When disaster strikes, getting business operations back up and running quickly is crucial. Every minute of downtime negatively impacts your organization’s revenue, productivity, and reputation.
Having a business continuity plan in place will help you recover faster and keep essential business functions running as normally as possible until the crisis is resolved.
To maximize efficiency, focus your business continuity efforts on three distinct phases:
- Initial response to crisis: Address and neutralize any cyberthreats, activate your crisis communication plan, and assess the damage.
- Relocation of employees and equipment: Provide essential employees with the tools and technology they need to keep working remotely and minimize downtime for business-critical systems.
- Recovery and restoration: Restore files from backup, evaluate any potential data loss, and prioritize recovery of mission-critical applications.
How to Eliminate Gaps in Your Business Continuity Plan
Gaps in your business continuity plan will slow down recovery and cause additional loss of revenue—and maybe even customers. To ensure you’ll be ready to act fast and get operations back online with minimal impact on end users, be proactive and check for roadblocks to recovery while your organization isn’t in crisis mode.
The best way to uncover gaps in your business continuity plan is to assess five critical business continuity factors for accuracy, risk mitigation opportunities, the need for new equipment or resources, and policy updates.
1. Data and Technology
A recent, complete, working backup is essential to recovering from a multitude of disasters, from fire to tornado to ransomware attack. Store a copy of your backup off-site, preferably in the cloud, for maximum protection from localized threats and ease of access from anywhere.
Geo-independent data centers and redundancy are critical components for maintaining high availability. Be sure your data centers have failover capabilities to minimize prolonged downtime.
Regularly reviewing your business-critical applications will help ensure your business continuity plan stays up to date. During the review, add any new applications and downgrade priority or remove applications from the recovery plan that are no longer in use or considered essential to resuming business operations. Reprioritize applications so the most important resources are given first attention.
2. Contact Information
Internal communication during a crisis is vital to getting the business up and running again. Periodically verify that employee phone numbers and emails are current and correct to avoid the frustration of not being able to reach an essential employee when you need them. Create a central repository for contact information to facilitate communication and information sharing throughout the event.
3. Communication Channels
Visibility into the recovery process is essential for both internal and external stakeholders and customers. Employees need to know when they will be back at work, and stakeholders need to know the problem is under control.
Make it easier to keep everyone in the loop by testing internal communications and mass notification systems to verify they are operational and can reach the entire client base if necessary.
4. Essential Personnel
Business continuity is impossible without the right people in place to run the organization’s essential systems and applications. Depending on the type of disaster your company is navigating, some essential employees may be unable to assist with the recovery effort.
Be sure to have additional fully trained staff members who can backup the primary recovery team in case some team members aren’t available to restart operations during and after the crisis.
5. Equipment and Hardware Needs
Your business continuity effort will require that specific tools and technology are available to the recovery team. Your plan should address exactly what equipment, hardware, and software is needed to get operations started again. The plan also needs to outline how these resources are to be protected during a disaster and replaced if the company sustains damage or is inaccessible for a period of time.
How a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Solution Can Close Those Gaps Even Further
Periodically reviewing and updating your business continuity plan is a smart risk-mitigation best practice. But investing in a business continuity/disaster recovery solution, such as those offered by Arcserve, can further disaster-proof your business operations using the latest data loss prevention and cybersecurity technology available.
Today’s IT environments are highly complex, so look for a solution that offers security for your entire infrastructure—whether on-premises, cloud, physical, or virtual—and that protects all of your storage types, from public and private cloud to disk and tape.
The cost of downtime is far too high to risk having gaps in your business continuity plan. Periodically assessing your plan and looking for out-of-date policies, poorly prioritized processes, and lack of concrete directives is a must for ensuring business operations are restored quickly. To learn additional ways to minimize downtime and get back to work quickly, download Smart Strategies for Business Continuity.