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It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a daunting time here because it’s the beginning of the severe weather season. From hurricanes and tornadoes, to flooding caused by winter snow melts, these and other disasters will wreak havoc for businesses here and around the world.
Many companies embrace the use of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to reduce the potential fallout caused by a natural or manmade disaster. The problem is, for some, their BCP will fail when they need it.
The following are five common reasons why BCPs fail:
Testing and retesting is an essential part of anything related to IT. Many businesses take careful steps to implement an efficient BCP, but they never get around to testing it to ensure it will work 24/7. This could end up being a very costly mistake, and perhaps the end of their business.
It’s essential that you or your Managed Service Provider continually test your BCP under potential disaster scenarios. This should be done at a minimum of two to three times per year. You should also perform spot tests that involve all parties who require access to your IT system; this will detect potential holes in your BCP that must be addressed.
In order to be fully prepared, you’ll need a comprehensive, well thought out BCP and solutions so you’ll be ready for any possible disaster. BCPs fail because businesses aren’t prepared to use them or their plans weren’t completely thought out by professionals who know what elements should be included and aspects addressed. A one-size-fits-all solution used by some businesses won’t give them the comprehensive protection they need. In addition, many companies tend to focus on their systems alone and forget to plan for their employees’ needs. When a disaster occurs and problems arise, they blame it on the BPC, when in reality it’s because their plan wasn’t sound or provided comprehensive solutions from the start.
One of the most important keys to success is communication. If your continuity plan and actions expected are communicated effectively, and understood by all parties, there’s a much higher chance for success.
Take steps to ensure that you’re clearly communicating the BCP strategies, verbally or through email with all parties involved. Make sure everyone has on-demand access to it, and they’re clear about what their role is and how they’ll be expected to act when it’s put into action.
Also, take the necessary steps to ensure that all departments and representatives are prepared as well; all parties involved should understand every aspect of the BCP.
Many businesses have solid BCPs but they operate on false assumptions such as:
It’s guaranteed that at least one of the situations above will occur at some point in time. While you’re developing your plan, evaluate your assumptions and whether they’re accurate or not, consider all possible scenarios, and consider each scenario on its own.
How will your company deal with the Internet being down? How will your staff operate when they can’t make it into the office you backup location?
The world of IT and managed services is changing quickly. However, some businesses fail to acknowledge these changes and update their BCP accordingly. It’s a good idea to audit and update your plan regularly, at least once a year; and remember to take into account any current changes in IT capabilities or needs. This may include additional office locations, new staff, and new equipment. It’s important to ensure that you keep your plan up-to-date.
The best way to ensure that you’re prepared for a disaster is by working with an IT partner who already has experience in Business Continuity Planning. They can work alongside your company to create a plan that can be relied upon.