Business Continuity for when disaster doesn't strikeBy Ron Onur Aksoy
Most companies at one time or another have experienced unscheduled downtime. Depending on its severity, downtime can have a huge impact on your organization: brand damage, customer dissatisfaction, financial losses, to name just a few. Simply put, when it comes to business continuity, ensuring that systems are up and running after a disaster is imperative. However, what if disaster doesn’t strike? Have you ever asked yourself what else your business continuity plan (BCP) could be used for?
For instance, what happens when your company closes for certain holidays? Perhaps you’re a services company, maybe a manufacturing company—either way, knowing what systems and processes to shut down, along with how to correctly restart them can be tricky. This is where your BCP can come into play.
For one, the need to communicate what is happening internally is paramount. Ensuring that people know what systems will be offline, what they can and cannot access during holiday schedules, and more, can have a ripple effect that will travel through the organization. By leveraging your BCP, the process for communicating shutdowns and restarts, along with how to manage business without certain systems will ensure an easy restart as team members return from their respective vacations.
However, that’s not where it ends. Although internal teams may be up-to-speed, it’s also important not to forget customers. Having a BCP in place will also enable you to convey the right message to the customer, along with information important for them to be able to manage while you are away.
But that’s not the only thing a good BCP can help with. It’s also a fantastic tool to use when implementing system upgrades or new processes.
If, for instance, you happen to be an IT service provider, there are multiple ways you can leverage a BCP. For one, it can be used as a manual for knowing how to bring systems back online, and in what sequence the systems must be brought back.
Knowing these steps will lead to far smoother upgrades and ensure that while upgrades are happening service doesn’t stop. Furthermore, as systems come back online after the upgrade, it ensures that people have the right tools at the right time to do their jobs. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, prioritizing systems is a critical step—email and phone systems taking priority over 10-year-old data files that no one ever accesses.
And lastly, in either of these examples, your BCP can be put to the test. Having everything outlined including systems, priorities, and communications efforts is fantastic. But stress testing them for the real event is even better.
By purposely trying to poke holes in your BCP, or by simply identifying holes as they arise under controlled conditions, will lead to a rock solid plan, a rock solid execution, and a rock solid business for years to come.
To make the first steps in planning a little easier for you, or as just a sanity check on how your current business continuity plan measures up, here’s one of our latest eBooks: Business Continuity Planning and Why it Matters. It tackles subjects including resiliency, recovery, contingency, and more. And, if you’d like to give us a call, we offer a free Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery assessment that can add insight into what you have, and what may be missing.
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