What Is Business Continuity and Why Has It Become so Important?

by Robert Best on August 16, 2017
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One hour of downtime can cost a business up to £17,000. According to business continuity provider Datto that’s the average cost to a business when an employee cannot access business critical data. In 2016 54% of companies experienced downtime lasting more than 8 hours, at £17,000 an hour that’s a cost of £136,000 to a business. That means it’s important to be able to limit downtime, and that is why business continuity has become so important.

What is business continuity?

TechTarget define business continuity as “the ability of an organisation to maintain essential functions during, as well as after, a disaster has occurred. Business continuity planning establishes risk management processes and procedures that aim to prevent interruptions to mission-critical services, and re-establish full function to the organisation as quickly and smoothly as possible.

That means when your business experiences a disruption that affects your ability to perform, how that is dealt with depends on the quality of your business continuity plan. With downtime costing your business over £100,000 per day the importance of that plan has become business critical.

Previously business continuity had focused around more physical disasters, like floods or fire, that made the work place unworkable but the rise in cyber attacks has created a new threat to a business. The downtime created by a cyber attack is just as damaging as fire or flood but the threat is becoming more common, in fact it’s a case of if, not when your business is hit by a cyber attack. Malwarebytes reports that 54% of UK companies have been hit by ransomware attacks resulting in downtime. This is why a business needs to have a business continuity plan.

You need to consider the business as a whole in order to satisfy your customers needs following a disaster event. This eBook helps you think about the big picture to craft an effective business continuity plan.

How to create a business continuity plan

These are some key areas to consider when creating a business continuity plan.

  • Critical business functions

What part of your business is going to cost you the most if it’s affected by downtime or an IT outage? Prioritise these areas when writing your plan. Bear in mind, when prioritising, that loss of reputation from poor customer service could cost your business more in the long term than more immediate costs.

  • Minimise risk

Put in safeguards to try and minimise the threat of downtime to your critical business functions. Whilst its impossible to get that threat to 0% you can still reduce the chances of downtime. Also, think about your employees when looking at risk. In physical disasters make sure your plan doesn’t put an employee in an unsafe working condition.

  • Improve recovery times

Reduce the time it takes to get critical functions running again. By running a backup weekly instead of monthly you can reduce the amount of data you will have to restore. When looking at recovery solutions remember that cheaper options will mean longer recovery time. This will end up costing you more money in the long run.

  • Disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan is often confused for a business continuity plan, but its a subset of a business continuity plan. That doesn’t mean it’s not important because it’s the actions your business take to recover from the disaster, whereas business continuity looks at the whole process, including prevention.

business continuity stragety

Business continuity planning is now an important part of any business plan. It can be intimidating to create a full plan, especially if your business doesn’t have any designated IT staff. If that is the case it’s better to get help than to ignore business continuity completely.

If you think of business continuity as insurance any upfront costs can be dwarfed by the actual amount extended downtime can cost your business. Remember when talking to 3rd parties about recovery solutions that the higher-end solutions can have your business back up and running in minutes, when cheaper solutions can take hours or even days.

How much will downtime cost my business

If you’re not sure of the cost of downtime to your business use this calculator to find out how much an outage will cost your business. It will also show you how long it will take to recovery your data. If there are any processes your business aren’t currently doing you should seek help immediately.

Because of the rise in cyber attacks and the damage it can do to a business, business continuity planning has become more important than ever. It’s vital to understand how costly it can be to your business. Then start thinking about what key areas of your business you will want to cover in your planning.

Downtime can cost your business as much as £136,000 a day. Can your business afford to ignore business continuity any longer?

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Topics: Business Continuity

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