Business Impact Analysis
- The first step to planning for disasters and business continuity is to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) study. This study identifies all critical activities of the company, as well as the forces that could impede those activities. These forces can include fires, natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, the loss of key personnel or anything else that could severely impact business operations. Knowing what challenges a business could potentially face, no matter how improbable, is the first step to forming a plan for how to deal with the situation and recover from it.
Offsite Data Storage & Recovery
- One of the primary systems to include in a disaster plan is the information technology (IT) aspect of the business. This technology is such an important part of business operations that many companies base their entire business continuity plan around it.
Perform routine backups of all data on your network. Save the data at an offsite location at least 100 miles away from your primary location. This is close enough to retrieve the data quickly in the event of an emergency recovery, but far enough away that the second site will probably not be affected by the same disaster that disrupted the original computer network.
In the event of a company whose entire business revolves around IT services, having full redundancy is essential. In this case, it is important to establish a second computer network that will automatically come online in the event that something happens to the primary systems.
Employee Plan of Action
- One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of business continuity planning is to have a set plan for employees to follow. Plan where employees will go if the building is evacuated. Make sure everyone knows where to congregate following the evacuation. Have a plan in place for shuttle services in case employees are unable to get to their automobiles following a disaster.
Even more important than where employees will gather immediately after a disaster is where will they continue to work as the company recovers from the disruption. Some events may allow an employee to return to the business after a short period of time. Others may require the company to arrange alternate working space in a different location. Planning for these events in advance will reduce the amount of downtime that the business suffers as a result of the disruption.