If there’s one concept that every business owner needs to be intimately familiar with, it’s business continuity. Boiled down, the concept tackles the question of how your business will carry on after a disaster situation has struck. While a business continuity plan is by no means a simplistic document, there are a few key points that all businesses should focus on.
Dealing with the Emergency
Of course, in order for your business to continue, you’ll need to have your employees. Therefore, when constructing a plan that will pull your business through disasters, it is best to plan for the worst possible scenarios--including a dangerous event striking the office. Having an established safety plan is crucial to maintaining a safe environment in the office.
When it comes to real emergencies, the real key is practice. Set aside an afternoon to hold a company-wide meeting where safety procedures are discussed and run through by the staff as a whole, and don’t be afraid to gently quiz your staff on how they should act should a crisis erupt.
If you’ve established your business in a region prone to natural disasters, it is also advisable to set predetermined processes to enact should one of these disasters strike your place of business. Do you have an evacuation route planned, should your staff need to evacuate your premises, and most importantly, does your staff know it? While your business may run off of its data, it’s built on the backs of those you have hired--they need to be kept safe as well.
Preparing for the Worst
In order to ensure you have sufficiently prepared your business for a disaster, consider what would happen 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?
Data loss is no laughing matter, and there’s nothing funny about having to close up shop for good after your critical information becomes a victim of some disastrous circumstance. Therefore, your continuity plan needs to include contingencies for exactly this kind of situation, and any precautions will need to be put in place pre-emptively.
For instance, a key component of business continuity is ensuring that your data is protected from external threats while still remaining accessible to your business resources. Utilising an offsite, secure backup solution is key to this point, 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 natural disaster or other catastrophe, but also allows you to establish business operations much faster without being tethered to your place of business.
Once you’ve considered, planned, and implemented these precautions for your business continuity, 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 check-ups and improvements, and stick to it. It might just bring your business back from the brink of disaster.