Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. No business owners likes to think of what may happen in the event critical processes and information are compromised, but developing a plan of action is the most proactive approach a company can take. Consider how your business might preserve core functions and integrity in the event of:
- Data loss or damage
- Flood or fire
- Downtime of critical technology systems
- Loss of key members
- Loss of access to software and accounts
- Hacking and data theft
Many companies tend to focus on the recovery stage, once the damage has been done. While coming back from a disaster is undoubtedly an important component in any business structure, at 4 Corner IT we are firm believers in active data protection and core process defense. That’s why we’ve put together 6 Simple Steps to Business Continuity in a Disaster. With your business is facing a cyber breach or a more tangible crisis, be sure to have a backup plan ready and waiting.
1. Prepare a Business Impact Analysis
Think of a business impact analysis, or BIA, as a fire drill for your company. A concise, predictive model simulates the likely impacts that may result from a potential loss scenario. Risk assessment may include any scenario from a direct loss of resources to failure of a major vendor or service. Items to consider when mapping a BIA include:
- Lost sales and income
- Delayed sales or income
- Increased expenses (e.g., overtime labor, outsourcing, expediting costs, etc.)
- Regulatory fines
- Contractual penalties or loss of contractual bonuses
- Customer dissatisfaction or defection
- Delay of new business plans
Determining the financial and global impacts of each gives businesses direction when it comes to investing in recovery and mitigation.
2. Rate Your Readiness
Look for the weak links in your company chain. Grading your performance is never fun, but a thorough audit allows us to identify vulnerabilities before they become threats. Give your large or small business a health check by evaluating firewalls, network security, corporate protocol for sensitive information such as passwords and data, and overall readiness should a disaster strike. Assign a numerical grade to each item, with 1 being not at all prepared and 5 being fully ready to withstand a crisis.
3. Construct a Plan
Now it’s time to work out a plan. An effective disaster recovery plan should closely mirror the BIA you’ve prepared. For each scenario, include a triage approach to how your business will handle a crisis based on the severity and magnitude of the threat. A solid plan should include:
- Plan for hard assets (office equipment, electronics, furniture)
- Plan for digital assets (data, passwords, accounts and software)
- Backup check
- Detailed asset inventory
- Vendor communication and service restoration plan
Specific details of each can be aligned to your business’ needs and priorities.
4. It Takes a Team
Do your employees know what to do in the event of a disaster? Is there a clear chain of command to delegate tasks if key members of the team are suddenly absent? Will key processes be able to continue in the event of a delivery delay or supply shortage?
These are the kinds of questions effective leaders need to be asking their team. Disaster recovery and preparedness is a company wide effort. Communicate a consistent protocol to all departments and be sure each member of your team understands the company’s plan of action when it comes to preserving business continuity in the face of a crisis.
5. Evolve Alongside Your Growing Business
Because your company is constantly growing and evolving, be prepared to review, test, and update your disaster preparedness strategy. A dynamic plan should be reevaluated every six months to take into account changing processes and functions. Make a checklist and involve department managers in the auditing process so that everyone is on board with a proactive approach to loss prevention and recovery.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Even the most disaster savvy businesses rely on experts to fill the gaps in their plan. Trusting in knowledgeable professionals allows you and your staff to focus on your own expertise — the success of the company.
Our IT team is available whenever our New York business owners need us with active solutions to data recovery and disaster preparedness. From managed IT services to support and consulting, we take the stress out of protecting your company’s valuable digital assets.
Contact us today to start preparing for your company’s future.