What if your business’ response to COVID-19 was practically seamless? Could you have easily adapted to a new reality where each of your employees work from the relative safety of their home? Could you have avoided the mad scramble for extra laptops, a new unified communications software, or hoping your network infrastructure would support all the new remote connections? This was the reality for thousands of businesses across America who were prepared for COVID-19. But how were they prepped for a pandemic that many did not see coming? That’s the desired outcome of business continuity planning.
The process of business continuity is planning for how your business will adapt to disruptions. Were these businesses prepared specifically for COVID-19? Of course not, but they were prepared for something and as the situation with COVID-19 has shown, something will happen. This has been an extraordinary event, but only in the scope of its impact. At any given time, businesses across the country are managing disruptions, it is just unusual for them to all be impacted simultaneously. The best of them recover quickly and never feel significant pain from the disruption. So many more businesses are unprepared and suffer tremendous setback or even fail. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for business continuity planning and the marriage between IT and business strategies. Without strong planning and preparedness, the impact of this outbreak has been greater than necessary.
There will be business after COVID-19. There will be a next something. It will most likely not be a pandemic, but your business will face disruption. How you approach and integrate technology will be a critical factor in determining your business’ resiliency. Preventing losses of business productivity, protecting your data, and preserving customer relationships are the main goals in times of disruption. As with most crisis events, the work to survive and maybe even thrive, must be completed before the event. Business continuity planning is the mechanism for addressing these situations.
What should your business continuity plan contain? At minimum, you should define critical systems and resources, assignment of roles, and clear lines of communication. A time of crisis is not when you want to determine who should be doing what and how to share information. Understanding which systems are most critical to your business will also help you to identify single points of failure and plan strategies to keep your business functioning in the event of a breakdown. Business continuity comes down to prevention, response, and recovery. Once you have a plan in place, testing is important to confirm the efficacy of the plan.
Business continuity planning has long been a well-known best practice of the IT community. Ensuring your business is protected requires foresight and commitment from both your business and IT leadership.
-Marc Gibson, CEO/Founder of DThree Technologies