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What is a Business Continuity Plan?

4 min read


And why you need one

A business continuity plan is one of those things an organization typically doesn’t fully appreciate until it’s needed. While none of us can predict the future, there are clearly ongoing and persistent threats to business operations today. With contagious viruses, ransomware attacks, and natural disasters consistently making news, it’s become clear that businesses need to plan for the unexpected. And the stakes are high. According to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster. On top of that, another 25% fail within one year. A business continuity plan is an organization’s best tool for surviving disruption.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is an organization-wide strategy establishing procedures and policies to maintain a business’s critical operations and keep it running during an unexpected disruption or disaster.

A business continuity plan has a wider scope than a disaster recovery plan, both of which are important for any business to have. A disaster recovery plan primarily focuses on the restoration of data and the IT infrastructure following a disaster. Whereas a business continuity plan includes contingencies for vendors, assets, processes, operations, human resources, and every other aspect of a business.

The business continuity plan contains a detailed outline and guide for people to follow during an emergency. It includes a checklist and contact information for key personnel and resources.

Five reasons business continuity planning important

  1. Be Prepared for the Unexpected. It’s unrealistic for a business to expect its employees to know the best way to handle a crisis. Leaving each person to respond in his or her own way creates additional confusion in an already chaotic situation. A business continuity plan will help document procedures well in advance of an emergency and allow time for employee training, so employees can make smart decisions without panicking.
  2. Preserve Revenue and Reputation. The time spent developing and maintaining a business continuity plan is an investment back into your company. A comprehensive business continuity plan helps a business bounce back and continue processes as usual. Your fixed costs will continue after an event, whether your business is open or not. The faster a business can return to “business as usual,” the more likely you’ll be to fully recover your revenue streams and company reputation after an unanticipated event.
  3. Protect What Insurance Doesn’t. A common misconception is that businesses do not need a business continuity plan if they have insurance. The reality is that businesses can’t rely on insurance alone. While business assets and equipment may be insured, company data isn’t. The increasing number of cyber-attacks makes data safety and recovery planning more crucial than ever as many insurers do not cover data losses related to breaches, hacks, server failures, and backup losses. A business continuity plan can help organizations effectively manage and store their data to reduce downtime from a cyber breach or data loss.
  4. Keep Things Running. Sustaining business operations during and after a disaster is essential. Business continuity planning makes this possible by creating an outline of actions to keep operations active. Don’t let an unprecedented event set your business back, especially when it comes to the production of goods or services. Establishing a technology infrastructure to support remote work if a physical structure is inaccessible is just one example.
  5. Maintain Compliance. Having a business continuity plan might also be a requirement for legal or compliance reasons. Especially in an era of increased oversight and regulation, it’s important to understand which regulations might apply to your industry.
What are the key components of a business continuity plan?

Although every business interruption is unique, the blueprint of a business continuity plan is focused on establishing resiliency, recovery, and contingency. Here are the essential elements of a business continuity plan.

  • Team Structure. It’s necessary to establish a clear decision-making hierarchy for a successful business continuity plan. A business continuity team should cover all areas of the company, including IT, human resources, executive leadership, finance, communications, and operations. Then create support teams to handle related functions like business readiness, facility preparation, communication, and emergency response. It’s also important to identify a substitute, or a second stakeholder, for every key role in case a primary stakeholder is not available during the disaster.
  • The Plan. Identifying potential disruptions is one of the most crucial elements. Proper business continuity planning requires different levels of response. Not everything is mission-critical, so it’s important to establish what is vital to keep the company running, along with what could come back online later. Along with the prioritization of business operations, the plan should establish who will perform them and how to reallocate work if necessary. The plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in locations, priorities, and operations.
  • Testing. A business continuity plan must be tested against challenging and credible scenarios. The business continuity planning team should conduct comprehensive emergency simulations, and tabletop exercises are a great way to do that. During a tabletop exercise, the team gathers to discuss a simulated emergency scenario. Then they record and analyze the results to continually improve the plan.
  • Crisis Communication. A proper business continuity plan should include a solid communication strategy. This includes establishing emergency notification procedures and ways for employees to get credible information about the disaster. In addition to employees, contact information should be identified for executive leadership, media resources, vendors, contractors, and clients. Having some communication scripts and templates in place can also save time in an emergency.
Business continuity support from Locknet Managed IT

Data protection is just one aspect of any business continuity plan, but it’s an essential one. It’s not an overstatement to say that without your data, you have no business. Be prepared and protect your business’s data from the unexpected disruptions of a ransomware attack, hardware failure, or building disaster. Regular backups are important, but they have no value if you cannot also restore quickly and easily after a disaster.

Locknet®, an EO Johnson Company, provides managed IT services including Disaster Recover as a Service (DRaaS). Reinforce® Disaster Recovery as a Service provides fully managed data backup, retention, disaster prevention, and recovery.

Locknet’s Reinforce® DRaaS includes:

  • Hardware and software backup
  • Local and cloud backup and storage
  • Application-level testing, backup recovery testing, and web-based test restores
  • Redundant, nightly replication to the cloud
  • Local and remote restore services
  • Full system failover in the cloud in the event of a disaster
  • Ransomware detection
  • Backup log monitoring and reporting
  • Automated Disaster Recovery Compliance Reports
  • 24/7/365 support center
  • Additional Microsoft Azure Cloud backup available

As a Managed IT company, we work tirelessly to shore up protection for our clients so their business is shielded from IT emergencies that would disrupt operations. Contact the team at Locknet Managed IT to protect your organization against unexpected business interruptions and data loss.



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