5 EASY STEPS TO CREATING A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN
Every business needs to have a business continuity plan. But often, small businesses just haven’t gotten around to making one.
Just 30% of organizations have a fully documented disaster recovery strategy in place. This leaves them at major risk of devastating consequences should a natural disaster strike or if they suffer a ransomware attack.
Too many small businesses go under after a major data breach incident or other unexpected crisis, and it’s usually due to lack of a recovery plan.
Business continuity planning is simply being as prepared as possible for any impactful event and putting business solutions in place to keep your business as protected as possible.
SECURE YOUR BUSINESS WITH A PROTECTION & RECOVERY STRATEGY
Business continuity combines two key goals to keep your business protected from any event that could result in significant losses or close you down altogether.
- PREVENT THOSE CRISIS EVENTS THAT ARE PREVENTABLE
- HAVE A RECOVERY STRATEGY SHOULD A CRISIS EVENT OCCUR
Creating a business continuity plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Just take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be able to sleep much easier at night, knowing you’re protected.
STEP 1: WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
In the first step, you’ll be playing “worst case scenario,” and identifying anything that could negatively impact your business.
Think of both obvious things, like a flood, and less obvious, such as a disgruntled employee sending a malicious email to your customer contact list.
To come up with a plan to either prevent or recover from crisis incidents, you need to identify what they might be. You’ll also want to prioritize them, identifying the most harmful and those that are less impactful.
Some potential events include:
- NATURAL OR MANMADE DISASTERS THAT DESTROY YOUR OFFICE
- DATA BREACH OF CLIENT INFORMATION
- RANSOMWARE ATTACK
- VIRUS OR OTHER MALWARE ATTACK
- INSIDER THREAT
- PROPERTY THEFT
- PROLONGED LOSS OF POWER OR INTERNET
- INCLEMENT WEATHER (ICE STORM, ETC.)
- LOSS OF A KEY VENDOR
STEP 2: LIST PROTECTIVE MEASURES
Next, you want to identify protective measures you can take to help prevent those crisis events from happening, if possible.
For example, using security cameras to help prevent break-ins. For any incidents that are cybersecurity related, there are several safeguards you can put in place to help prevent that incident from happening. Including:
- ADDING A FIREWALL
- IMPLEMENTING MEASURES TO PREVENT PASSWORD THEFT
- USING CLOUD ACCESS SECURITY
- AUTOMATING UPDATES WITH MANAGED SERVICES
For each preventable item on your list of potential disasters, you want to lay out a mitigation plan.
STEP 3: LIST RECOVERY EFFORTS NEEDED
Not all incidents are preventable, so you want to have a recovery plan as well for all identified crisis incidents.
For example, one that businesses had to quickly figure out this year was how to stay in operation during a pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
Recovery efforts can include multiple activities designed to make your business resilient in the face of a crisis. Some of these may include:
- HAVING A RELIABLE DATA BACKUP AND RECOVERY APPLICATION
- SWITCHING FROM A LAND-LINE PHONE SYSTEM TO A VOIP SYSTEM, SO PHONES CAN BE ANSWERED FROM ANYWHERE
- ADDING A SECOND BACKUP ISP, SHOULD YOUR MAIN CARRIER HAVE A MAJOR OUTAGE
- ADDITION ADDITIONAL VENDORS, SO YOU’RE NOT ONLY RELYING ON ONE FOR YOUR RAW MATERIALS
- ENSURING EMPLOYEES KNOW THE ACTION PLAN IF A RANSOMWARE ATTACK OCCURS
STEP 4: COMPARE CURRENT SYSTEMS TO NEEDED SYSTEMS
Now, it’s time to compare the current protections you have in place to those you’ve identified in Steps 2 and 3. This will allow you to create a prioritized plan to put your business continuity strategy in place according to your timeline and budget.
For example, you may have identified that you need to have VoIP to be resilient for any event that keeps everyone from working at the office, and may have noted this as a “high” priority. In this case, it would be at the top of your list to implement as soon as possible.
You may also find that there are things you can cross off the list that are already in place, such as a backup and recovery system that you subscribed to a while ago.
STEP 5: DOCUMENT YOUR PLAN & TIMELINE YOUR IMPLEMENTATION
While you’re working your way through your implementation timeline for the items you need for protection and recovery, you also need to document your plan.
Document protective measures and policies that they may create. Such as, adding into your employee handbook that everyone must use MFA with all logins for credential security.
You’ll also want to map out step-by-step recovery strategies so your team can practice them and know exactly what to do if one of the identified crisis events occurs.
By the end of the process you’ll have a strategic business continuity plan that’s well documented and has your business ready for anything.
GET HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS CONTINUITY STRATEGY
Unbound Digital can help your Johnson City, Tennessee business put the safeguards in place to protect your company from disasters and ensure you’re resilient in the face of unexpected events.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.