Everything you want to know about Business Continuity

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Your continuity plan needs to include everything that could possibly attack the infrastructure of your business to allow for any event that might negatively impact your general operations. The goal is to prevent IT downtime that would naturally occur from such an attack. The attack can be deliberate or it may be accidental. Secondly, you must have a plan that preserves important data that is central to your business. The data might also include sensitive information that belongs to your clients and customers. Because your credibility is at stake, you must take the time to secure any data that could be used in a negative way and shut down any systems that are vulnerable.

Having a good contingency plan ensure you that downtime is limited to the minimum amount of time needed to get it back up and running. Protection of data is the other aspect of this.

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The general goal of a disaster or business continuity plan is to improve the level of responsiveness by employees in different situations that might interfere with the daily operations of your business. Like preparing for disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, or other events that are unpredictable, a disaster plan or business continuity plan requires all members to be on board to make it work efficiently.

Not only should a business have a disaster plan, but they should have the continuity plan outlined succinctly in a place where everyone has access to it. It should be required reading for all executives, employees, and other staff members that work within the facility where the business is operated. Additionally, you should have assigned specific jobs and responsibilities to staff members who will be responsible for various actions in the event of an emergency.

Initiate the project — During this stage you will outline the goal of your business continuity plan and decide who will do what and when in the event of an emergency. You will start the project by considering all the resources you have and how you will store data and take care of the little things that preserve critical data points and other important assets. Information-gathering phase — In this phase you will get information and data that applies to your situation planning for a possible emergency or disaster and do a business impact analysis and a risk assessment.

In other words, during this stage, you are looking at the worst case scenario and predicting how much downtime you might experience from a disaster such as a cyber-attack, storm outage, or loss of connection that may result in lost files or data. Planned development — In this stage you will plan how you are going to carry out your business continuity plan and how you will recover from a possible disaster by using all the resources you have available. Your plan development could be in the shape of a pyramid with the top being business continuity which is a state of full operations, risk management under that, and Information Technology recovery near the bottom.

You will utilize your server storage and network to serve as a backup strategy so that you will always have your data in the event of such an emergency situation. Plan testing maintenance and updating — In this stage, you will plan and test out some of the important aspects of your disaster plan.

You may want to back up and make some changes that will allow you to stay current and to make sure your plan is going to work on all levels. You need to rehearse an unplanned event and go through a drill much like you would have fire or tornado drill to make sure everything works as planned. If you find it lacking, you should evaluate the effectiveness of your plan and how it fits areas that need improving.

Getting back to Normal — Business as usual getting back to normal is the goal once you have gotten through the main parts of a disaster or downtime in your business. Disaster recovery is the part of your plan that allows for you to get back to a form of normalcy where you can again perform the tasks that run your business. This may take some time, depending on the type of disaster that occurred and the amount of damage or loss you experienced. If you had a building fire, for example, it will take a lot longer to get back into your building to conduct business than if you had a cyber-attack that could be stopped by your IT team.

We offer the following services to help you build your unique business continuity plan. IT Managed Services — Managed services is a strategy that we use to streamline your technical operations to save you money while keeping focused on the important aspects of your business operations.

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Managed Security Services — Our managed security services consider every type of threat to your business that might occur. We also utilize our resources to keep your software up-to-date at all times. This often deters online threats before they come.

NOC Support — This service is one of the best things we do to protect you from a disaster before it happens. Our team of certified professional IT experts, engineers, and threat assessment experts will monitor your issues and let you know of any possible threat. We offer routine troubleshooting through proactive network monitoring, as well as round-the-clock protection from outside cyber-attacks, and more. Managed Firewall Services — Our managed firewall services provides a way to deflect possible swarm attacks from outside virus or malware that can infiltrate and knock down your network, causing downtime and loss of revenue.

Below are the main aspects of a continuity plan that you may want to consider when you are planning. Analysis of Potential Threats — During your planning phases, it is critical that you consider what the potential threats may be and build your plan accordingly.

For example, in a natural disaster such as a flood or tornado, your physical space might be destroyed. Identify business functions and processes that are critical in your day-to-day operations. In the event of a crisis, which business process should remain functional to mitigate impact?

Everything You Want to Know about Business Continuity

All business functions are important, so determining the most important functions can be a challenge. Make a list of all business functions, both automated and manual. Identify the effects that the failure, delay, loss, or disruption of each function can result to. This will help you determine the prioritization of critical business functions. On-site computers contain critical client information and files. Damage or loss of such equipment can greatly impact client relations, business processes, and productivity.

Identify other equipment that you may want to prioritize in your business continuity plan such as servers, special equipment, and irreplaceable software. Your business continuity strategy will depend on the type and severity of the crisis, so your business continuity strategy should cover various threats and crisis situations as possible. Identify the risks and threats that your business can face. Prioritize them according to which events are likely to occur.

Are you located in an earthquake prone area? Are typhoons common in your region? Is the nature of your business predisposed to security attacks? Typhoons, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes may destroy both life and property.

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan to Stay Up and Running During a Crisis [Template]

Cyber terrorism and hacker attacks may destroy your IT infrastructure but not the hardware. Epidemics may affect your human resources. Power outages and blackouts may impact your productivity hours, but your resources will remain intact. Protect your investments with a business continuity plan that covers any and all events. Keep an updated list of the nearest fire station, hospital, police station, rescue organizations, and government entities that you may need to contact in various emergency situations and disseminate it to all departments and offices.

But since the whole company needs to be involved in business continuity, the disaster recovery team should include first level leaders all the way to the top management. These people are the first responders to the scene in the event of disastrous situations. Clearly assign roles and responsibilities to members of your disaster recovery team. Identify their knowledge, skills, and expertise to determine which role to assign to them.

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For instance, one or two of your team leaders may have a medical or nursing background. You can then assign them to the first aid team. In the event of IT disasters, IT personnel can be your first respondents. After identifying the various disastrous scenarios that your company can face, educate employees about what they can and should do in these situations.

Some companies conduct fire and earthquake drills to orient all personnel and employees about what to do during these circumstances. Drills can be as simple as showing your employees how to shut down their computers and systems if a blackout or power failure occurs to prevent software and hardware damage. Make sure your employees are educated and oriented about what to do to avoid panic. Your business has accumulated countless amounts of sensitive and critical data that you need to protect and secure at all times.

Cloud data storage is especially useful for unforeseen crises that affect your physical workplace or business location.