IT Pro Portal reports that nearly half of all British businesses do not have a comprehensive business continuity plan in place, which could mean that these companies take longer to recover should a disaster occur. While disasters are rare, they can and do happen here in the UK; just think back to the Holborn fire, which burned for 36 hours, Storm Abigail which affected more than 20,000 properties, and the Kennington floods which were a result of a burst water main. Disasters don’t even have to be as noteworthy as these examples, with even a broadband outage having potentially devastating effects.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to a business continuity plan; it all comes down to addressing the potential issues that could affect your business in particular. These issues would prevent your business from operating, creating difficulties in communications, access, manufacture, supply, or anything else. For businesses that rely upon a fast, reliable internet connection for daily operations, for example, this could include installing a leased line to protect against ADSL downtime, or a second leased line as a backup solution should one provider encounter problems. For a small office, this could include maintaining a safe, secure, off-site storage area for company data in case the premises is flooded.
Creating a Business Continuity Plan
A plan should be tailored to each individual business, and be largely determined by the most common risks facing businesses within a specific industry. However, many continuity plans include the following:
- ●Communications– From responding to customer enquiries to conversing with suppliers, communications are essential for business success. Businesses that rely heavily upon a solid connection should consider having a leased line installed which is typically more reliable than standard ADSL. A backup solution is also vital. ADSL can be a suitable backup solution, but many businesses prefer a second, cheap leased line for better service.
- ●Responsibilities– While we can reasonably prepare for a disaster, we don’t expect it, and should a disaster occur it is natural to feel confused and overwhelmed. That’s why many business continuity plans include responsibilities, providing each team with a specific task to concentrate on. Switching over to a backup leased line, for example, could be delegated to the IT team, and staff notifications to the HR team.
- ●Key Information– Businesses are advised to maintain up-to-date records in a safe and secure place away from the office in case of fire, theft, or flooding. Cloud storage and hosted data centres are often top choices. However, should the worst happen, it’s important to ensure that key people within the company have access to the necessary information required to access this information, such as usernames and passwords.
If you’re struggling to decide on what you need to include in your business continuity plan, it’s worth conducting a business impact analysis to look into some of the most common threats to your business, and the best ways to address these risks in a cost effective manner. This could include comparing prices for business services, like a leased line comparison, for example, to help you secure the best rates.