business continuity planning article

Can Your Company Survive the Apocalypse?

Business Continuity Planning is a Necessity for Companies of All Sizes

No, we’re not privy to top secret information being held by the government or some other authority. And as far as we know, the only “apocalypse now” is a classic 1979 movie featuring Martin Sheen.

But running a business can be unpredictable. Whether it’s daily operations and logistics, or more drastic crises such as natural disasters and other emergencies that disrupt normal operations, things happen. And we’re sure you’re thinking, amidst everything that needs to get done to make your business operate smoothly, “I have plenty of free time to craft a business continuity plan!” Or not.

Despite all the other critical things requiring a business owner or leader’s attention, business continuity planning (BCP) is your way of preparing in advance for unexpected incidents so that you are able to respond swiftly (if they occur). It’s your roadmap for emergencies so you can keep your business moving at optimum speed, even when something unexpected happens.

For example, this summer many parts of California have been actively fighting some of the largest blazes in the state’s history. Fires spreading quickly in Mendocino County in the Northern part of the state prompted this now infamous line quoted in the Los Angeles Times: “We broke the record. That’s one of those records you don’t want to see,” said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with Cal Fire.

Let’s not get doomsday (or apocalyptic?) about this though – natural disasters such as fire are a real threat at times, but you can plan ahead to minimize damage if something disastrous were to cross paths with your business. Statistics say that on average, data centers go down for more than 10 days after a disaster. Can your business survive that? More importantly, do you know how you would react to something like that if it happened to your business?

BCP and disaster recovery (DR) are about as appealing as getting a root canal at the dentist, but you’ve worked hard to build your business and establish your reputation. So, just as you want to keep your teeth for as long as possible, you want your business to be viable as long as it possibly can. The BCP and DR are the investment you make for the long term health and planning of your organization.

Here are a few ideas to get you motivated and started on your planning:

  1. Analyze your business and discover your needs: If your headquarters were knocked offline tomorrow, how would you ensure data recovery?
  2. Include disaster recovery: You can’t stop Bob from eating the last donut, but you can prepare for how to protect your IT infrastructure in the case of flood, earthquake or fire.
  3. Use role-playing with team members to work through possible scenarios: Get your employees together and discuss possible scenarios, and how you would respond. Getting input from the group means you’ll have all the information you need to address potential pitfalls. And, adding free pizza to the mix turns it into a team-building exercise!

So, how will you get started preparing your business for the unexpected?