If you have been running a business for any length of time, you definitely don’t need to be told how important risk management is. One problem you see from business owners today is that while they understand just how many problems there are--and which ones they need to find solutions for first--they want to grow their company fast, and as a result, they overlook potential problems and end up hurting their business as a result.
One of the major problems a business owner needs to confront is the situation surrounding sustained downtime. Business continuity demands a lot of assessment and a whole lot of action be taken in a short amount of time. After all, downtime is a business killer. The establishment of a continuity plan not only solves the immediate problems (e.g. a server failure), they return your business to a productive state, fast.
All businesses struggle with hiccups of continuity. Something as simple as a cloud application being down for 20 minutes can cost a company a lot of money. When downtime is sustained, however, the costs add up by the second. A business that is forced into stagnation by downtime can fail within days.
Today’s business continuity plan is not much different than it was 50 years ago. The assets have just changed. Today, most of the assets that need to be protected are through reliable digital means. This means that if you want to look for a place to start, look at your organization’s IT.
Like you would have done with established business continuity methods, you will want to make a list of the people who need to know if continuity is broken, and who is in charge of relaying that information down the corporate tree. Typically, there will be one person that is tasked with relaying information to department heads, and they will take it from there. Ensuring that there is a plan in place to mitigate cost in the case of sustained downtime is essential to mitigating problematic situations.
In business continuity, action is the name of the game. Depending on the situation, after your people are informed of a breach of continuity, the next step is to mitigate the problem. Some situations are more difficult to rebound from than others, but ultimately a solid business continuity plan is an incremental approach to getting your business back up and running properly. It could take a minute or a couple of weeks, but ensuring that every mission-critical resource is covered under your plan, and that there are defined actions that need to take place will work to return operations to normal more effectively. All continuity tasks should be assigned a specific timeline for completion, with the highest priority tasks coming first.
Customer care is a big part of a business’ continuity strategy. In fact, if you are dealing with a major outage, keeping your customers supported can work to stem service mutiny. You’ll need to contact your suppliers and vendors to keep other company’s supply chains from grinding to a halt. Keeping your relationships solid will alleviate one big headache if you are dealing with sustained downtime.
Technology and Data
You will want to have identified what hardware and software are essential, as well as have a good idea about how long it will take to restore your data and other systems into working condition. This also applies to any equipment that is necessary to restore operations. You’ll want to make sure that you know exactly what tools you need and the length of time that it will take to get things back up and running.
You will also want to have identified your data needs and have a data backup and recovery platform in place. Business continuity is best when your data backup is bulletproof, as being able to access all of your data quickly, and ensuring that all of your data is always backed up will make a big difference when you need it. While migration to new hardware will extend your timelines, your business can function in an acceptable capacity with the right data backup platform in place.
Assessment, Testing, and Training
To complete your business continuity process, you will absolutely want to continue to assess and test all aspects of the platform. If you know that your BC practices are solid, you can save your business from a downtime disaster.
If you would like more specific information about business continuity, or if you would like to talk to one of our consultants about having OMNI Solutions Group help your business put together a BC platform that works, call us today at 301-869-6890.