Building a business continuity plan is a lot like getting a root canal. You dread the experience, but you know that if you don’t go through with it, the consequences could be dire. In the case of avoiding a root canal, you could end up toothless. In the case of avoiding a business continuity plan, you could end up out of business. It’s not fun to think about, but it’s true. 7 out of 10 small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within one year. Organizations that suffer data loss are exponentially more likely to fail and file bankruptcy, and the longer business operations are interrupted, the sooner bankruptcy will occur.
Think about it- every minute you spend recovering data costs you money, and every piece of information you have to recreate costs you money.
Business continuity plans help you map out how you will continue to operate once disaster strikes. They will help you figure out how to get back up and running as quickly as possible.
The key to a good plan is to avoid complexity and irrelevant information. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is campaigning on a five-point plan to fix the U.S. economy. In this post, I’m going to offer up a 5-point plan of my own, for business continuity.
1. Identify all systems and information that need to be protected.
Using a table like this, identify the information that needs to be safeguarded.
Some other key areas to identify might be:
- ERP database
- Customer records
- Sales information
- Proprietary applications
- HR records
- Marketing collateral
- Engineering data
- Application registration licenses and account data
2. Select a team of of key people who will review the plan for compliance and completeness.
This team will ensure your plan is up-to-date and meets industry and legislative data retention requirements. Include executives from Operations, HR, IT, Finance and Legal.
3. Specify how critical systems and information are to be backed up or provided redundancy.
You’ve identified the your important data and determined where it resides, but what will you use to back it up?*
4. Determine how and where you will recover.
Disaster recovery is just one part of continuity planning. You must also answer the questions of how and where you will recover your data if your critical systems become unavailable.
5. Assign roles and responsibilities.
Who will be in charge of business continuity planning? Who will ensure that compliance requirements are met? Make a list of responsibilities and assign them to the appropriate team members.
Keep in mind…
Organizations often plan and implement policies and procedures with the best intentions, but fail to update and maintain them over time. Due to its critical nature, the business continuity plan should be regularly monitored, reviewed and revised by dedicated staff.
How will you back up your data?
In addition to being able to help you with your business continuity plan, Nexxtep offers a suite of backup solutions called StorGuard. With StorGuard, you can rest easy knowing your data is protected. Click here to learn more about these solutions.