For Those Wondering “What is Business Continuity?” Here’s What Business Continuity Is – and Isn’t
The difference between having a disaster recovery plan in place and having a working business continuity plan is a subject of some confusion for people. There is a difference between a disaster recovery plan (DR plan) and having sound business continuity planning (BCP Plan, or BCP plan) in place. That difference will be outlaid in this article.
Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity
Is your business truly prepared for disasters of all types? To reach a place of optimum disaster readiness, you need both a DR plan along with a viable business continuity plan in place to ensure that your business survival and recovery is fast and seamless.
Some key points your BCP plan should cover are:
- Access to Disaster Recovery (DR) plans
- Alerting key DR plan participants
- Safety – Ensuring safe evacuation or shelter
- Alternate business/work site
- All office systems – phone, computers, connectivity etc.
- Management decision makers – who and how
- Communications – internal and external
- Insurance, suppliers, customers – Do you have staff assigned to speak to each group?
Creating a Winning Business Continuity Plan
It takes dedicated, qualified business IT specialists to help you create a winning BCP plan. If your organisation doesn’t already have a BCP plan in place, you’ll want to put it at the top of your to-do list. If you feel you have a substandard BCP Plan, you’ll also want to mark it for re-evaluation and possible overhaul.
Here are the six main steps in creating a solid BCP Plan:
- Identify the scope of the plan.
- Identify your key business areas
- Identify critical functions
- Identify discrepancies between various business areas and functions.
- Determine acceptable downtime for each critical function.
- Create a master BCP Plan to maintain operations through any crisis.
You also need to have a business continuity checklist that includes equipment and supplies, the location of all data backup sites, where the BCP plan will be kept accessible, and who should guard it. You’ll also want to keep contact info for emergency responders, key personnel, and backup site service providers.
Remember that your disaster recovery plan is an integral part of the larger BCP plan, so you will want to make sure your IT department has planned accordingly for the two.
Testing Out Your BCP Plan
After you’ve drafted your BCP plan (with our help, of course), it must be rigorously tested so you’ll know it’ll be effective in case of disaster. Generally, most BCP plan testing consists of:
Table-top or conference room exercises. Team members go over a physical draft of the plan at a conference table and identify and repair any flaws in the plan.
Structured walk-through. Each team member individually goes over his or her part of the BCP plan in detail, IDing any faults and correcting any weaknesses.
Comprehensive disaster simulation testing. Performed annually, an environment is created that simulates an actual disaster which includes all equipment, supplies, and personnel that will play a part in the plan. The purpose of this step is to find out if your critical business functions can be carried out successfully in the event of an actual disaster.
Statistics on Small Business Disaster Recovery
- 75 percent of small businesses don’t have emergency operating plans.
- 40 to 60 percent of businesses NEVER return to doing business after a major disaster. (They didn’t have a proper continuity plan in place, no doubt.)
Let’s let all that sink in a bit, shall we?
What Is – and Is NOT – a Business Continuity Plan
Having data backup and a disaster recovery plan do NOT constitute a continuity plan, in and of themselves. Indeed, total disaster avoidance is incomplete without true business continuity planning in place.
Many businesses these days are getting by with only a disaster recovery plan, and are leaving out a full business continuity plan and the “total business survival assurance” that goes along with it. This is only going halfway in meeting your total continuity requirements BEFORE disaster strikes.
In helping our clients meet their business continuity planning needs, we take disaster recovery services to a higher level than most do, which keeps them not only open for business, but thriving, following a hurricane, flood, fire, power outage, or other unforeseen threat to a business’ future.
For us, business continuity management isn’t just about recovering data or disaster recovery itself – it’s having multiple IT systems and a workable post-disaster contingency plan up and running precisely when you need it.
THAT’S good Business Continuity Planning.
And, since we’ve aligned our business IT goals with our clients and fellow small business owners, we can all agree on what works – and, what doesn’t.
As we’re fond of informing our prospective customers, you can have multiple forms of data backup going, and have an IT company who can recover a hard drive or do a server backup in an ongoing way, but if a hurricane, fire, or flood were to hit your brick-and-mortar business – you don’t truly have what could be called a true business continuity policy in place.
The difference between a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan, then, involves some key strategic differences. And although they appear to be one and the same for many business owners, not knowing the difference – and failing to remedy that by having both elements of continuity in play – could be devastating.
Putting a Real Continuity Strategy into Play
Don’t wait another day while your business survival hangs in the balance – call a QCS Group disaster recovery and continuity pro – and begin setting the groundwork for a resilient business continuity plan today.
You need Brisbane IT specialists who understand how to plan for disaster and keep your critical systems functioning through any catastrophe, power outage, fire, flood, storm, hurricane, other contingency.
You need QCS Group to get you the business continuity plan in Brisbane you and your business truly deserve!
Our Business IT Consultants Can Get You Truly Prepared
QCS Group consists of IT consultants who are the best, brightest, and most able tech support specialists in Brisbane