Business Continuity planning is a critical step for any company. The process involves determining potential internal and external threats. This allows an organisation to proactively create processes designed to enable continued operations, and limit damage, in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Information technology should be a component of any Business Continuity plan. Should employees lose access to the internet or company data, a business can become inoperable for long periods of time. It is an unfortunate fact, that a disaster can cause a significant loss of revenue, and reputation, for any business. Many businesses who suffer unforeseen circumstances never return to an operational state. It is therefore important to plan ahead in order to reduce these risks.
It is therefore important to plan ahead to prevent the risk of the occurrence of such situations. The first step is to devise a comprehensive plan outlining the steps the company will take to reduce risks.
This should include:
- Backing up data to a commercial data centre
- Creation of a secondary workplace for employees to work from
- Having IT consultants available to assist with the recovery process
- Remote access available to employees
- Ensure company data on laptops is backed up
The most critical of these steps is data backup. If a company fails to back up data, and unforseen circumstance such as: fire, theft, or computer viruses occur, a company’s data disappears. Recovering from this situation then forces business operations to stop. Employees are unable to work, customers are unable to pay you, and intellectual knowledge is lost. Business Continuity planning should both outline the methods of data backup that an organisation will take, in addition to a detailed timeline for data restoration. This should include a recovery time objective, determined by the length of time the business believes that operations can continue without critical data.