Know the Objective of a Business Continuity Plan (it’s crucial)

by Oct 3, 2016Business Continuity

Do you know the objective of business a continuity plan?

When disaster strikes, people within your organization must know what to do. Their quick responses will directly affect the financial impact of the disaster on your company. There are a series of critical activities that should occur first to safeguard your company’s data. These activities should occur in sequence, but this can only happen if you’ve considered the objective of a business continuity plan. Then, you should write the plan in detail and distribute it to everyone who will have a role to play.

The Basics

The purpose of a business continuity plan (BCP) is simple. It details how an organization will keep running when core functions go down entirely or get damaged. The cause might be a power outage or a cyber threat. Many disasters are possible to plan for, and there are others that you couldn’t anticipate. When your people don’t know what to do, the consequences are devastating. They might even put you out of business — a risk you can’t afford to take!

Focusing on IT Personnel

The people who must understand the objective of your BCP the best are your IT personnel. They will ensure that backup systems take over when core IT systems fail. They will verify that backup solutions effectively protect your data. There is also a concern that all consumer data and other sensitive data that your company houses and maintains are not compromised due to human error.

Defining Time-Sensitive Activities

One way to define your BCP’s objective is to focus on the “time-sensitive” factor. This is where you list all systems that might be affected by a particular event and what could be done to protect those systems. For example, all servers housed in a particular location might need a backup source of power. If that is not available, then an IT person might switch the most important systems to backup servers in another location. In this example, one set of servers will perform core business activities when another set of servers fails. The task of switching information systems over to a backup source is a procedure that an employee must receive training in how to perform and a matrix for when that task is required.

Considering Available Resources

When your company sets out to write the components of a BCP, it could become evident that you don’t have the right resources to carry out the time-sensitive activities. An analysis of available resources might reveal that IT personnel need more training or skills to perform their responsibilities. Another possibility is that your company doesn’t own enough servers to take over when its core servers fail. You might consider purchasing more servers or other cloud-based solutions to truly back up all data and provide for business continuity.

Avoiding Disaster

In a nutshell, your company cannot continue the most essential business operations without a plan. Damaged computer systems do not fix themselves. Other systems won’t take over when those primary systems fail. Write a business continuity plan with a clear objective. Give personnel adequate training so they will feel qualified to perform their duties under the plan. This level of detailed planning may require creating decision trees. Employees may be on-call to report to work remotely or in a physical location for certain disasters. You can also designate personnel who will remain on-site when a disaster is expected to occur.

Preventing Unnecessary Expenses

It’s important to maintain business operations without extra costs resulting from a lack of prevention. Many tasks that your IT people might need to take are avoidable if you’ve already invested in BCP solutions, always with the goal of securing business data.

We know the objective of a business continuity plan and we know how to help you minimize the damage from disasters that compromise IT systems. For more details on continuity planning and data backup and recovery, please contact us today.

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Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.

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