After reading our past articles on What is Business Continuity Planning and Why it’s Essential or Essentials of a Successful Business Continuity Plan, you may be wondering, “How do I make sure what I’m creating actually works?” This article digs into the main four items that need to stay in focus as you implement it and move forward.
1. Regular Audits
The one constant in business is that things change, and your business continuity plan needs to accommodate for changes by undergoing regular audits. This ensures it’s always up-to-date and relevant. Just by their very nature, business continuity plans often aren’t used for years and they may be obsolete by the time an actual emergency occurs. Schedule someone (or a team, see #2 below) who understands the company’s processes and both the geographical and technological landscapes to comb through it at regular intervals.
2. Create and Update the Continuity Team
Establish not only a team for the initial setup of the business continuity project, but also its ongoing governance and maintenance. First, decide which role takes ownership of implementing the business continuity in the event of an emergency. This can be anyone who’s process- and detail-driven. Then, get started assigning your team or committee members to make sure that plan always makes sense. An effective team is one made up of various perspectives and focuses because even though your continuity plan is largely technological by nature, it includes elements of logistics, operations, finance, marketing, and perhaps other departments. Break down the business continuity plan into smaller concentrates and decide who is responsible for each of them. And don’t forget to designate a backup for each person in the team.
3. Mock Drills and Dry Runs
Once your business continuity plan is ready, you need to verify that it really works (this is just as true for any updates to your original plan as it is for the original plan itself). A dry run will tell you if it’s really effective. Running through the processes will also highlight gaps that you can full before an actual emergency happens.
4. Don’t Forget the Debrief
Hopefully, you’ll never need your business continuity plan, but if you do, it’s vital that you don’t miss the debrief. The brief should focus on identifying any losses incurred from the disaster, the time it took to implement the plan, the key benefits for the company, and any room for improvement.
Get Assistance When Time and Resources Are Short
Regardless of your company’s size, business continuity planning is essential. But it’s most critical for small businesses because their resources are limited and those that they have are usually spread thin. Bigger companies often have their own staff (IT as well as non-IT) for business continuity planning, which makes the process more focused and accurate. For companies with fewer means, consider teaming up with a MSP who is experienced in disaster recovery planning, so you don’t cut corners now just to wind up regretting it later. Contact us today to see how we can guide you through the process while helping you strategically plan in a way that works for you.