A business continuity plan does more than just ensure that your business can weather a disaster. It’s more than a reactive outline for dealing with unexpected problems, too. It’s a thorough, carefully prepared document that allows your company to identify risks, minimize them, and continue operating during one of the many different scenarios you’ve outlined. Whether it’s a fire, the sudden loss of an executive leader, or loss of data to a phishing scam, a business continuity plan will help your company move forward in a number of ways. Here’s what one of these plans actually does.
You Learn What’s Important
A business continuity plan does more than just look at potential risks or include an IT security audit. It also includes a list of all of your resources and your company assets. By creating a list of those assets and prioritizing them, you can gain insight as to what’s truly important for your company. You’ll be able to recognize what data needs to be heavily protected and regularly backed up. You’ll also know where those backups are stored and how often they are done. This analysis of your company’s assets may have an immediate effect on your cyber protection, allowing you to reduce or eliminate some risks now.
Do You Know What an Hour of Downtime Costs Your Business?
If your business doesn’t have a continuity plan and a disaster of any sort occurs, you may have to shut down operations for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Even a single hour of downtime can be incredibly costly. Your business may never be able to fully recover if you have to shut down for more than a few days.
A business continuity plan allows you to keep downtime at a minimum. The scenarios you outline will include a list of the areas of the company that are affected. While you may have to shut down those areas, you may be able to continue some operations as normal. Since you will already have a plan in place to deal with the disaster, your team will be able to immediately begin the recovery process.
You Know Who to Contact
Another vital part of a business continuity plan is the list of who is responsible for what tasks and who needs what information. Without this plan, you may find that no one really knows who should be in charge of working to re-establish your network security and other business functions. One person may end up taking on too much, while others who have the skills to handle certain tasks have very little responsibility. Your business continuity plan is the place to think through responsibilities and build the appropriate communication channels ahead of a disaster.
It also gives you a place to plan out how to discuss these disasters with your customers, your business partners, and the world-at-large. Cyber incidents can destroy a company’s reputation, so you want to make certain that any information about such an incident comes from you, not from rumors or even your business partners. You need to control the narrative and having a business continuity plan allows you to do that.