It may seem difficult to understand business continuity planning - also known as a disaster recovery plan - but in reality, it just comes down to common sense. It's about planning how you're going to deal with the issues your business might face and setting up your business in a way that ensures robustness and constant improvement.
If you have missed some of our previous articles on the subject, check them out below:
1. Business impact analysis in a nutshell
2. Your business continuity plan: five must-have items
3. Business disaster management and the importance of planning
In South Africa's current business environment, most savvy businesses know that they need to build business continuity or disaster recovery plans.
We have entered a phase in our country where, because of a lack of planning and a lack of ongoing maintenance, a lot of our municipal and provincial infrastructure is under extreme pressure. In certain cases, our infrastructure can no longer be 100% relied upon. Think of power, water and telecoms; these are critical to the functioning of your business but are under serious threat of failure.
Can we agree that every business needs to formulate a disaster recovery plan? I prefer to call them business continuity plans, because the point is to avoid a business disaster no matter what is going on around you. That is why we all have to make these plans.
When creating a disaster recovery plan, there are five errors many companies make.
We have taken this opportunity to pinpoint and highlight errors that many businesses make. If you have some of these flaws in your disaster recovery plan, there's a good chance when push comes to shove it may fail.
1. Bad communication
Keep your plans clear and simple. Make sure that all of your staff understands the plans and try as much as possible to avoid difficult-to-understand jargon.
In the business continuity plans where certain staff members and suppliers are key to the plan, make sure that they are aware of their role in the plan and understand what they are required to do.
2. Staff support
Business continuity is about creating an environment of constant improvement in your business. In order to engender this spirit, one must get all staff to back the concept of improvement and disaster mitigation. Getting this buy-in means involving your staff in the process of defining your plans and possibly having a scheme to reward innovation and creativity by staff.
3. Lack of documentation
Your driver has an accident in your vehicle and you do not have a copy of his ID book or his driver's license. That is a disaster, as now you cannot claim from insurance. All your disaster recovery plans must be documented, preferably in a cloud-based business continuity system. All of your company's registration, VAT and employee records and statutory documents should be digitised and stored off-site. It will be too late when your building is flooded or has burnt down.
4. Not sticking to the basics
Keep it simple. Your disaster recovery plan will essentially relate to the following critical services your business needs to have running:
Loss of premises
Start by planning what you will need to do to recover and bypass the risks presented by these critical services, make your plans, communicate them to staff and keep off-site copies.
5. Choosing the wrong suppliers
If you are building a quality company that seeks to constantly improve how it runs itself, how it deals with customers and how it provides quality service, then don't choose suppliers who do not have the same ethos.
While in certain cases you may wish to get the cheapest supplier for a service, be sure that the quality they provide is adequate for your needs. This is the quality of products as well as the after-sales and technical service and support you receive.
A business continuity or disaster recovery plan is there to enable your business to recover and continue to function after events that would normally cripple a company have occurred. All businesses will face these kinds of events to varying degrees of seriousness.
IronTree wants to be the company of choice for your business continuity planning services and as such we are building a cloud-based business continuity service that will be offered at no charge to all of our existing and new customers.