To run a successful business, you’ll need more than a business plan. A business plan will get you funded and help you stay on track to reach your goals. However, a business continuity plan will help you get back on track when circumstances outside of your control unexpectedly interrupt operations.
If you don’t have a business continuity plan, you’ll find it difficult or impossible to recover from certain types of interruptions. If you haven’t created a continuity plan, here’s why you need one right now.
One disaster – manmade or natural – can destroy your business
All businesses are susceptible to destruction by the forces of nature, including online businesses. For instance, if the datacenter housing your web server is wiped out by a flood, your website will go offline until you can restore your data from a backup source.
If you don’t think your datacenter could possibly be subject to a flood, consider that creeks frequently overflow in heavy rain and flood nearby buildings. If you’re not prepared for disaster, the grim reality is that you probably won’t recover.
The collection of damage recovery stats published by Mahaffey tells a scary story. According to data gathered from a variety of sources:
- Each year, 20% of businesses experience a major disaster like a flood or fire. Around 80% of businesses affected by a major disaster won’t survive beyond one year.
- 75% of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan for their business, yet 96% of businesses with a plan in place fully recover their operations. That amounts to a mere 24% of small businesses recovering after a disaster simply because they had a plan in place.
If you want to be one of the few businesses that recover after a disaster, all you need is a plan.
Recovering from a data breach isn’t just about data
Whether your data gets stolen, encrypted with Ransomware, or deleted by malware, restoring your data is only part of the recovery process after a data breach. Even if your stolen data is encrypted and can’t be read, your customers will trust you less simply because your perimeter was easy to breach.
Simply having a backup of your data isn’t enough. You’ve got to be prepared to respond to a data breach that affects your reputation. The public will want to know what you’ve done to remedy the current situation and what you’re doing to secure customer data moving forward.
A continuity plan will require risk assessment
Creating a continuity plan requires risk assessment. You’ll need to analyze all possible threats to your business along with possible outcomes and consequences in order to create your plan. For example, what would you do if your website got hacked? What would you do if your company network got hacked or failed in a storm?
Risk assessment will put you in touch with the reality of certain threats you may not want to acknowledge. However, the threats you’re not prepared for are usually the threats that slip past your radar.
Your team members will know their roles ahead of time
The moment your business is adversely affected by a disaster is not the time for your team members to figure out who is going to handle what aspect of recovery. For a smooth recovery, you’ll need everyone’s full cooperation without direction; you won’t necessarily have time to brief your entire team at the last minute. Some situations will get worse the longer you wait to act.
Having a business continuity plan in place right now means that if your business is hit by a disaster tomorrow, your team will handle the situation calmly and smoothly under your direction.
Former employees can and will sabotage your business
Hopefully you never have to experience the wrath of a former employee who decides to sabotage your business. However, it’s a possibility.
Having a business continuity plan will give you and your team a plan of action in case a former employee sabotages your business. Ideally, it won’t get to that point if you have a system for backing up data and deactivating employee accounts for collaboration software when someone quits or is terminated. However, if a disgruntled employee manages to cause damage, a continuity plan will give you a calm, rational roadmap of action that will keep you calm and centered.
A business continuity plan is the best preparation
Think of being prepared as the best insurance policy you could have for your business. When you create a business continuity plan that includes a roadmap for recovering from various threats, you’ll be prepared no matter what happens.