Having a disaster-proof business means you can keep things running smoothly in the face of problems of all kinds, from data leaks to the current pandemic. With proper crisis planning, you’ll be able to keep serving customers, helping clients, and most importantly, keep your business going.
Step One: Determine The Scope Of The Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity scope includes identifying what areas of your business could be hit, how badly it will be hit, and the right plans to address the risks. For example, you should consider how you’ll manage payroll, communicate with customers, and keep services going.
Being proactive means doing everything you can to protect the business from adverse impacts, instead of reacting to recover. Your plan should include a communication plan, budget, timeline, and roles and responsibilities. Your communication plan should include what you will tell customers, employees, the public, and stakeholders in your business.
Step Two: Identify The Business Functions At Risk
What functions of your business would be most at risk in a disaster? This could include your network, data, and communications devices (a Managed IT service could help with these areas). Your overall operations could be hit by disasters that affect your physical office or storefront. If you know what is at risk, you can plan to protect it.
Make a list of all your hardware and software. Include all the serial numbers, license keys, passwords and technical manuals so you can restore systems. This also helps to process insurance claims faster. Keep these details on the cloud.
Step Three: Define The Disaster Risks
Disaster risk varies by location. For example, if you’re based in California, you’re more likely to be hit by an earthquake than an office in Illinois. What local risk is there of wildfires, hurricanes, floods, or other extreme weather? Plan around those risks. Risk like fires, electricity outages and hacking can hit any business, anywhere.
Step Four: Develop And Test Tactical Components
Find an alternative place for your employees to work. If you have the infrastructure for remote workers, make sure they can keep doing this and take over more business functions. Find co-working spaces and costs that you could use if you needed to.
Backup your data in the cloud. Make sure key business processes are on digital and cloud services, including payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable, customer service, customer relationship management, and others.
What equipment might you need? Do you need a backup generator, for example? Where you will get this equipment if you need it?
For cybersecurity risks, undertake a security assessment to review your processes and network to find any weaknesses.
Step Five: Assess, Refine, And Test
Share the recovery plan with your team. They might have ideas to improve it or spot areas that you’ve missed. If they know the plan, they’ll be ready to go to work if a disaster does occur. The faster the team can react, the less downtime you will have.
Use testing the plan as a training session. Test the plan a couple of times a year to make sure it is still relevant and keep everyone’s memory of the plan fresh.
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