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Business Continuity from IT Consultants

Most small businesses perform back-ups of data.

Gartner estimates that only 35% of small businesses have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

...Less than 5% have a business continuity plan

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) deals with keeping the company running while addressing a disaster. A BCP can entail keeping paper forms nearby for the sales department in case the order entry application becomes unavailable or a physical list of vital contacts for service accounts in case an outlook contact list is unavailble.

Misconceptions About Continuity Planning

Many business leaders hold misconceptions about continuity planning. In response to lack of knowledge and planning,

1. “We can get by with what we have”

Many business leaders do not make an accurate assessment of what is necessary to maintain operations in a disaster scenario, while hindsight is 20/20, it can be fatal in meeitng immediate needs without a preconseved plan.

2. “We can get by without an operating front office”

Accounts receivable, customer service and beyond must be running full-force at every type of company for business and service to continue. It takes an operating front office to keep clients happy.

3. “We have multiple locations and don’t need a business continuity plan”

An office for 10 people will not accommodate 40 employees easily. The strategy behind opening multiple offices is there for a reason and if one or more go down, it creates a bottleneck in the entire system.

4. “As an executive, we can solve problems as they happen”

If they haven't planned in advance to maintain their business, they don't take all aspects and results into reasonable consideration. During a crisis it is easy to move too fast and miss important steps along the way, such as identifying the best interests of employees, the need for basic technology and activating the most critical functions of the business. A well thought-out plan is the best solution for ensuring the fastest, smartest and most economical recovery.

5. “Data backup is plenty”

Leaders forget that they will need technology to access the backed-up information, the people to recover the data, as well as a place to use the technology. Having email server data stored on a back-up tape is not the same having an operational email server. What happens if the tape drive is destroyed along side the server?

6. “A disaster or significant interruption will never happen to us”

Technology is comprised of mechanical devices. All mechanical devices fail eventually. It isn't a question of 'if', it is a question of when.

7. “We don’t need to have a plan in place because we’re hundreds of miles from a hurricane-prone area”

A disaster is any type of event that can interrupt a business, including something as common as a power outage, fire or failed server to something as large as a hurricane, tornado or terrorism.

8. “Our insurance company will cover everything”

The insurance company will make sure you have the money to get up-and-running in weeks or months after the interruption occurrence, but what happens to your business in the meantime? Unless you’re up-and-running, your customers or clients will take their business elsewhere.

9. “We created a backup/recovery plan years ago. We’re fine”

Continuity planning is an evolving process. Part of the process is to test the current plan and to ensure it is up-to-date and executable. Without testing, there’s no assurance the plan will work.

10. “The planning process is time consuming and wasteful”

Continuity planning can be completed in segments, over time, with a group of people. There’s no set timeframe for the planning process and it can be as flexible as you need it to be.

 

Information Technology Management & Consulting