Even the best-run business with the most on-point management and top-notch employees can get sidelined by the unexpected. Power outages, natural disasters, supply chain hiccups, and the departure of key employees are all situations chance may throw at your company. That’s why business continuity and disaster planning is so important to businesses large and small.

Why Do I Need a Business Continuity Plan?

How many days can your business be closed and remain viable? Many business owners simply cannot afford a prolonged shutdown of operations. Unexpected events, such as severe weather events or supply chain disruptions, can cause businesses to be unable to fulfill their obligation to clients, resulting in a chain reaction of lost business and negative publicity.

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans help business owners deal with the unexpected, allowing them to quickly return to partial or full operation after an event.

Four Steps for Effective Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning takes time and great attention to detail. Here are four basic steps to creating an effective plan.

  • Identify potential threats or risks – Is your business located in an area prone to flooding? Is it dependent on a fleet of vehicles that could be damaged or break down? What happens if there’s a service disruption in its Internet access? Your plan should examine likely (and a few unlikely) scenarios that could result in an interruption of your business.
  • Perform a business impact analysis – So, what does happen if your business is unable to get needed supplies from Peru or if the Internet goes down for a day? Your planning process should assess the potential impact negative events can have on your business. It should also determine what people, goods, and services are needed to restore critical operations.
  • Develop mitigation strategies – Find ways to limit the impact of negative events on your business. Develop alternative suppliers for needed goods. Discover options for outsourcing services should your facilities be rendered unable to perform needed work. Have a plan for temporary re-location of mission critical people and equipment. Also, find preventive measures, such as having IT backups and adequate fire suppression equipment in your facility.
  • Test your plans – Engage in exercises intended to test how effective your mitigation efforts would be in a real situation. Experts recommend that businesses test their disaster recovery and business continuity plans at least once per year. Also, be sure to train your personnel concerning their roles in your disaster planning process.

With good business continuity and disaster recovery planning, business owners can rest easier knowing that their companies can weather even the most adverse conditions and emerge on sound footing.

Datamark provides business continuity and disaster recovery planning services to businesses. Datamark’s BCP/DR plans help business clients quickly return to operation following failures resulting from inclement weather, IT problems, equipment malfunctions, and other disruptive events. Datamark has provided BCP/DR planning to the financial and banking, retail, manufacturing, utilities, transportation, and other industries, as well as to government entities. To learn more, call 1-800-477-1944.