What would happen if your data was lost or you lost internet for the day? If a hurricane hit and your information was gone, would you be able to continue performing your everyday business tasks? If not, how long would it take to recover your business? These questions are overwhelming, but important to ask yourself when it comes to threats to your business and having a disaster recovery plan.
Whether you are the CEO or the CIO of your company, it is important to acknowledge the value of having an established business continuity plan. It is difficult to believe that something drastic enough to disrupt your everyday business activities could take place, but it is often when we assume things could never happen to us that they do.
According to the University of Texas, 87% of U.S. companies encounter computer system failures annually. Many of these failures last for over a day, which can significantly affect profit and customer relationship management (CRM). Also, it has been found that many businesses do not have a plan in place in case a disaster was to occur. That being said, there could be an even greater impact if disaster struck because many businesses depend on each other to operate efficiently and profitably. The potential domino effect that businesses would experience in the worst case scenario would be devastating.
On a lighter note, let's just say that your email server was down for a day for whatever the reason may be. You might say, "But we could use the phone." That is true, but consider how heavily businesses depend on databases, and rightfully so. Using them is easier and faster than going through a Rolodex of contacts, and they organize every piece of information regarding a single contact. You are going to want to make sure you have a plan in place and also seek help from IT professionals or an IT team in order to lessen the impact of disruption.
Assessing how vulnerable you are to being impacted by disaster or data loss is an important step in planning for business continuity. Here are a couple of questions that may make you think about how important a continuity plan is to your specific business:
-What activities are most important to your business?
-Can you survive without them or do you have an alternative?
-How much of your business' productivity depends on computers/databases/internet?
Chances are that you feel concerned if you have not already established a plan, which isn't surprising since most of America's businesses rely on computers. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are prepared in the case of disruption:
-Identify important roles in your company (who plays a crucial role in everyday business? If a certain person in your company was to no longer be there, would you have a backup?) Include solutions in your plan.
-Identify places for equipment rental and back-up supplies
-Implement off-site data backup or seek IT support/IT consulting
-Map out an alternate location (where would you move offices to temporarily if needed?)
-Have this plan set in stone
Additionally, you need to be sure every employee is informed of the plan, so it would be a good idea to conduct information sessions or send out newsletters regarding the business continuity plan.