A continuity plan works to protect your business in the event of a natural disaster, an accident, power and energy disruptions, and cyberattacks by ensuring that you have the resources and information you need to minimize the disruption, recover any lost data, and get things up and running again efficiently. The more comprehensive your continuity plan, the better your business will be at adequately responding in an emergency situation. So, what should you consider in a continuity plan? Let’s take a look.
1. The likelihood of potential threats. First and foremost, your business’s continuity plan should take into consideration the likelihood of potential threats, as the way you respond to a specific disruption will depend on the nature and extent of the disaster. For example, natural disasters, like a tornado, an earthquake, or a flood, might destroy the functionality of your infrastructure. However, a cyberattack could very well bring down your entire network while still leaving all of your infrastructure intact. In order to develop a comprehensive continuity plan, it is crucial to understand the risks that different threats pose.
2. The data backup plan. The foundational element of every business continuity plan is a data backup plan. To ensure that data can easily be recovered in the event of an emergency, you need to make provisions to back up your data, whether you have off-site backup or cloud backup. The bottom line is that you need to be able to access your data in the aftermath of an emergency, or else you won’t be able to get your business up and running again. When thinking about emergencies, it is important to conceptualize things beyond just a natural disaster. For example, let’s say an employee in the sales department has been working on a major presentation that could yield a lot of business that is to be given to a very important customer. On the morning of the big day, someone spills coffee all over her laptop and the unit is ruined. If the presentation was not backed up to the server or NAS, then that is an absolute disaster. You need to be prepared for a range of scenarios.
3. The options for backup power. If electricity is lost in an emergency, you need to have access to a backup power supply. Without power, you can’t run critical hardware, which could seriously impede your operations. Ideally, you will want to have generators in place. However, this might not be feasible in all cases. For example, if you are in the third floor of an office building, chances are you won’t have a generator on hand. At the bare minimum, you will want to have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) that protects the most critical pieces of your infrastructure. This includes servers, firewalls, routers, and backup storage devices. This would allow for normal shutdown procedures and prevent the system from being corrupted.
4. The recovery plan. Once you know how you are going to back up your data, you need to know how you will go about recovering it should an emergency occur. This should include a plan for assessing the damage, an estimate of recovery costs, contact information for insurance companies, etc.
5. The plan of action. In the event that there is some kind emergency, it is critical to have a clear plan of action outlining how you will get things up and running again. The key is to assign areas of responsibility and establish a chain of command in order to take action that is coordinated and effective. This part of the plan should also include a way to transition the management of your business operations back to normal.
In conclusion, a continuity plan is key to keeping your business up and running in the event of an emergency. A great continuity plan will save you time and money while also protecting your reputation.