailed as possible. If you operate a Seattle-area business and want to make your business continuity plan comprehensive and airtight, partner with Fidelis. Our team has over 15 years of experience in safeguarding business data. With us, you can ensure that your business can survive whatever life throws at you.