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When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, many businesses in the US felt the effects due to service outages. This well publicized storm prompted many businesses, who were not hit or directly affected, to look into developing some form of plan to help them remain operational during any disaster situation. This practice is commonly referred to as Business Continuity, and for companies just looking at how to integrate this practice, there are a few things you should prepare before you launch.
Here’s four questions you should answer when looking into adopting a Business Continuity plan.
1. What systems need to be recovered first?
A good idea is to request each department/role list their essential systems and rank them in the order they need them back online in order to do their jobs. From here, you can compare answers and rank them in priority. For example, If all roles say they need Internet connection back online first, you know that the Internet is the first system that needs to be recovered.
2. What do we need to assure customers of stability?
For the majority of businesses, the customer is the lifeblood. However, most customers will only stick around for a limited amount of time before going to a competitor if your business can’t meet their needs. To keep customers loyal during a time of disaster, you need to prove you are either stable, or working to get there. Some examples of this could be a backup site with basic functionality that can take the place of your main website if it goes down.
3. What do business partners require?
Your business partners are just as important as your customers and are often the link between the two. With partners, you often have set requirements that you need to meet in order to continue order fulfillment and shipment. You need to be aware of what these are and the related systems. After all, how are you going to get your product to your customers?
4. Are there any contractual requirements with vendors?
Businesses that work with suppliers or vendors often have contractual obligations such as payment due on a certain date, or a set product order volume to fulfill the contract. As with business partners, you need to be clear on what these obligations are, and how you meet them. For example, if you pay a supplier on the 10th of every month, most will expect payment on the 10th, regardless of if you are operational or not.
Once you have the answers you needed you can take a step back and try to come up with a timeline of how long continuity actions should take and what your priorities are. From here, you can draft an actual plan, or look for vendors that can work with your systems and provide a continuity plan or service that meets your needs.
If you are looking for a business continuity system for your business please give us a call, we may have a solution that fits with your business.
Published on 24th January 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.