Running a business means having a lot of plans – business plans, marketing plans, growth plans – but what about a business continuity plan? Your business continuity plan includes details on what you do if something goes wrong at your business. This could range from natural disasters to cyberattacks to hardware failures. You want to be prepared for anything that could go wrong, which will save you time and money in the long run.
When it comes to your IT systems and data, having a solid business continuity plan helps you deal with issues when they arise and keeps your business on track. We know most people don’t think about their IT systems on a daily basis (except us) until it breaks down. And when that happens, what do you do?
What Happens When IT Systems Fail?
As a business owner, do you know what steps to take if your IT systems suddenly aren’t working the way they should?
Think about it:
- If your file server goes down and no one has access to company files, do you know what to do?
- Do you have a plan in place if one of your remote staff suddenly quits, and you need to retrieve your company equipment?
- How do you recover if someone on your team falls victim to a phishing scam and your company experiences a cyberattack?
You may be thinking, there’s such a small chance of any of this happening that you’ll just deal with it if it ever happens. You can absolutely take that chance. But while you’re dealing with it when it does happen, your business will be at a standstill. You may not have access to your company data, finances, files, email, and more.
Having a business continuity plan in place means you’ll know who to call, what to do, and how long it will take to get back up and running. You’ll know exactly what to do, and exactly what to tell your employees and your customers / clients.
What does a business continuity plan include?
1. Inventory of equipment and IT systems – Understanding the full scope of your IT systems is a crucial step to creating a business continuity plan.
2. Threat analysis and risk assessment – Depending on what type of business you have, threats come from different directions. Knowing where those threats and risks may come from is necessary to create mitigation and recovery plans.
3. Mitigation activities and strategies – There are steps your business can take to reduce risk (like providing cybersecurity training for employees), which may be required to get insurance coverage.
4. Data backup and recovery plans – Having regular backups of your data can help get your business back up and running quickly if you lose access or data is accidentally deleted.
5. Alternate work locations – One silver lining of COVID was the way companies adapted to a fully remote workforce. In your continuity plan, define alternative work locations for your employees to ensure your customer is taken care of. For those requiring physical plant, this may be developing key relationships within your industry to set up shop temporarily.
6. Contact information for key personnel, suppliers, and IT teams (like us!) – Knowing who is in charge of your various IT systems and who to call will help expedite the process to get your business back on track after an issue.
Once you create your plan, put it to the test! Once a year, spend a day scenario planning. QuickBooks has stopped working and all company financial data is missing. You realize someone or something has deleted the ‘Finance’ folder from your server. Was this an accident or is my business in the middle of a cyberattack?
Most of the businesses we work with are not experts in IT, and that’s where we come in. We can help you create and implement a business IT continuity plan for in-house and remote teams. We can be your IT partner to ensure your systems stay up and running, and we’ll take care of your business if and when those systems go down.
Let’s chat about your IT needs!