Outbreaks, disasters, and crisis – oh my!
Corporations spend millions of dollars securing their infrastructure and guarding against cyber-attacks—but what about a potential pandemic? Viral outbreaks, weather, and civil unrest are all factors that erode commerce and operations. As the Coronavirus spreads, the business implications of disrupted global commerce are significant. Without a plan in place, businesses could take longer to recover, or shut down completely!
Threats and disruptions lose revenue, increase cost, and tank profitability. It’s not enough to rely on insurance—it doesn’t cover all the costs OR customers who flock to the competition. CIOs and other leaders can avoid disaster and save the day with a well-thought-out business continuity strategy.
What’s the secret weapon to staying afloat during a crisis? A solid Business Continuity Plan (BCP). According to Investopedia, BCP/ Business Continuity Management is “the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.” The plan protects personnel and assets to resume operations after a disaster. Key stakeholders and personnel give their input to create and test the BCP in advance.
How to create a Business Continuity Plan
There are many components of a solid BCP. Disaster Recovery and Business Impact Analysis are both important pieces of the puzzle. DRPs focus on restoring infrastructure and operations. BIA looks at the processes of your organization and prioritizes them in regards to cost.
After assessing the BIA, it’s time to complete the plan. Identify the scope of the plan and the key business areas: sales? Supply? HR? Pinpoint your company’s most important processes and note how they connect with the business areas.
Honestly assess how much downtime is acceptable for each of these functions. After gathering this information, your team can now create a plan and procedure to resume and maintain operations.
Test early, test often
There’s always pressing work to do, and so even the most thoughtful BCP can get shoved in a drawer years after its creation. In today’s world, your team should review, test and update the company’s BCM strategy at least once a year. Leaders and managers should review the plan and discuss potential changes with their teams. This way all personnel is aware of the process and can share any input or concerns.
Testing your BCP and DR in a controlled environment is the best way to make sure it works. It’s better to make changes ahead of time as opposed to improvising during an incident. Be sure to push the limits of your tests, and try to break the plan. Planning for the worst ensures the most effective results.
When disaster seems like a remote possibility, it’s tempting to be laissez-faire about the BCP’s importance. “Every organization should be monitoring changes and threats on a global basis,” says Quentin Cantlo, COO of Advancement Strategy. “Having a proper BCM leadership structure in place is a great start to developing the continuity management strategy for your enterprise.”
Plenty of companies and consultants provide disaster recovery solutions for corporate infrastructure. You can rely on the IT team to get the technology up and running, but profits and success rely on holistic processes. But how will you handle the rest of your business functions?
These days, the dark web isn’t the only way to spread a virus. If your business requires the development, audit or testing of a BCM or Disaster Recovery strategy, contact us. We have years of planning and executing BCMs with global corporations, and will steer your team to safety.