It’s said that around 80% of businesses never recover from a major disaster.
Come earthquake, cyber attack, oil rig explosion, or manufacturing breakdown, does your business have the tools to rebound? No matter what field you’re in, you need to allocate budget and resources to business continuity planning.
Business continuity is more than just an outline. It’s an insurance policy on your future. If you don’t know where to start, here are 5 ways to invest in business continuity.
1. Buy, Update, and Evaluate Your Insurance Policies
We equate business continuity planning with an insurance policy. Having an actual insurance policy will also go a long way toward mitigating future disruptions. Although insurance policies have a monthly or yearly cost, your executive team should periodically evaluate your insurance policies and upgrade them.
Risk reduction will happen automatically when you plan for potential crises. However, most business don’t have the cash flow to pay for large, sudden disaster-related damages. For risks you can’t reduce - say acts of nature - your organization should have insurance.
2. Separate Business Continuity from Risk Management
Risk management is a well-established practice at many organizations. However, you could miss a step if you combine business continuity with risk management. While risk management identifies the causes of a disruption, business continuity focuses on lessening the impact. Risk management is concerned with immediate ROI as a determining factor in whether an investment is worth it.
Put another way, if the likelihood of an earthquake is slim, a risk management team might not invest in tools to deal with that disruption. A business continuity team, however, would plan for the earthquake despite the low probability of it happening. They might implement a unified communications solution for all personnel, for example. The ROI is not there in a strict financial sense, but the business is more resilient thanks to the emergency communications system. This resiliency may attract future business or partnerships, and save certain supply channels from ruin. That’s a different type of ROI.
3. Consider Both Business Assets and Business Value
Business continuity is not just about what it takes to get one building up and running, or one supply chain back to normal, after a crisis. Business continuity should be more holistic. A business continuity investment should consider how the organization creates value as a whole. By that standard, a business continuity investment might include an organization-wide drill or educational program, participation in a voluntary compliance program, or the implementation of cross-functional software that accounts for personnel during a disaster.
4. Hire a Third-Party to Strengthen Your Plans
Even if you have a good grasp on business continuity, your organization probably has blind spots. Working on the day-to-day operations makes it difficult to zoom out and understand crisis response from a high level.
Consider hiring a third party to manage and evaluate your business continuity framework. This may be an external organization that analyzes your assets, vulnerabilities, and best practices. They may focus on specific areas like emergency response, operations, finance and budget, crisis communications, or coordination with external agencies and media.
Whatever the case may be, these specialists are finely attuned to helping you avoid a myopic perspective on your business continuity. They could very well save you from costly mistakes. Having seen other similar organizations, they offer an understanding of the scope of your industry’s challenges.
5. Invest in Cloud-Based Technology Infrastructure
Technology grows more sophisticated every year, especially when it comes to threat response and data security. If your data is managed manually or restricted to one geographic location, consider migration to the cloud. The cloud enables the storage, transfer, and protection of data, independent of location.
If a communications tower goes down at your location, or if an internet network becomes insecure, your data is backed up and can be accessed from other places. Cloud-migration brings peace of mind to your IT operations, and can save data that might otherwise be lost. Cloud-based solutions include data backup, crisis communication platforms, and training and educational technology.