Welcome back to the second half of our two-part series on how to develop a business continuity plan for your small business. In part one we covered the difference between disaster recovery and continuity. The money you save by keeping your lights on, doors open, and customers continually served is vital to a small business in part two, we'll go over how you can build the right business continuity plan for your small business. The best part? You can build it right on top of your existing disaster recovery infrastructure.
Building a Small Business Continuity Plan
What should be included in your business continuity plan? Ideally, everything within reason. Calculate for power outages, network problems, internet failure, storms and earthquakes, and even something seemingly minor like water cut-off or the A/C breaking. All of these things can potentially cause you to shut down the office for a day and have to send everybody home.
For most modern companies, the most likely form of disaster you'll want to be able to ignore and keep working through is a data or network failure. If you're not prepared, this could be potentially disastrous. If your local network gets damaged, infected with malware, or simply experiences difficulty to fix an error, you could lose access to all your business documents and some applications.
Solution: Move everything to the cloud, including the configuration and database files you'll need to run your business applications. When all your documents and data are stored in a non-physical location (often monitored and cared for by another company), you can be absolutely certain that your staff will be able to perform the data and online aspects of their jobs from any computer or mobile device with internet access.
Building failure can come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. From the internet connection to the plumbing, anything that would stop your employees from successfully using the building to perform their work tasks is a serious problem. Rather than closing your doors, a business continuity plan can help you have prepared solutions that can keep you in business even if the building isn't cooperating
Solution: Temporary measures can be taken for certain problems like a backup generator in the event of a power outage and more extreme measures can be taken if the building is literally inhabitable during the problematic time. In general, it's a good idea to have two or three alternate locations you can move everybody to where you can work on laptops and mobile devices. For very small companies, one of these locations can even be the owner's home if necessary. Because you already moved all your important data onto the cloud, this is entirely possible.
Then there are instances like the recent hurricane onslaught or the wildfires in the north-west. Sometimes nature will completely swallow what was once your office building and you can be prepared for that, too! While it's hard to know how far is far enough or guarantee that your employees will all (or any) be available to work, you can set up a plan to meet up in a safe location, re-trench, and get back to work once again on mobile devices until a new office can be secured.
Developing a business continuity plan for your small business isn't just practical, it's one of the best decisions you could make this year. Protect your years of hard work, investments, and the dedication of your employees and make sure you know how to keep the doors open and the lights on even when circumstances turn against you.
For more information about network security, disaster recovery, and business continuity planning, contact us today!