According the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and 25% fail within the first year. If you’re not prepared for any eventuality, then your business has every chance of joining that statistic should disaster strike. There’s a lot more to business continuity than simply backing up your data and relying on your insurance provider when things go wrong. Instead, you need to have a fully fledged business continuity plan in place to make sure you can get back on track and minimize losses when the unexpected occurs.
#1. Underestimating the Threats
A failure to understand the multitude of possible threats is perhaps the most common mistake of all. This is further exemplified by the fact that many people use the terms disaster recovery and business continuity planning interchangeably. The former only refers to the ability to restore your systems, while the latter refers to the ongoing recovery process needed to reduce losses in the longer term.
Many businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place, but they greatly underestimate the importance of being prepared for long-term losses by neglecting to have a solid continuity plan.
#2. Not Testing the Plan
A business continuity plan should never be considered an insurance policy that you can claim compensation on. Instead, it’s entirely in your own hands, and as such, it’s a constantly evolving plan that needs to be tested thoroughly to ensure that it’s fit for purpose.
Testing may require extensive time and resources, since there will be multiple variables to consider, such as the nature of the disaster and the vulnerability of your various systems. Nonetheless, unless your plan has been thoroughly tested, it could end up being practically worthless.
#3. Not Reviewing the Plan Regularly
Any plan needs to be current to be effective, particularly given that rapidly changing technology infrastructures are likely a major part of it. Most businesses rely heavily on their IT infrastructures, which often change and evolve beyond recognition over just a few years.
Your business continuity plan is only effective at the time it was written up, so you’ll ideally want to review and modify it at least annually. When reviewing your plan, you’ll need to consider any changes in business processes and systems that might make the old plan redundant.
#4. Neglecting the Supply Chain
Should disaster render mission-critical systems useless, you’ll need to have the peace of mind knowing that they’ll be replaced within a given timeframe. For this reason, you need to factor in the supply chain to ensure any new hardware and software systems will be delivered promptly.
In other words, you need to know whom to call to order and set up new systems as soon as possible. This is one of the reasons why it’s a great idea to outsource your IT administration to providers who have excellent service level agreements (SLAs). An SLA obligates the vendor to provide new systems and have them up and running within a certain timeframe.
#5. Not Defining Key Staff Roles
A clear definition of key employee roles is critical in any disaster recovery and business continuity plan. The responsibilities of your staff or any vendors you outsource your systems to need to be made very clear.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone will be present when disaster strikes, you’ll need to have a backup. For small businesses, this can be problematic, hence the reason why many such companies outsource business continuity to an external provider who can implement your plan at a moment’s notice.
Although everyone on your team needs to be aware of the risks facing your business, it’s essential to have a solid plan to fall back on. Spectrumwise provides a range of services from off-site backup to rapid recovery solutions that help ensure your business can get back on track should disaster strike. Contact us today to request a free personalized assessment.