Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan to Keep Your Business Running
Business disasters as we know them can happen to any corporate domain at any time & anywhere. So what do we do about it? Should we just let our business come to the road or we should have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in case of emergency so that you can think like a real soldier & fight back this catastrophe?
It is always better to be safe than sorry. And we know disasters could occur in the most unimaginable times and catch us all off guard. But to minimize the shock of it, we can always prepare a plan for such unexpected situations in advance. Anyone would agree that in such circumstances, it is always a wise thing to have a contingency plan.
In most common scenarios we always tend to give less importance to have a predicament plan. We always realize the essence of it only after the damage is already done. The whole situation can be described as a ‘war zone’ and so it is high time we predict, plan and prepare ourselves like a soldier for the consequences of a possible business disaster beforehand by keeping a plan ready for the survival & damage recovery of the business if ever any crisis condition demands it.
Kinds of Business Disasters That You Need Contingency Plan For
The main idea of comparing this whole situation with soldiers in their war zone was because, in any battlefield of business disaster, the business owners now need to think like a soldier and plan for their business continuity and disaster recovery. And the contingency plan that will be discussed today would be nothing less than a similar impression. It would be about how to stay alive in the battleground of business fighting back against disasters like a fighter. Something like how a brave soldier fights against the enemy keeping others around him alive & helping the injured recover so the other could continue.
As we all know disasters can occur anytime & anywhere. And if you are a business owner and you are hit by one of these disasters, if not prepared beforehand then it can cause unthinkable damages from which your business and the people involved with it can never recover. Your business continuity and disaster recovery plan should include how to keep improving business taking all the possible disasters into account. There are mainly two types of disasters, Natural Disasters & Human-caused Disasters that businesses need to stay alert and plan for.
Both of these disasters have a number of other different categories of disasters under them. Business owners would probably need to plan for a number of them in order to ensure their business continues to run and can minimize the loss solving business problems if there is ever a time any of these unfortunate events takes place. So the disasters for which businesses need to keep a continuity and recovery plan for include:
Steps for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
Business Continuity/Recovery Assessment Process
Before preparing any plan, you need to assess all possible occurrences of the situation first. Only then you will be able to put up a full-proof plan together for your business continuity and its recovery. Below is the check-list of various potential business condition assessment sectors. Based on which you can prepare and set the business survival and recovery strategy plan for the time of business disasters.
- The types of products or services that your business offers
- Expectations of the clients in terms of contracts/deadlines
- The hardware, software or other tools that work on the site
- The possible outcome when the business stays closed for a short or long period of time
Risk That Could Affect The Business
- Natural Disasters
- Man-made Disasters
P.S: The list of all possible disasters under these two type of disasters that could possibly affect a business are mentioned in the chart above.
- List the actions that are needed to be taken to handle the above mentions situations
- Develop a strategy to carry out those actions
- Person to be responsible for carrying out these actions
- Prepare a plan to test and ensure the effectiveness of these actions
Develop a Plan To Implement Your Strategy
- Prepare and distribute the plan to any employees involved in its implementation properly
- Make the team leads aware of their responsibilities
- At any given situations, make sure you have the setup ready to enable the team members to communicate with you no matter what
Plan Testing & Validation
- Test every plan that you make on a regular basis to ensure the validation & effectiveness of it.
- If requires run a test exercise as well if your plan involves any cooperation from your key vendors or suppliers. You may even want to validate your plan with their disaster recovery plan.
Be Ready to Change or Update Your Plan Anytime
- Be prepared to adapt to the latest updates of technology and plan accordingly with the changes that transpire in the business process
- Keep enough time to adjust to the changes in new technology in your business setup
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan for the Time of Business Fallout
Before going on any mission, soldiers are given all kinds of instructions. They make plans about how to approach the battle and face their enemy in the time of war breakout. The strategy of fighting and winning the war involves a number of pre-determined & advanced planning such as:
- War emergency response plan & soldier training
- Assign responsibilities to the soldiers with clear instructions
- Compile any valuable information or data you can get in war
- Communicating strategy to speak with the base camp
- Checklist the things you need in the time of emergency during war
- Strategy to keep other soldiers safe
- Protecting & securing the perimeter
- Keeping every detail of war on records
- Identify the critical condition of soldiers and call for backup
- Locate alternatives coverup spots and find supplies for the soldiers
- Protect information & data by sending the signal in military codes
Similar to all these contingency plans being taken into action by a soldier in the time of war, a business owner can also think like a soldier and develop to apply an intelligent strategical plan that could help their business continue to run managing to have total recovery in the time of business disasters. And below is how we can relate to the planning of soldiers in a mission above against an entrepreneur’s business strategies of overcoming the business collapses or fallout.
Continuity & Recovery Strategy to Follow for a Business
Emergency response plan & training employees
Set up an emergency response plan of what steps are needed to be taken in the time of crisis training the employees letting them know whom to notify at the time of the disaster quickly in order to minimize the property losses & preservation of lives.
Plan & assign responsibilities to employees
Write and provide a handout of the detailed plan to every employee in a simple and clear language. Assign responsibilities to each of them and practice the method of emergency response drills regularly at a scheduled time.
List out all essential contacts
Before a disaster hits your business, make sure to keep all the essential phone numbers, and addresses close to you to get in touch with all the key people later on. Your list of contacts should include emergency management agencies, important clients, vendors, suppliers, contractors, dealers, financial institutions, insurance representatives and insurance companies claiming agents etc.
Develop a convenient communication strategy
In order to mitigate the loss of your loyal customers, establish an effective communication process with customers making a plan and effort to communicate with the major clients via phone, emails or regular mails assuring them about returning back to business in full swing in a short time or you could simply let them know about your current business state.
Contemplate the things you need in an emergency
Keep the things ready that might be useful in the time of emergency like if you need backup power, then keep a backup source of it or have a backup communications system in case of connection failure.
Protect employees and customers
Try to analyze the possible impact that a disaster can cause to your employees. Plan for their job security & consider their chances of returning to work. Also, think about how your customer could return to your store/marketplace/office without any fear to enjoy your products or services again.
Assess physical assets
Make an assumption of the damages that a disaster can cause to your physical resources in advance. Assess the impacts on the facilities and physical assets. So that when a disaster hits you can have a backup facility ready for the team in quick time to continue with the business operation.
Identify damages of your business associates
Even if you somehow manage to overcome the disaster phase of business, your suppliers or other business allies might still be suffering a substantial loss and are probably being unable to recover from it due to their incompetency to deliver the goods and services that you need. So while you plan out a strategy & prompt action to be taken in the time of business disasters, you should also communicate with your third-party vendors or suppliers keeping them on their toes about their readiness of recovery plan. In this way, in the time of a global business disaster, both parties can stay prepared and recover together at the same time.
Disaster protection of your business setup
If you have a complete business set up within a building structure, then you should create a plan to integrate disaster protection for it as well as the structure inside it. Do the aftermath of the impact & consequences of it that would induce in the overall revenue period due to your business closing down for days, weeks, or several months.
Backup & duplicate all records
Safely keep all your files and important documents backed-up. Store all those essential records in any safe deposit box. And make sure you preserve and keep them up-to-date on a regular basis.
Discover critical activities of the business
It might not be possible on your part to completely shut down your business. So in such a situation, you should identify the critical business activities and resources needed to continue your business operation at a different location. If ever situation demands, you may even need to keep a plan ready to manage a remote team from home to continue office activities.
Locate reliable merchant & find alternative facilities
Look out for alternate facilities, material and supplies from reliable traders. Get into some kind of commitment with them beforehand. Make sure at least one of the contractors takes full responsibility & responds to fulfill their agreement towards your needs.
Secure computer system & IT backup
Get all your computerized data backed up through various cloud data storage company. Keep them up-to-date regularly uploading new data files via high-speed internet so that even if somehow it gets lost from your system when any disasters take place, your files and important documents still stay safe in your backup storage and you can get it back anytime.
Now you do not want to invest millions in your business and then suddenly close it all down due to some natural or human-caused disasters. So you need to have your company insured from a reliable insurance company. A good insurance policy that would ensure you enough financial coverage for your business in case of any unfortunate events. You may consider insuring your basic commercial belongings. This could include personal business property, additional property coverage, office building, business income, ordinance or law, and other extra expenses.
Related Article: How To Support Business & Communities During Global Epidemic
Think Ahead of Your Game Like a Soldier to Plan for Business Disasters
Over the last few months, the whole world is fighting to survive the economic crisis and win the war against one of the most deadly viruses, Covid-19. Many people have termed this pandemic as a ‘war zone’ for the survival of mankind. Along with the human race in its game of staying alive, businesses are doing the same.
Many businesses have shut down and many are barely surviving. And those who have survived this storm most likely had some survival plan to support them. Something to help continue their business process even in this disastrous time for the world of business. And since these dark days of the business world due to a sudden disaster is termed as a ‘war zone’ hence the thinking & the survival technique should be more like how a soldier plans their mission to win the war.
Moreover, half the battle can still be won when cloud-based business management solutions like WP ERP are implemented in a business. A comprehensive ERP solution like that not only enables your business workflow to continue smoothly but also makes all the recovery process at the time of business disaster easier than ever.
So hopefully the ideas shared about the business disaster and its recovery plan would help the responsible business owners out there to ‘weather the storm’ & steer pass these tough days in business as now you know how to plan and stay prepared for any kind of disasters that could possibly hit the business world just like a true soldier does it in their time fighting a battle.
So what’s your business continuity and disaster recovery plan to survive business disasters? Have you been planning or doing anything differently? Feel free to share your ideas or plan in the comments below.