In the Northern Hemisphere it is summer, and in many areas this means the beginning, or tail-end of the severe weather season. From flooding caused by winter snow melt to hurricanes and even tornadoes, every region in the world will eventually see some form of disaster. To limit the fallout from damage and the like, many companies adopt a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The problem is, these plans sometimes fail.
Here are five common reasons Business Continuity efforts fail.
1. Inefficient communication
When it comes to business, one of the most important keys to success is communication. The same can be said for Continuity plans – if the plan and actions expected aren’t communicated effectively and understood by all parties involved, there is little to no chance that it will succeed.
To minimize this from happening, you should take steps to ensure that you clearly communicate, orally or through email, the plan with all parties involved. They should have on-demand access to it, and should be clear about what their role is and how they are expected to act. You should also take steps to ensure that departments and representatives are prepared and understand all aspects of the plan.
2. Lack of testing
When it comes to anything related to IT, testing and retesting is essential. Many businesses take careful steps to implement a sound Continuity plan that covers the organization, but they fail to test it to see if it actually works. This could be a costly mistake.
It would therefore be a good idea to test your plan in a number of situations at least twice to three times a year. It would be a good idea to do spot tests that involve all parties so they can not only get experience but find potential holes and issues that need to be addressed.
3. Lack of a complete plan
To be prepared, you must have a complete plan, that way you will be ready for almost anything. Numerous businesses have failed because they simply weren’t prepared enough. Or their plan lacked crucial elements that would have prepared their business for an eventual disaster. Other examples of failure due to lack of complete plans is the fact that companies focused on their systems only, and forgot to plan for their employees’ needs.
Planning can be tough. The best way to ensure that you are ready for disaster is to work with an IT partner who has experience in Continuity Planning. They will work with you to create a plan that your company can rely on.
4. Poor expectations
When planning for Business Continuity, you need to think outside of the box. Many businesses have solid plans, but these plans are based on assumptions like: The power will remain on, Internet and landlines will remain connected, Mobile networks will work, staff will come into work, other parties involved won’t be affected, etc. In smaller disasters, this could be the case, but in larger disasters you can bet that at least one of the above things will happen.
The best way to develop your expectations is to look at each scenario on its own, as you develop your plan. For example, how will you deal with Internet being down? Or, how will you operate with staff who can’t make it into the office or backup location?
5. No updates to the plan
Almost everyone knows that the world changes, often quickly. Yet, some businesses fail to acknowledge these changes and update their BCP accordingly. It would be a good idea to audit and update your plan on a regular basis, usually about once a year, to take into account any changes.
These changes could include new buildings next door, new equipment, new staff, etc. The key here is to ensure your plan is as up-to-date as possible.
If you are struggling with developing your Business Continuity Plan, or are thinking about adopting one, please contact us today to see how we can help your business be prepared for anything.