Short term effects of a disruption to a business’s operations are obvious. They include having to pay workers for work hours where the equipment necessary for productive work is inoperative. Also, the billable service that could have been provided to clients during the downtime also amounts to lost money.
There are more long-term problems that can happen to a business after an emergency that renders it unexpectedly unable to function. An example is the damage to the business’s reputation, both to other businesses with which it partners, as well as with current or potential customers.
The Importance of a Business Continuity Plan
Any business continuity management includes preventative measures such as determining how much money to spend to reduce the risk of various types of disruptions. Disaster recovery is a sub-set of business continuity which deals specifically with what is done to regain the capacity for normal operations after an unforeseen disruption occurs.
The business continuity plan involves determining what product production and customer service processes will cause the most harm to the company if they cease. That way, when creating the checklist of what to do after a disaster occurs the responses that will ensure the continuation or quick recovery of these highest-value business operations can be prioritized.
One option to deal with a crisis is to make an agreement with another business such that the partner business will provide the resources necessary to keep the customers of the business experiencing crisis provided for while the crisis is dealt with. This will prevent a lapse in service which could cause clients to look elsewhere.
Simplicity is an important factor when it comes to resuming operations of the business. The continuity management plan should be detailed enough to cover all relevant contingencies, but at the same it must be simple enough that it won’t require a protracted amount of time to read and understand.
Being Able to Rely on Computers in an Emergency
When it comes to computer services, which are essential to all modern business organizations, one thing to consider when streamlining for disaster recovery is the availability of information that the business has in the “cloud.”
Having information in the “cloud” is a general term for using a service that allows a computer to store information in a non-local source. The advantage of this is that if an emergency happens at the place of business which forces workers to change location and computers, the information necessary to continue working from this alternative workstation will be available if it is able to be retrieved from the internet.
When researching what cloud-based service to use, businesses should consider how many locations that service operates from. For instance, if it only stores data in one physical location, it is possible that whatever disaster disrupted the business could also disrupt the functionality of the cloud provider.
In conclusion, many companies are tempted not to create a business continuity plan because they are focusing limited resources on day-to-day operations. However, when the potential costs associated with being shut down by an emergency are weighed against the costs of preparing to reduce the risk of suffering from a disaster and reducing the recovery time if a disaster is inescapable, businesses will find that it is worth the time and money to be prepared.