5 Running a business is a challenging task. Can your SMB handle an unexpected situation?
Entrepreneur Magazine reports 20% of SMBs fail within their first twelve months of opening doors. And another 50% do not make it past a five-year mark.
Cash flow problems or leadership challenges aside, as a Managed IT Services and Intelligent Business Continuity (New Jersey provider) we’d like to focus on continuity with your company and client data and IT infrastructure in mind. With cybercrime (such as Ransomware) continuing to skyrocket, it’s only a matter of WHEN you may need to kick into Business Continuity mode. As the saying goes – “When fail to plan, you plan to fail!”
Failure to plan for business continuity proves to be extremely costly. IBM shared the statistics on infrastructure failures cost – an average of $100,000 per hour are being lost by entities without a continuance strategy in place. A good plan mitigates these costs by minimizing the effects of these failures on the business.
One of the major key factors for business – or any organization – continuance is an ability to deal with the unexpected breach of network and loss of data, and Business Continuity Plan is a must-have business lifeline.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN?
Business Continuity Plan (BC Plan) is an action protocol for implementing pre-defined strategies for a response in case of emergency, such as a natural disaster, hardware or software failure, a human error or case of sabotage. More often than not businesses of all kinds are victims of cybercrime.
A Business Continuity Plan acts as a backup plan and assures you know exactly what actions you must take when the worst happens, with the goal of ensuring the high availability of required resource for continuous operation and disaster recovery for your organization.
BUILD A BC PLAN IN 5 STEPS
A good, comprehensive BC Plan should consider every aspect of your SMB, from your technology, including your IT Managed Services provider s to what happens with employees and your key assets. It should also contain a list of protocols that define how you respond in the event of emergency situation, depending on its nature – flood, fire, systems failure or data breach, etc.
At any time, if you feel you need help with your IT service and Business Continuity Planning, let’s plan to talk!
Step #1 – Identify Potential Hazards and Their Probability
Start by creating a list of every possible risk that your business may face. This list should include risks related to all of the following areas:
- Your Industry (some industries are highly targeted by cybercriminals)
- Your Geographical Location (is your place of business located in flood or other natural disaster-prone area?)
- Employees (are your employees all properly trained on preventing cyber-risk?)
- Business Infrastructure (are your network and systems up-to-date?)
Think of other factors that may impact your business. Prioritize the items on your list so you know what focus on first when creating disaster recovery protocols.
Step #2 – Identify Critical Functions And Their Impact During Failure
Make a list of the mission-critical functions your SMB requires to operate and service your customer base. Examine how each potential hazard could impact each function and create a recovery protocol for that function.
Repeat this process for each of your business mission-critical function. Always identify the level of potential risk and have a protocol in place to take action toward recovery in case of an incident.
This protocol must include creating backups of data your business depends on, enabling your staff to operate remotely, at a secondary location, with BYOD devices or a backup hardware stock.
Step #3 – Define Emergency Roles
Your team is the key to an response to a hazard, and you rely on them to put disaster recovery plans in place. Prepare and train your employees how to respond in case of various emergencies.
(So, be nice to your employees, bring them donuts and…) Spend time going over the critical functions and delegating BC Plan roles to key team members for each function.
If it is not going to be you, designate an emergency coordinator and what they will need to know, do, and have access to during an emergency. Make sure all of your employees know who emergency coordinator is.
Check if any specific licenses are required for emergency response in your area and industry
Your plan must account for a potential reallocation or a quick switch to a remote workforce.The main goal of step 3 is to ensure every team member knows what do when disaster occurs.
Step #4 – Document Your BC Plan And Make It Easily Accessible
Do not leave the BC Plan to yourself or your disaster coordinator only. You must document and make your Business Continuity plan easily accessible for every member of your staff to follow if and when it is required. To reduce the risk of the plan being misplaced, inaccessible, or damaged in the event of a disaster, store the BC Plan in a secure off-site or a secure Cloud location and provide a way to access it by every employee.
Step #5 – Test The BC Plan Regularly
It is definitely not “set it and forget it” situation. Cybercrime evolves fast, and so are requirements and conditions for your data use and storage, that is why you must revisit your BC Plan often, to ensure that it is consistent with the potential hazards and risks and viability of the business at any given time.
You should regularly test the BC Plan for gaps, especially when there are new developments in your IT, or a significant change occurs in your industry.
Make sure your emergency coordinator revisits the BC Plan on a regular basis, even without significant shifts in technology or industry: we recommend at least twice a year.
PROTECT YOUR SMB
Your run your operations, inspire your teams, and build relationship with clients. You must also focus on protecting your business so that your staff is always able to perform at their best and continue to deliver the product or service your clients.
A BC PLAN allows you to do just that, and places you in a better position to lead your team through any crisis your business may face.
We understand small and medium-sized businesses may have limited resources and may need help with building a Business Continuity plan. We’d like to help – schedule a 15-minute consultation with us today.