Business continuity planning and disaster recovery are becoming critical in today’s modern era, where change and disruption have become the norm.
Every business, large or small, should prepare for potential disruptions by developing business continuity plans.
Effective business continuity planning help businesses…
- Minimize the negative impacts of disruptions and disasters
- Respond swiftly and decisively during emergencies
- Protect key business functions
- Restore lost functionality
Having the right business continuity plan can even mean the difference between success and failure.
But how do you design a business continuity plan that gets real results?
In this article, we’ll cover some tips and strategies that can help businesses get better results from their business continuity efforts.
Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery: 5 Tips for Success
Here are five actions to take when developing business continuity and disaster recovery plans:
1. Start by predicting the business impacts of disruptions
A business impact analysis assess and predicts the impacts that different types of disruptions would have on a business.
As business continuity professionals know, these analyses are crucial stages in the continuity planning process, since the information they provide will form the foundation of resilience strategies.
To be effective, a business impact analysis should…
- Cover multiple scenarios and potential disruptions
- Evaluate a range of variables that can impact business operations, including timing, duration, market conditions, organizational health, and other relevant factors
- Focus on how disruptions will impact an organization’s financial situation
- Establish recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, which will be used to develop solutions and strategies
Once the business impact analysis is complete, it will be possible to create continuity plans that are more targeted, relevant, and effective.
2. Create several plans for all foreseeable scenarios
There are many types of disruptions that can hinder an organization’s ability to operate, such as:
- Natural disasters
- Power outages
- Cyber attacks
- IT failures
- Supply chain disruptions
And, as the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated in 2020, even illnesses can interrupt day-to-day operations.
Naturally, though, not every disruption will require the same type of response.
Instead, different continuity strategies should be developed for different scenarios.
In some cases, this may mean implementing more than one plan in response to a disruption, such as:
- Emergency response plans
- Business continuity plans
- Disaster recovery plans
- IT recovery and restoration plans
It is important, in other words, to develop strategies that are most suitable and relevant for a given set of circumstances.
3. Design a comprehensive organizational resilience strategy
Organizational resilience takes a holistic approach to coping with business disruptions.
Business continuity plans play an important role in preventing, mitigating, and recovering from major disruptions, but there are other approaches to consider.
- Improving information security can prevent and mitigate the effects of cyber attacks, data breaches, and other IT-related disruptions
- Risk management can improve an organization’s ability to prevent, mitigate, and recover from a wide variety of other business-related risks, such as workplace accidents or strategic risks
- Human resources can help create a skilled workforce, improve the employee experience, and build a strong culture, which can all improve an organization’s ability to survive and thrive in the face of disruptive changes
When these strategies are combined with business continuity strategies, it will be much easier to operate effectively and remain profitable during difficult times.
4. Make big changes when necessary
Organizational change may be necessary to implement certain organizational resilience strategies.
Though change is not always easy, the benefits of change can be well worth the effort, especially if they help improve an organization’s ability to withstand disruptions and disasters.
Here are a few examples of changes that can be used to improve organizational resilience:
- Employee training and digital adoption programs that enable remote working, which can help employees stay productive when disruptions prevent them from working at the physical office
- New workflows, procedures, and policies designed to mitigate or minimize workplace accidents, which can be especially important for those who work in warehouses, on construction sites, in factories, and so forth
- Creating a workplace culture that is more agile, digital, and open to change, which can help the workforce adapt to rapid changes in the workplace
Changes such as these can all be implemented as part of an initiative designed to improve overall organizational resilience, as mentioned above. In turn, businesses will be in a much better position to weather many disruptions or disasters that could befall them.
5. Digital maturity can increase organizational resilience
During the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, employees around the world were forced to work from home.
Those who had never worked from home before had to adapt to these new conditions almost overnight, learning new workflows and new software. On top of that, many had to learn how to cope with the difficulties of remote working, such as maintaining focus or preventing feelings of isolation.
Organizations with telecommuting policies and the right technology, however, were able to adapt more easily and remain productive.
That global crisis demonstrates, on the one hand, that remote working can be a viable business continuity strategy for certain types of disruptions.
It also demonstrates the value of digital maturity, digital literacy, and a digitally enabled workforce.
After all, digital maturity can protect against a wide variety of other risks and disruptions, from digital disruption to IT-related disasters.
To protect against disruption, it pays to invest in digital transformation that focuses on improving the digital workplace, the digital employee experience, and digital maturity.