The pandemic has proven just how important it is to have a plan

It perhaps has never been more important to have a business continuity plan. Many of us knew before the COVID-19 crisis that when it came to creating a rock-solid business strategy, a business continuity plan played a key role, but the pandemic has made its importance even clearer. More so, the likelihood of rolling lockdowns, supply shortages and other unexpected issues means we do not fully know the ripple effects of this pandemic. But what is the purpose of a business continuity plan, and how can it help you navigate COVID-19 or other disasters?

“The core thing about business continuity plans is developing resiliency in your organization, so should an incident occur, you have a plan in place to make your return to normal operations as fast as possible,” explains Gary Powell, Compliance Officer for Locknet Managed IT.

Coronavirus shows us a business continuity plan is essential

Employees need to know exactly how to execute a timely recovery

Without a plan in place, when disaster or disruption hits, like the COVID-19-related lockdowns, your staff won’t know their next steps. Even your highest performing employees need direction, particularly when the stakes are so high. With the spread of coronavirus and social isolation the norm, countless businesses had to pivot practically overnight to working from home. Many were scrambling without a plan or clear direction. By developing a business continuity plan, you can rest assured that your staff are all on the same page and the strategy can be put into place without delay.

You will gain full understanding of how your vendors are looking out for you

When it comes to business continuity, the solutions don’t stop with you. No doubt you have a network of vendors who support your business too—vendors who are dealing with many of the same issues that your business faces related to COVID-19. We've recently seen exactly what happens when there either isn't a plan, or one that’s insufficient for the challenges a business faces: supply shortages, shipping delays, and other business-busting issues.

“Our clients should be discussing what their vendors’ business continuity plan process is when performing their vendor management,” says Powell. “Or at least that we have a policy in place, so they have an idea about expected return to operations.”

You’ll have a clear picture of what insurance does, and does not cover

Some business leaders make the mistake of assuming insurance will cover them in the event of an emergency. But, insurance cannot be your full business continuity strategy—and many businesses are finding that insurance may not pick up the tab for COVID-19 related losses. While your insurance coverage is an essential aspect of your business continuity plan, your organization is likely to incur other damages that will not be covered. Only when you consult with your insurance company will you know what to expect.

You’ll mitigate risk from disaster and eliminate vulnerabilities

At its core, business continuity planning shores up your business in the event of disasters or service disruptions, such as COVID-19 lockdowns, that could impact operations. Without a plan in place, businesses become vulnerable to risk. So, the purpose of a business continuity plan is to manage that threat and ensure the enterprise can weather any storm—viral, or otherwise. Research shows that a quarter of businesses do not open again in the wake of an event, and it’s not always natural disasters that are to blame; sometimes the core issue can be a relatively minor disruption. Yet, studies show nearly half of small businesses don’t have a business continuity plan—frequently because they overestimate their level of preparedness.

Business continuity plans: an investment in your future

Once you have a business continuity plan in place, the work doesn’t stop there. “It should be something that’s regularly tested and reviewed. They should be scheduling regular business continuity tests and reviewing policies and procedures to make sure they’re still accurate and achievable,” says Powell, who notes that a review should take place at least annually.

It’s important to remember that investing time and energy into a developing a business continuity plan is essentially making an investment in your business. The bills don’t stop coming when disaster like a global pandemic strikes, so it’s up to you to put a plan in place that will ensure you reopen for business, and get back up to speed as quickly as possible. A swift return to operations, even in the midst of a new normal, can ensure your business rebounds from an event successfully.

Choosing an IT management company that has your back in the event of a disaster like COVID-19 is an essential component of shoring up your operations and ensuring business continuity. Contact us to learn more about what Locknet Managed IT can do for you.