What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity refers to an organization’s readiness to maintain essential functions and operations during and after a disruptive event or crisis. These events can include:
- Data breaches
- Power outages
- Natural disasters
- Hardware malfunctions
- Sudden employee departure
Why is Business Continuity Important?
Business continuity can be the difference between a company’s success or failure, as it involves identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities, and assessing their potential impact on the organization. By implementing protective measures to mitigate those risks, businesses can better safeguard their operations and improve their chances of success.
In order to effectively execute a well-designed business continuity strategy, we recommend you follow the 7 steps listed below.
The Business Continuity Checklist
1. Create a Continuity Team
First, it is critical to establish a dedicated team that can swiftly respond to any threat at a moment’s notice. This team should be carefully constructed with hierarchy in mind with specific roles and recovery tasks assigned to each member. This team should be accountable for communicating instructions internally during times of crisis.
2. Have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
Create a comprehensive business continuity plan that outlines what the continuity team should do when faced with various incidents to keep business and personnel protected. This plan should serve as a roadmap, outlining the necessary procedures, processes, and resources to be used in different scenarios.
3. Run a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
Identify all potential threats so that they can be analyzed. A BIA helps determine the individual financial impacts of different business operations and identify the most critical functions that you need to protect and restore.
4. Educate & Train Your Employees
Cross-train and identify alternative sources, especially for critical business functions to the organization. Educate your team on the key components of the business continuity plan and consider a training program to develop those skills.
5. Protect Sensitive Info
Prioritize data that is important to the continuity of your company. Keep login credentials, financial records, and other critical data somewhere that permits quick and convenient access during recovery.
6. Backup Essential Data
follow the 3-2-1 rule for peace of mind that important files are safe no matter what happens to your physical office or online presence.
7. Test. Test. Test.
The best way to discover any gaps or flaws is to test the plan in hypothetical scenarios. Testing also determines how well the business continuity team can manage various disaster situations. You have the opportunity to correct weaknesses before the business continuity plan is used in real disaster.