What is Business Continuity and Why You Can’t Afford To Overlook It

Running a business, regardless of whether it is big or small, tends to be rather complicated. There are so many things that you need to look out for and keep under control, like your employees and their wages, managing the workplace (or workplaces), dealing with clients and customers, and finally, and perhaps most importantly – making sure that the company is making profits.


Every once in a blue moon, however, an unplanned incident or a disaster can outright shut down entire subdivisions of your business, putting the whole enterprise at risk of going under. We’ve seen it happen on a large scale earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to a halt for a few months. Situations like this one are impossible to foresee from the point of view of a regional manager or a small business owner. That’s why you should plan ahead and make sure that safety nets or recovery procedures are in place and ready to be utilized when disaster strikes.


The concept of getting a business up and running after an unforeseen catastrophe is known as business continuity. If you’re serious about keeping your company afloat at all times, you need to have a plan in place that will ensure a swift and resolute return to a fully operational state. Thankfully, modern technology has made the entire process much easier, as world-leading suppliers of business continuity software bend over backward to provide the best means of supporting and guiding you through the process of getting your business back on track as soon as possible.


The Perils Of Unpreparedness


According to recent studies, 40% of all businesses that have shut down following a disaster never reopen, and 25% of those who manage to come back find themselves having to close up shop within a year.


As tragic and frightening the first half of this year has been, it has also proven to be the perfect time to speed up your business continuity plan. Things that have a disastrous impact on the economy, like the ongoing pandemic or the 2008 financial crisis, tend to creep up on entrepreneurs and smaller businesses with no control over the unfolding events.


You are, however, in control of your enterprise, the way you choose to run it, and what fail-safe measures you’ve implemented to minimize damage if something unforeseeable happens. It can be the difference between your company and the 40% that didn’t make it.


The Life Cycle


Much like dealing with grief or addiction, the process of business continuity planning consists of steps designed to help you get over the hurdle and return to prosperous ways. The concept of continuity, however, means that it needs to be worked on and improved continuously. This is why, rather than a simple list of steps, this type of planning takes the form of a cycle that immediately starts all over again upon completion.


The business continuity lifecycle consists of five fundamental stages, each of which needs to be tackled separately and with the proper level of expertise.


Stages of Continuity


First of all, the current situation, environment, and potential threats need to be thoroughly analyzed to the minutest of details.


That analysis is what lays the groundwork for the next stage: solution design. This is where everything starts to take shape – based on the analysts’ information, you and your team will have to brainstorm ways out of a particular crisis and come up with a course of action that will restore the proper functioning of the firm as efficiently as possible.


Step three revolves around the implementation of proposed solutions – it covers all of the necessary action that needs to be taken to bring the solution to life, from acquiring the necessary resources, through building required structures all the way to carrying out backups of digital data across all departments.


Later, everything needs to be tested and accepted to ensure it is up to date with the current safety standards and regulations.


Fortunately, crippling disasters don’t strike too often, which is why the entire architecture of your business continuity plan needs to be steadily maintained so it can stay on standby at all times.


Times change, and so do the dangers that can threaten the existence of your business. The enemy never sleeps, a common saying goes, and it has never been more accurate than in 2020. Not many people could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the global economy. You can be sure that the next big thing will be as unpredictable as that one. This is why all of the aforementioned cycle stages need to be constantly worked on if you want to ensure the survival and future prosperity of your business.


The Bottom Line


Business continuity planning is not a simple case of “better safe than sorry.” It is a crucial element of running an enterprise, as economically devastating events are bound to happen in one way or another over a long enough time. Not taking that into consideration is extremely short-sighted and puts your business at risk of failure. It is a long and challenging process if you want to get it right, but you can get it done with the right amount of effort and some help from outside professionals.


Maciej Grzymkowski