A business continuity plan (BCP) outlines all the instructions and procedures an organization should follow in case of a disaster. A BCP focuses on maintaining core business functions during a crisis and promptly resuming normal operations after a significant disruption. Some of the biggest threats to business and workflow continuity include natural disasters such as storms, IT outages, cybercrime, and internal accidents.
A solid continuity plan gives your business the agility and tolerance to boldly face unexpected disasters and recover unscathed. Although BCP plays a crucial role in business resilience and survival, many entrepreneurs do not bother with disaster readiness. A recent study to find out how organizations were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic found that more than half of all the businesses surveyed lacked effective strategies to deal with disasters.
Can your business withstand disruptive events? Here are five tips to ensure your continuity planning is just right:
Set your continuity goals
The first step in developing a BCP is identifying the continuity goals and objectives to determine the plan’s scope. Every business has a unique setup, model, and set of dependencies. Establish all the mission-critical processes in your enterprise and their potential vulnerabilities. Let that information guide you in assessing risks and coming up with practical workflow continuity and recovery strategies.
Take stock of workflow
Audit your continuity plan by assessing which business processes and resources are already focused on continuity. From there, you can determine what to do with critical assets and operations lacking a continuity strategy. Remember to examine every aspect of your enterprise support structure, from apps and IT hardware to labor. Also, discover all the technical resources dedicated to disaster-proofing workflow operations.
Optimize your workflow for the existing continuity solutions
Switching normal business operations over to recovery mode often involves making a few compromises. All the essential functions should still work, but you can make do without some peripheral requirements. Prepare your workflow for these continuity adjustments by ensuring it aligns with the continuity solutions in place. Workflow continuity is all about keeping the core part of the business running, meaning you can trim down operations to the bare minimum in times of crisis. In addition, having a business continuity plan can cut down on the risk of ransomware.
Position data security at the center of continuity
The number of data breach incidents and exposed records keeps going up year after year. According to the Data Breach QuickView Report, Q1 2020 saw a staggering 273% increase in the number of exposed records compared to Q1 2019. Such worrying figures paint a grim picture of the current state of cyber insecurity.
For most businesses, a large part of continuity planning involves remote data transfers, manipulation, and storage. This makes data security a crucial element in disaster preparedness. Use the latest cybersecurity solutions, ensuring well-secured communications and data-handling platforms. On top of that, train your employees (both remote workers and commuters) on being extra cautious with data security during a crisis.
Make sure nothing gets left behind
Many entrepreneurs mistake disaster recovery planning (DRP) for continuity planning. DRP is a component of workflow continuity planning that primarily focuses on restoring data and critical applications following a utility outage. A BCP is a comprehensive strategy designed to maintain business operations as a whole — not just the IT processes.
In short, take a holistic approach when developing your continuity plan. Don’t leave out the business’s non-technical aspects, such as HR management, administration, payroll, bookkeeping, and quality assurance. These are often just as important as digital processes.
Remember, developing a workflow continuity strategy is a continuous process. You have to test and update your BCP at least annually to keep up with emerging threats and changes in the organization that touches on critical business activities. But the most important thing is to start the journey on the right foot to avoid making costly adjustments to the plan in the future. So, take your time and consider all the variables when drafting your first business continuity solution.
If you’re unsure of what to include in your business continuity plan or need another set of eyes to look it over before deploying, the experts at KME Systems are here to help. We’ll make sure each aspect of your business can stay up and running in the event of a disaster so you can feel confident in your plan. Reach out to us today to learn more!