Business continuity may sound like a broad concept, but the mission is a pretty simple one, to minimize operation disruptions and keep your business going in the event of any type of disaster, large or small.
Business continuity and BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) go hand in hand because BDR is one of the most important strategies in any business continuity plan.
Companies that don’t fully prepare for unexpected events can end up with major costs that insurance won’t cover. Loss of reputation in the event of a data breach, for example, can cripple a business for years. Offices that don’t have a way to run operations if a flood makes their location unusable, can lose daily and weekly revenue that can’t be recovered.
60% of small businesses close their doors within 6 months of suffering a data breach. (Inc.)
But you can protect your company and plan for the unexpected with a good business continuity plan. Our team at Neuron Computers works with businesses in multiple industries, including architects, construction, CPAs, insurance agencies, manufacturers, real estate, and more. One thing all of them have in common is the need to keep their business going through a catastrophe and recover quickly.
We help them do this with a smart business continuity plan including cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions, strong network security, and a host of other IT strategies to make their company resilient in the face of any unforeseen events.
How can you ensure your business has the continuity it needs? We’ve got some tips below on the strategies that go into a robust business continuity plan.
Preparing Your Company for Anything
Business-stopping events come in all sizes, from a wildfire that could severely damage your building to a prolonged power outage that causes work disruption for a day or more.
To minimize the costs and ensure a fast recovery, you want to develop a business continuity plan. There are four key steps to this process:
- Creating a Business Impact Analysis
- Developing Recovery Strategies
- Documenting Your Plan
- Testing Your Plan Regularly
The first step in developing a business continuity plan is to do a Business Impact Analysis. This includes evaluating what could go wrong and the cost it would have on your business.
The Business Impact Analysis includes:
- Identifying potential work-stopping events
- Measuring the costs (financial, lost customers, etc.)
- Assessing any regulatory fines (i.e. in the case of a data breach)
- Measuring the short and long-term costs of lost reputation and trust
- Setting your Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
This first step can be an eye-opening exercise as you learn the real costs of each minute or hour your company is out of operation. On average, the hourly cost of infrastructure failure (or “downtime”) is $100,000.
Developing Recovery Strategies
Here’s where you solve the problems you identified in step 1 and here’s often where Neuron Computers comes in. We help businesses identify vulnerabilities that would make recovery from a disaster difficult and provide them with the tools to overcome those.
Some of the strategies we help companies implement to keep their businesses running in the face of a disaster include the following.
BDR (Backup & Disaster Recovery): Cloud-based backup solutions help keep company data safe in the event of physical damage to premises and keep it easily recoverable to any device when they need it.
Cloud-Based Office Applications: If your accounting program, CRM software, and office suite applications (like Office 365) are accessed online (cloud-based), that means your team can login and keep you going from anywhere. If there’s a power outage, it’s as simple as mobilizing your team elsewhere and you’re back in business.
VoIP Phone Systems: VoIP phone systems are beginning to rival landline-based phones when it comes to business-friendly features. Another big benefit they have is they can also be accessed from any computer or mobile device, allowing them to always be answered no matter what.
Cybersecurity: Data breaches are another form of catastrophe for a business. While it may not physically damage their premises, it can cause long-lasting reputation damage along with ongoing costs. A solid IT security plan is essential for business continuity.
Documenting Your Plan
Once you’ve gone through the first two steps, you want to document everything in a comprehensive Business Continuity Manual that will be a reference for your team and include the procedures to follow in the case of work-stopping events.
Included within this document should be your Disaster Response Teams, any phone or text tree you put into place, and other detailed response strategies.
This should also be a “living document’ always being updated and evolving as technology and circumstances also evolve. For example, if you add on an additional office or change backup vendors, you’ll want to ensure your manual is updated accordingly.
Testing Your Plan Regularly
Just like organizations conduct regular fire drills, you want to conduct regular drills to test your business continuity plan. This will accomplish two key objectives:
- Ensuring your team knows what to do in the event of a disaster
- Reveal any weak spots in your plan that need to be addressed
Need Some Help with a Solid Business Continuity Plan?
Neuron Computers has been providing proactive IT solutions to companies in the Burbank and Rancho Cucamonga areas for over two decades. Our 24/7 support means we’re there at the exact moment you need us.
Let’s talk about your business continuity plan and ensure your company can weather any unforeseen event. Call us today at 909.418.1410 or contact us online.