Business continuity is a little like ambulance chasing - once the accident has happened, it's obviously too late to stop it - the #1 priority is to quickly save the patient. When we're busy, we don't often have time to think of business continuity or disaster planning, but consider, if something did happen, would you be ready?
- How quickly can you recover from a severe business disruption?
- Does your user community have (high/medium/low) expectaions of immediate service continuity?
- It's not just about I.T. What about your paper files? Facilities? Other assets?
- How do you create an adequate business continuity plan as part of your job when you're already doing more with less?
- Death by 1,000 cuts. What's your plan for smaller disruptions such as the loss of a key staff member?
- The hidden and unknown. What are some critical processes that only one staff person may know? (As an example, how are your online gifts downloaded?)
Here are a few suggestions to provide your organization with some additional flexibility in keeping your business running:
- Cloud computing and hosting of your data somewhere other than on your premises.
- Social media used for crisis communications.
- Access to volunteers and volunteer organzations that can help you.
- Know who in the supply chain can provide the goods and services you normally consume.
- Offsite storage of data in different geographic locations.
At a minimum, you should have a plan. The planning process helps you to think about, and to a larger extent prioritize what you may need to do in the event of a disaster. The plan should be reviewed on at least an annual basis and signed off on by the senior management of the organization.
You should ideally test some of the elements in the plan. One example - if you're backing up your data to the cloud, can you actually do a restore?
If you're part of a larger organization, there may already be a central group or department that may already have a framework in place that you can utilize to build your own plan. You don't need to reinvent the wheel.
Principal and Founder