Business continuity planning

News: March 2012

Business continuity planning

Most business owners and managers are generally too concerned with how things are going today to worry about how the business would function in the event of disaster tomorrow. Although the day-to-day operation of the firm is undoubtedly important, businesses must also focus their attention on how to manage their operations in the event of an unforeseen event. It is understandable that when disaster strikes, the regular operations of the firm will be disrupted. People may be unable to make it to work due to adverse weather, equipment can malfunction and data may be lost. In situations such as these you need to have a business continuity plan in order to make sure that the business can adapt quickly to the situation and continue to function.

The terms “disaster recovery” and “business continuity planning” are sometimes used interchangeably because their functions often overlap. When a disaster strikes, you need to have a business continuity plan to help you move forward. There are many simultaneous activities that you need to focus on depending on the priorities of your firm. You also have to manage the people in your firm who are affected and the customers and clients whose orders and business will be disrupted.

You can’t afford to wait until a disaster happens before you develop a plan. You may do your planning internally with your managers or you can hire an outside consultant specialising in business continuity planning. The first item on the list should be to designate the people who will assume leadership in the event of a catastrophe. When there is a designated leader, it becomes easier to implement your plans because someone is taking charge. The second most important item should be to evaluate the company’s processes, in order to determine those which should be prioritised for restoration of business activities. This will minimise the effects of such disruption on the systems and on the company’s staff and clients. The next priority will most likely be to determine backup recovery on systems and storage.

In order to ensure that your business continuity plan is ready to roll out in the event of a disaster, it is essential to have a practice run at least once a year, just like a fire drill. Involve your employees, staff and management so that everyone will become familiar with the routine.