Right after the 9/11 attacks, former president George W. Bush was secured in a bunker in Offutt Air Force base near Omaha, Nebraska. This bunker house a very sophisticated and state-of-the-art strategic command center, designed to withstand a nuclear blast.
This protocol is part of the government continuity process. In the event of a calamity—man-made or natural—, the government must ensure its existence in order to lead the people. There also exists a business continuity management consulting services to help business owners ensure the survival of their operations in times of trouble.
In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA has put in place protocols intended for the private sector to ensure business continuity.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity refers to a business organization’s capacity to ensure the continuity of operations of the core business in the event of a disruption that would affect critical systems. The business continuity plan is key to identifying important functions and coming up with contingency measures for such a disruption, such as a fire, severe flooding, etc.
Business continuity planning
The planning for business continuity is not a function of a single department; it is usually led by the information technology component. The goal is to put in place systems and protocols that will be implemented in the event of a disruption. Parameters such as an acceptable level of data loss are defined, as well as the establishment of communication processes to key personnel.
Alternative to expensive systems
Back then, it was cost prohibitive to implement a redundant IT system; it seemed only the giant corporations can afford it. However, technological advancements have made cloud technologies within reach of the not-so-big businesses.
What’s in the Cloud?
The proper term is cloud computing and it is about storage and access of data over the Internet instead of storing it in the hard drive. In the case of big corporations, this means having an entire floor dedicated to network attached storage (NAS) hardware. Typically, cloud computing services are offered by specialist business continuity consulting companies, with technology services, such as cloud data backups, cloud-based disaster recovery, and other cyber-security protocols designed to fight cyber attacks.
What happens when there’s no business continuity protocol in place?
Disasters usually happen without any notice. You don’t know when a fire might break out, or when the next earthquake might be. Regardless of the magnitude of the disaster, it will still create a negative impact on the business’ bottom line, especially if your business relies on web-based services.
Studies have shown that a few minutes of downtime could mean the loss of millions of dollars. Downtime and data loss is a major drain; the 2017 average annual cost that downtime and data loss incurred reached $21.8 million. The Ponemon Institute estimated that every minute of downtime cost an average of $7,900 in revenue lost.
Coverage of Business Continuity plan
No one is safe from a disaster. Business continuity plans offer a wide range of services in case of:
Natural and man-made disasters. Earthquakes and floods could destroy your physical business in minutes, and so does fire. If your important data is in the cloud, it is virtually untouchable.
Network gaps. It happens all the time—Internet connections get cut, maybe because the fiber got cut. Or your LAN got disabled. Network availability is key to running your business seamlessly.
Hacking. Increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks are happening more frequently, targeting both government and business entities. Plan early to prevent a breach into your data systems.
Human error. Disruptions need not come from outside your office. An employee might delete all your files accidentally. Whatever the case may be, cloud computing will get you back on your feet in a matter of minutes.
Business continuity is a simple concept to understand. With uncertainties just around the corner, make sure your business will survive and thrive in times of disruptions, natural or man-made.