I recently received a call from a distressed and anxious client telling me that a building contractor has accidentally cut a wrong cable and internet and telephony in the office are offline and potentially will be for days. What do I do?
You are probably thinking to yourself that this won’t happen to me… Right? Well it can and it most probably will if you don’t plan for it. Accidents happen all the time so it is essential you have some form of contingency plan in place to ensure that your business can operate during a disaster or long period of downtime.
Statistics –In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, 150 businesses out of 350 affected failed due to no BCP. Also more than 40% of businesses affected by the September 11 World Trade Centre attacks did have some form of backup system in place but had no infrastructure or business premises to relocate and restore to.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a document that basically outlines how the businesses core functions are restored and how they will operate during a disaster or disruption. It outlines responsibilities, what to do, when to do it, where to go, how to get there and a time-line to do it in.
For a small business the creation of a BCP is critical and very important. The key to mastering and getting though a disaster is planning, organising, managing and taking control. Find below key points to include in a BCP
- Identify any risks to the business
- These may include floods, bushfires, power failures, and computer failures
- Identify the core Systems in the business and prioritise
- These are most likely computers, email, internet, telephones, website (ecommerce) and any specialised application used
- Develop a recovery plan for the core systems in the business
- Assistance from suppliers and IT are crucial as the majority of BCP involves recovering systems
- Create a ‘BCP Team’ and create a chain of command and assign responsibilities
- Create a communications plan for members in the team
- Test the BCP Plan at regular intervals
- Ensure proper maintenance is carried out to ensure that the BCP is valid and ready for a disaster
A BCP gives you the peace of mind knowing that you have some form of plan for any disaster or unscheduled outage that may occur. There are many cost effective solutions available for small business so you are never too small to shop around. Time is Money so make sure you invest some time to plan to continue to make money when the unthinkable occurs.
Jason Murray is the General Manager at Orstead, which provides outsourced IT Support and Consulting services www.orstead.com.au Twitter: Jason_MurrayAU