Businesses are usually established to last as long as possible within the foreseeable as well as the distant unknown/unpredictable future. Every serious business establishment is built with solid plans to keep the firm going no matter what challenges are encountered along the line.
So many things can interrupt a business’s day-to-day running ranging from easily manageable ones such as supply chain interruptions to computer system crashes and power failures. Others include natural disasters, changes in government policies especially in such countries where there is high political unrest with the likelihood of a total breakdown of law and order, or even wars.
Factoring these in the establishment of your business will determine a whole lot of things from its physical location to other aspects of planning for the continuity of your business and eventual recovery for business to continue after a disaster.
Considerations Towards Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR)
1. Nature of Business
The nature of your business outfit determines to a large extent what plans to put in place for the business to continue in the case of disruption and helps you prioritize where to channel your resources in response to emergencies. What works company A might not necessarily work B. A mobile communications company, for example, might channel resources towards providing alternative power supply to communication masts in certain areas and restore communication.
Being an IT/and communication company there’s a high possibility that the physical location of her workforce might not pose a problem and many of the workers may be required to work from home as witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, that might not be the same for a company that produces ventilators and nose masks which require that production lines be maintained and kept running to meet the need of the moment irrespective of the inherent danger faced by the exposure in the work environment.
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2. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
This is the most crucial step in getting back to business. What area of the building was impacted the most? A food processing company, for example, would surely want to restore processing and keep the supplies running, but that wouldn’t be the same for a power generating company that will channel its resources to restoring damaged power grids and stations first. It all gets down to what area of the business is affected the most and the level of urgency needed to keep the critical aspects of the business running.
Prioritizing the most urgent and critical needs will surely lead the company to the decision on what to do at a given moment.
Experts recommend that companies draw up a BIA ahead of time and regularly review such (usually once a year) to help them be up to date.
Essentials of A Good Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Plan
- You must develop and regularly rehearse a contingency plan. This includes plans for succession for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
- Train some employees as a backup to perform tasks in the case of an emergency. These must conduct sub-level activities towards the overall goal of keeping the business running in times of emergency.
- There must be an alternative office venue, some sort of offsite location designated for meetings as well as an alternative means of communication particularly when phone services are not available.
- Drills are very important. Conduct drills for workers at all levels in order to create consciousness, readiness, and mental alertness. This is necessary to avoid confusion and a lack of control when an emergency situation arises.
- Exercises tailored towards business continuity should be as realistic as possible to engage the emotions of employees in order to evaluate their reactions in difficult situations. Improvements should be made where such exercises expose some notable weaknesses.
- Keep a good relationship and if possible, partner with emergency response groups, agencies, or organizations such as EMTs, firefighters, the police, etc. and attend public meetings whenever such is called. Creating a good working relationship with them is sure to create awareness about your presence and location.
- Create second-tier sub-zones/levels of command. disaster
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When businesses expand into other cities across the country it is best practice to create a sub-zonal level of authority rather than concentrating everything at the center. While this makes for a good organizational structure, it will also serve to reestablish control from a zone that is unaffected by whatever disaster that may have occurred.
Also, such a structure would serve for regional collection of data which is summarized and sent to the top; in the event of the head office having a serious challenge, all you will do is to pull back data from the sub-regional storages which should be totally dependent on different power and water sources from the headquarters. Such offices can also serve as data centers. This is highly recommended for large organizations.
Disaster Recovery Mistakes To Avoid
- Ensure that your recovery planning and testing efforts incorporate the business without which results won’t be effective.
- Conduct business impact analysis and address every loophole discovered in your business recovery model.
- Your disaster response and recovery plan should be robust and quick enough to mitigate total collapse. Timing is key; quick response and less bureaucracy will give life to your plans. Disasters happen so quickly and maybe over in a matter of minutes. A separate chain of command may be very necessary for a good effect.
- You must be very detailed and identify critical areas as well as systems and put plans in place for early recovery. Some systems are very critical and foundational for operations; such should have an extra layer of protection and model for early recovery. Critical computer data should be kept containing the number and location of servers, their configurations, applications running on them, version of the software, operating system, and several other important information.
- Managers at the senior level must be fully engaged and put in their support. This is very important because when it is lacking the entire structure is bound to fail or suffer a huge setback.
- A robust recovery model requires funds. The organization must commit the necessary amount of money required to set and maintain the system. Setting up adequate funding will help for regular testing to ensure the success of the whole process.