What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that explains how, in the case of an unplanned interruption in service, a business will continue operating. BCPs tend to be more extensive than a typical disaster recovery plan and contain instructions for all aspects of the business that could be affected, from human resources to business processes.
Usually, a plan will feature a checklist of equipment, data backups and alternative site locations. The plans also usually contain information regarding who the emergency responders are and which key personnel should be implementing each aspect of the plan. Finally, a BCP usually contains instructions for both a short-term and a longer-term outage.
One of the most important parts of a BCP is a disaster recovery plan for handling IT issues regarding networks, servers, computers and mobile devices. The aim of the plan should always be to re-establish office productivity and allow for the business to run as close to normal as possible, continuing to meet key business deadlines and requirements. Furthermore, it is important to include manual alternatives which can be implemented whilst computer systems are being restored.
Why a Business Continuity Plan is important
Not having a BCP can be disastrous, with the risk increasing exponentially with the size of the business. According to studies by the IDC team, the Fortune 1000 companies experience an average total loss of between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion per year. This is a lot of money to be losing, and these are companies with some of the most well planned BCPs around. On average, an hour of downtime can cost a company £75,000, with a critical application failure costing upwards of £500,000. Obviously, these statistics refer to larger companies, but even scaled down, downtime is likely to result in heavy losses if you do not have an effective BCP in place.
Although it is clear to see why BCPs are crucial for a modern business, creating a truly effective BCP is becoming harder and harder to do, as it becomes common practice to have integrated IT systems, which can create vulnerabilities across the network. The problem being, that if one aspect of the IT environment is targeted and crashes, the whole network then suffers a domino effect, lengthening downtime and increasing the amount of revenue and trust lost.
Using IT services for a Business Continuity Plan
There are a couple of ways companies might go about improving the resiliency of their IT network. The first is to seek assistance with the detection of potential disruptions that may occur and allowing a consultant to help with disaster recovery measures. There are even some services which can help detect and react to disturbances in the network.
However, many companies prefer a more automated approach. An automated response tends to focus more on protecting business-critical applications and data and rapidly recovering normal working practices after a cyber-attack. There are many ways of doing this, but one of the most popular is the use of cloud-based technology. By using cloud technology, a company can have an exact copy of all their important data and applications in the cloud. Should anything happen to their original data or applications, they can easily continue working in the cloud until systems are back up and running.
Although there are a few ways of doing things, the one thing everyone agrees on is that a business continuity plan is essential. Even if you are only a small business you still need some contingency plans in place for your IT systems. Any downtime results in some form of lost revenue, whether it be directly in the form of missing a deadline and therefore not getting paid, or indirectly via wages, when staff aren’t able to carry out their tasks. Furthermore, worse than anything, a prolonged downtime can cause clients to lose faith in your company, which is worse than any loss of revenue.
If you don’t have a business continuity plan for your IT services, then it’s time you did. Get in touch with the team here at AAG IT and we will be happy to discuss your needs. Every business is different, and we pride ourselves on taking the time to understand your unique position and offer a solution that is perfect for you.
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