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5 Reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan

Summary

You never need a continuity plan until you do. Here are 5 reasons you should start yours today.

 

Time: 6 minute read

Organizations often underestimate the importance of a business continuity plan. No one ever notices its absence – until disaster strikes. By then, it’s too late.

 

Any unplanned interruption of normal business processes can create immense hurdles and costly setbacks. Operations suffer. Revenue may suffer even more. 

 

Unplanned interruptions take many forms. It can be something as simple as a power outage. It could be a major hurricane. Ultimately, a disaster can be anything that disrupts normal business operations. Regardless of the cause, unplanned means unexpected.

 

With a business continuity plan in place, you position yourself to minimize the impact and damage of an unexpected event. In this article, we will discuss:

  • What constitutes business continuity planning and the difference between it and disaster recovery
  • The top 5 reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan
  • The importance of business continuity planning beyond simply restoring operations
  • How to get started building a business continuity plan
planning meeting

What is business continuity planning?

A business continuity plan gives an organization the ability to maintain essential processes before, during, and after a disaster.

 

Business continuity differs from disaster recovery in its holistic approach to the business.  Business continuity reflects a business-wide implementation plan to ensure the continuation of critical business functions should a disruptive event occur. Disaster recovery “recovers” an organization’s hardware, applications, and data after a technology disruption.

 
 

5 Reasons your organization needs a business continuity plan

While it takes time and effort to build and test a business continuity plan, you’ll find it well worth it should a disaster strike.

 

Here are 5 of the main reasons you need a business continuity plan:


disaster recovery planning

Reason #1: Disaster recovery

As noted in the previous section, disaster recovery plays a significant role in the restoration of business operations.

 

Disasters happen. Their unexpected nature is what makes them so devastating. Being prepared may not prevent the disaster, but it does mitigate the impact on your business.

 

Research states that 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster.1 Larger organizations take major hits.

 

Often when we think of disasters, we think of major events like earthquakes, floods, and natural disasters. These, however, aren’t the only causes of downtime. Data deletion due to human error, poor security habits of users, and incompetent employees or accidents also rank among the prime reasons for IT downtime.

data center backup

Reason #2: Data shows backups are not enough

Most companies deploy some form of data backup. Having data backed up does you no good if you cannot access it, such as could occur in a power outage or need to leave an office site even on a temporary basis. 

 

Accessing data in the event of a disaster can prove a problem. After all, having a backup is different from accessing it.

 

It’s a question business continuity planning asks: How will you access that data in the event of an outage? 

 

For example, the average enterprise backup reaches over a petabyte or more. This pushes conventional storage to its limits. Even several terabytes of data backed up by a small to mid-sized business can strain capacity and bandwidth. And if you don’t have a data center or hardware prepared to handle this volume of data, it does you no good.

 

By deploying business continuity and disaster recovery solutions leveraging cloud technologies and virtual servers, organizations can run critical business applications from backup instances on virtual servers in the cloud. This approach enables you to effectively “flip a switch” and can keep your downtime to a minimum.

 

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Reason #3: Insurance does not protect your data

Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and successful every year. 

 

A 2018 study of companies that were attacked found that 68% of breaches took months or longer to discover. And insurance doesn’t restore data due to data center, server, or backup loss, or even lost access to any of these. 

 

Insurance isn’t enough to cover all the damages of a disaster. Yes, it can cover the costs of repairs, but in terms of loss of revenue and business prospects due to downtime, it has little effect.

 
happy business woman

Reason #4: Competitive edge

You have a big advantage over your competitors if you can restore normal operations while they are still trying to figure it out. Getting your network back up and running fast, restoring access to your business data and documents, and reconnecting your employees to communicate with each other and support your customers allows for your organization to stand-out as a leader and one that can be trusted and relied upon.
working remotely

Reason #5: Business must go on

Keeping a business going is essential. Taking a very simple view, if you lose the ability to buy and sell, your business – for all practical purposes – ceases to function.

 

Business continuity makes this possible by establishing actions that must be taken to ensure operations remain active, no matter the nature of the disaster. For example:

  • If the power goes out without certainty of when it will be restored, can you switch to a server or network located in a functioning data center?
  • If you experience a server failure, do you have a backup server (or virtual server) ready to go?
  • If your office location becomes inaccessible for any reason, can your employees work remotely?

When building your business continuity plan, you consider all the possible disruptions you might encounter. Loss of power or an office location is one of the biggest reasons offsite and redundant backup remains one of the most important aspects of IT reliability.

 

Your business simply cannot afford downtime. A solid business continuity plan can mean the difference between being back up and running in a matter of minutes versus days or even weeks.

customer support rep

The importance of a business continuity plan

A business continuity plan positions your organization to survive serious disruption. It eliminates confusion common to every disaster, providing a clear blueprint for what everyone should do.

 

More importantly, your business continuity plan supports:

  • Communication between employees and customers
  • Workflow operations essential to business activity
  • Customer service response, especially if you are a service provider
  • Business security, keeping your data and information secured wherever you and your team find yourself working
  • The flow of information and documents

Beyond business operations, your business continuity plan helps people. By keeping operations going, you are better positioned to keep your employees working, protecting the jobs that support them and their families. You also continue to meet the needs of your customers, impacting their lives, and if you are in a B2B business, the lives of their customers.

business meeting

We are here to help

We have helped many businesses develop and implement business continuity plans. 

In addition to consulting services like these, our IT services can remove the burden of monitoring and managing your data infrastructure to help give you increased reliability, reduced risk and a comprehensive business continuity plan in the event of a disaster. 

Ricoh’s IT services include: 

  • Server & network management
  • Device & desktop management
  • Managed cybersecurity services
  • End user communication services
  • Managed cloud services
  • Data center services
  • Disaster recovery and backup
  • IT project work
  • Remote IT support

We know that your business is unique and has its own needs. In every engagement, you can be confident that we’ll work together to create a business continuity plan and if needed, a technology infrastructure built specifically for you.

To learn more, contact us today.

 

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