What's your business continuity plan?

On one hand, if you’re reading this, your business must have come through the pandemic successfully – a true badge of honor. On the other hand, in your rush to get employees working from home, you most likely uncovered gaps in your business continuity plan.

Win-win. Your original business continuity plan achieved its goal; albeit with a little rushing, improvising and making-do during the disaster. And, the pandemic helped us figure out what services and processes actually are essential to our businesses so we can be ready for the next disaster.

Top 10 Business Continuity Lessons from the Pandemic

10. You need a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity strategy

Disaster recovery and business continuity are not the same, although many people get confused about this. While it is essential to have a disaster recovery plan in place to restore data and critical systems when an event hits, business continuity is your strategy to return your whole business to full functionality after a crisis.

9. Each department needs to have a plan

Many businesses found their business continuity plan was too simple and didn’t take into account which individual departments would need to conduct business from home. In planning business continuity, Protocol Networks talks with department heads to find out what their specific departments would need for business continuity.

8. Some “critical” processes weren’t necessarily critical

And, you probably discovered essential services that weren’t accounted for in your business continuity plan. A robust plan takes into account process, personnel, hardware and software so you aren’t scrambling around during a crisis, figuring out a way to provide full services.

7. IT infrastructure is different with remote work

OK, we already knew this, but many businesses were not prepared to move their workforces to remote locations. Preparing for remote work as a business continuity strategy means identifying processes and roles that can work remotely, along with ensuring employees have secure access to company IT systems, data and information.

From outfitting home offices with computers, monitors and headsets to setting up secure VPN connections and cloud access, IT is at the forefront of this essential strategy.

6. Cybercriminals are out in force

Although many businesses had at least some security solutions in place, moving workers out of the office increased security risks profusely. Hackers and scammers are reveling in sending pandemic-themed emails and malicious links to workers who are at home, stressed by the pandemic and preoccupied with others in the household who are homeschooling and doing their own jobs in the next room. Suffice it to say, your employees may not remember their cybersecurity awareness training. Issuing devices, covered by your business’ security and usage policies and protected by company security tools, is one consideration for your future business continuity plan.

5. Testing works!

There’s no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to business continuity. Your plan must be tested regularly so any adjustments can be made in the calm outside of a crisis. Boston College CTO Peter Salvitti said his IT organization has been “fanatical” about testing its business continuity plan, and it paid off when employees and students moved relatively easily to remote work.

4. Redundancy bears repeating

The best way to protect your data from disaster is to implement redundancy plans. Take a minute to estimate the value of your company’s data – client records, payroll details, email chains, innumerable reports. It’s almost impossible to put a price on corporate data – losing it results in 60% of small businesses closing after a data breach.

Backing up the data from your entire organization isn’t simple. We make sure security, automatic updates and encryption, along with dozens of other aspects, are taken into account so you have a contingency against anything – fire, hurricane, pandemic.

3. Digital transformation has accelerated

Grandma now uses Zoom and goes to her doctors’ appointments in the living room. Before the pandemic lockdown, many people were still hesitant about telehealth appointments and even online shopping. Since March, though, Amazon has hired over 100,000 additional workers to accommodate the increase in orders. The sudden mass adoption of digital services will impact daily lives for years to come and will likely result in new business models and organizational structures.

2. The cloud will be the norm

Cloud computing implementation has skyrocketed since March. In just one week, Microsoft saw demand for Teams, its premier collaboration tool, climb almost 40%. The global cloud market is expected to grow from $233 billion in 2019 to $295 billion by 2021. If your organization isn’t using the cloud now, get ready for implementation in the near future. Businesses that were already using the cloud for most or all of their systems made the transition to remote work easily. In fact, many may just stay with remote work.

And, the No. 1 lesson learned …

Assess your business continuity plan now to review what was learned during the pandemic, what worked, what didn’t work and what needs to be done moving forward.

Business continuity is different for every business because of their unique needs. We listen to you before recommending specific solutions. We make sure all your stakeholders are heard and all your essential operations are accounted for in your business continuity plan. We’ll ask questions about problems you’re facing to determine the root cause of the issue. It could be process oriented, personnel related, your hardware or software.

Our team of engineers will review your business continuity/disaster recovery plans – for free – to identify gaps and areas for improvement. Let’s get together soon on this so you’re ready for the next disaster event. Click here to get your free business continuity plan review.