What happens when your business goes out of business, you die, or some other catastrophic event happens? Most businesses don’t think about this because it’s uncomfortable. Here’s why it’s important, and how to create one.
Business Continuity Planning Protects Your Employees, Customers, and Your Family
Business continuity planning protects you, your employees, and your customers. It also protects your family. How?
A continuity plan is basically a plan that spells out how your business will run under sub-optimal business conditions. For example, if a blizzard hits, and roads are blocked, how will your business open and operate?
Most businesses don’t have a way to compensate for this, but there is a simple solution: a remote business network with backup systems kept off-site.
This way, employees can access essential computer and software systems regardless of where they are.
Continuity plans should be designed so that your company can deliver critical products and services to potential clients under extreme conditions.
These plans should also include ways to recover your business HQ, business-critical data, and business assets.
Secondary, or backup, infrastructure, accommodations, and financial allocations are also important.
Define and Outline a Budget
All plans cost money. Make a budget for yours so that you can determine how much money you can afford to allocate to a continuity plan. Keep in mind that you can’t plan for every eventuality. However, you can plan for major catastrophic events like natural disasters and server failure.
Buy Life Insurance
Life insurance is a useful asset to own if the disaster happens to be the death of a key person within the company. Key person insurance provides the company with money to sustain and maintain business operations while the business finds, hires, and trains a new person to fill the role.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this.
If your company has several key people within the organization, without whom the business would not run, you need a way to insure against their unexpected death to keep the business alive.
Set Up Your IT Infrastructure
An IT infrastructure helps you plan for server and systems failures. According to Transparent Solutions IT Support, if your business doesn’t have layers of IT security, the threat of failure may come from a hacker or disgruntled employee – you’re leaving yourself open for an attack.
A good IT infrastructure will give you “defense in depth,” layering security measures so that there isn’t a single point of failure within your organization.
Set Up Systematic Processes To Serve Existing Clientele
Systematic processes help keep basic operations going while your company gets back on its feet. Financial firms often use this type of planning to provide a way to service financial obligations if something happens to the company.
For example, if a bank goes out of business, it must have a way to service the outstanding loans. Usually, it will appoint another bank, which has agreed to take on the responsibility of serving its customers, in the event something happens to the originating bank.
Financial firms, especially insurance companies, also use these kinds of backup plans. It’s called “reinsurance,” and it’s a way to ensure that all contracts are paid as promised, regardless of what happens to the insurer over the long-term.
Your business needs to set up a continuation plan similar to banks and financial services companies if you have ongoing client relationships where the client depends on you for long-term service after the sale.
Stress Test Your Continuity Plan
If something were to happen to your company, how would you serve your existing customer base? For example, if your company’s building were hit by a tornado, flooded, or swallowed by an earthquake, how would you continue operations?
One way to ensure you’ve made a good plan is to stress test it. No, you don’t need to set fire to your building, but you can do a “soft knockout” of various systems periodically to see how the business runs and whether employees are capable of picking up the slack.
If you see that your company completely falls apart if a server goes offline, for example, you know that you need to create compensatory mechanisms for this potentiality.
The simple truth about business is that it’s not guaranteed. No matter what you do, there’s something out there that can wreck it: accidents, sabotage, power interruptions, cyber attacks, sector failure.
You can’t plan for everything, but you can take some actions to cover the bulk of potential events. The question is: will you?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Data Disaster Diversion: Create a Viable Business Continuity Plan
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