Disasters come in many forms and we’ve seen our fair share of them—from hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes to vandalism, ransomware attacks and building fires. Disaster-related downtime presents a serious threat to small and mid-sized businesses. Companies with fewer than 1,000 employees typically lack the resources necessary for recovery. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, one-fourth of the businesses that close due to a disaster never reopen.
A business continuity plan can reduce disaster-associated risks and position your business to continue operation even after a disaster strikes.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity is a set of processes and procedures a company puts in place to allow them to work through a disaster. Business continuity focuses on a company’s ability to continue operations and quickly return to a fully operational state, during or following a disaster.
Downtime can be expensive, costing your company time and money. Business continuity planning should consider the competitive nature of business and be designed to prevent your company from experiencing significant amounts of downtime. A good business continuity plan protects your company’s ability to make money by protecting your data, employees and public image.
What should I include in my business continuity plan?
Business continuity plans define what a disaster is and who can declare one within your organization. They also specify where and how employees will work during a disaster. Your business continuity plan should be comprehensive and should consider all the essential functions of your business.
You should follow these steps when creating a business continuity plan.
- Identify the departments and functions that must remain operating for business to continue.
- Determine the maximum amount of downtime each department can endure.
- Develop and outline procedures to maintain operations while your normal environment is inaccessible or being restored.
Additionally, your business continuity plan should address how you will communicate with employees, clients and other stakeholders during a disaster. There are several tools you can use to support communication within and between these groups in an emergency.
- Email — an online exchange service such as Office 365 can make email and other essential business documents accessible to employees from anywhere.
- Instant messaging — cloud-based messaging services such as Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and Slack allow users to collaborate, message and call each other.
- Text messaging — SMS messaging services such as txtsignal and Skycore can make it quick and easy to check on employees or provide them with important information during a disaster.
Your business continuity plan should also include a detailed file that compiles critical information such as insurance policies, financial documents and other vital records, as well as contact information for employees, vendors and key clients. Physical and electronic copies of this file should be stored in several secure locations—including a readily accessible offsite location if possible.
At Aldridge, our team of IT professionals can provide your business with the resources it needs to reach its potential. We specialize in service and support, and can deliver a strategy that effectively manages your IT. Our approach relieves clients of the hassle of technology management so they can focus on running their business. Contact an Aldridge representative today to learn more about business continuity planning.