When business is interrupted, money is lost—it’s that simple. When coupled with the added expenses of recovering, these lost revenues can lead to significantly reduced profits. Insurance won’t cover all costs and can’t replace customers that left during the interruption. A business continuity plan (BCP) is essential for companies that want to prepare for the worst.
Understanding the Importance of a Business Continuity Plan
From small businesses to large corporations, the goal of any business is to remain competitive. In order to do so, a company must keep its current customers while also adding new ones. There’s no better way to test a company’s ability to do so than right after an adverse event. The right plan will ensure a company can bounce back from a disaster as quickly as possible, but a BCP has other advantages, too.
Remember, a company that can handle a disaster effectively is a company that the public will trust. Without a business recovery plan, a disaster might result in a loss of customers. With one, a company can actually gain customers: when a company’s handling of the situation improves its reputation and market value, customer confidence increases.
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plans
Businesses should follow 4 steps to get started with their business disaster plan: conducting a business impact analysis, identifying critical business processes and functions, organizing a business continuity team, and conducting training.
Step 1: Conducting a Business Impact Analysis
The first step in a plan for disaster recovery is to conduct a full business impact analysis to determine and evaluate the potential impact of an interruption to business operations.
- Developing a questionnaire
- Creating a workshop that instructs managers how to complete the business impact analysis
- Collecting and reviewing questionnaires
- Completing follow-up interviews to collect more information or receive clarification on any remaining questions
Step 2: Identifying Critical Business Processes and Functions
Based on the business impact analysis, the next step is to identify potential recovery needs. This includes conducting a gap analysis in order to find gaps between a company’s recovery requirements and its current resources, exploring recovery options, and implementing the strategies decided upon.
Step 3: Organizing a Business Continuity Team
Companies then need to develop the basic framework for their disaster preparedness and recovery plan and identify members of their recovery team, otherwise known as a business continuity team. Additional requirements include developing plans for relocation, writing down their business continuity plan and IT business disaster plan, documenting manual workarounds, assembling a plan, and getting management’s feedback and approval.
Step 4: Conducting Training
Once the disaster recovery plan has been finalized, companies must test it. Exercises and maintenance requirements should be completed, and training must be available for their teams. Orientation exercises, testing, and documenting test results are also a part of this step.
Comprehensive Business Continuity Planning
As businesses think about their own disaster preparedness and recovery plan they often think only of the big things: hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc. While these are events that should be planned for, it’s essential not to forget small events that can be catastrophic for companies without a plan: power loss, malware trouble, and more. A comprehensive plan should cover all types of data loss and factors that can result in the inability of a company to function as normal.
Paperless Office: A Key Component of a Business Disaster Plan
A paperless office is an essential component in the maintenance of critical business operations. Relying on paper files to store essential data and customer information is an outdated approach data management and client support. Paper is considered the biggest risk and worst threat to a company’s data.
With a paperless office made possible by eFileCabinet’s document management system, companies can:
- Access data instantly via the Cloud after any disaster, power loss, or situation that involves lack of access to the physical location of a business
- Give employees access to data in order to work remotely after a disaster
- Move to a new facility without downtime as access to company information and customer data remains uninterrupted
- More easily navigate compliance with regulations involving the storage of customer information
Being able to get up and running as soon as possible after a disaster or serious event is critical to avoiding the loss of clients. To learn more about how your company can embrace a paperless office with the help of eFileCabinet, fill out the form on this page.