Business Continuity Planning (BCP), simply put, is the creation of documents that consist of the critical information an organisation needs to continue operating during an unplanned event.
Businesses are now more reliant than ever on technology such as cloud-based systems and the internet during their day-to-day processes. Cybercriminals are more prevalent and it has been increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead to keep your data and systems safe. Research shows that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses.
Managing expectations regarding data loss is crucial and we discussed setting realistic expectations in a previous article. Unfortunately, with data loss, there is a limited amount you can do once the event has happened.
What you can control, however, are the plans you put in place beforehand.
Having a Business Continuity Plan in place helps to ensure that a business survives the initial shock of a widespread outage or data loss – keeping critical operations running while the problem is being addressed.
What to consider when Business Continuity Planning
Business Impact Analysis
One of the first things to consider for your company is a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).
This will identify the critical activities of the business and the resources required to continue those activities during and after a potential disruption.
It should be implemented by management with input from all departments.
Incident Response Plan
Outlining policies and procedures in the form of an Incident Response Plan (IRP) is vital to have in place in the event of an emergency situation. The IRP should detail step-by-step procedures so staff have a plan and can react quickly should an emergency occur.
Processes should be continually reviewed and amended where necessary with staff kept informed of any changes. Employees need to be made aware of where these plans can be accessed and they also should be readily available to team members at all times.
Training the Team
Time is often a huge factor in limiting the effects of an attack or unplanned event. It is the best policy to have all staff trained and aware of what is expected of them in these cases.
If personnel are fully trained, they know what their role is should an incident occur. This should limit panic and confusion and mean that the issue is dealt with professionally and efficiently.
Are the right systems and technology infrastructure in place?
For instance, are there members of the workforce working remotely? If so, how do remote workers connect to the network and are the devices used protected to the same level as those working onsite?
To safeguard data and protect against server issues and ransomware attacks it is strongly recommended that both onsite and cloud-based backups, using tools such as Sharepoint, are regularly completed. Backups should be checked and tested routinely to ensure they are functioning correctly.
When choosing your backup system, it is necessary to consider acceptable downtime along with the level of data loss the business can withstand. These areas are where your Business Impact Analysis should be used to identify any risks or weaknesses.
Why Business Continuity Planning is vital
Having a robust Business Continuity Plan is crucial because it is what will allow your business to continue despite disruption. However, that is not the only advantage. A BCP can also:
Protect your reputation
A quick and efficient response, as a result of a detailed Business Continuity Plan, will help limit any negative feelings toward the business due to disruption or loss of productivity.
Give you a competitive edge
Being able to respond efficiently and quickly to disruption will give your business a significant edge over competitors who may not have been able to react in the same way. It portrays your company as one that is trustworthy, professional, and prepared.
Business Continuity Planning boosts employee morale
Good communication from the top down demonstrates to employees within the organisation that they are respected, appreciated and trusted with responsibility.
Preserve vital relationships
Having effective systems and organisation in place establishes a level of professionalism.
It proves a company is reliable, well run and is one that takes its responsibilities to partners, customers and employees very seriously.
Help to meet regulatory requirements
Most businesses are required to adhere to specific legislation in essential areas.
A Business Continuity Plan is often a requirement of such regulations and is used as proof that the company has considered all potential risks and has sufficiently prepared to deal with any incidents that may occur.
Provide a backup for your backup
Back-ups are the first piece of the puzzle when trying to piece things together after an incident. Unfortunately, back-ups alone are not enough.
What happens, for instance, if systems fail to the point that backups cannot be even accessed?
Contingency and recovery plans are all integral to a Business Continuity Plan and having these in place will ensure downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.
Implement your Business Continuity Planning
Having a Business Continuity Plan in place as part of an overall security strategy is essential.
Companies must ensure that they are taking adequate cyber security measures, especially with malicious attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and targeted.
Calnet IT Solutions are a Microsoft Gold certified partner – we know Disaster Recovery, we know cybersecurity and we offer secure, cost-effective backup solutions to suit every kind of business.
Get in touch with your account manager if you’d like to discuss your options in further detail.