During the recent national air traffic outage in the UK, we had a stark reminder of what happens when business continuity fails. So the MYREDFORT team have gone back to basics for putting a robust plan in place.
A business continuity plan serves as a comprehensive framework outlining the course of action to be taken in the face of disruptions to business operations. This plan is an integral component of an emergency management policy, bridging the gap between the emergency response phase and the subsequent recovery phase.
Commencing with a meticulous evaluation, the development of a business continuity plan necessitates a thorough assessment of the potential impacts that disruptions could impose on every facet of the business. This encompasses aspects ranging from personnel and processes to supply chains. The plan offers a structured approach to not only respond to but also mitigate potential emergencies. Various threats to the seamless continuation of operations encompass occurrences such as natural calamities, breakdowns in supply chains, cyber assaults, the departure of key personnel, and notably, pandemics.
Dealing with the unexpected
Navigating unforeseen circumstances is at the core of a robust business continuity plan. In most scenarios, effective solutions involve the maintenance of system redundancy, implementation of failover mechanisms, and the establishment of workplace recovery strategies. Central to these strategies is the role of IT infrastructure. This spans from offsite data backup to leveraging cloud partner platforms and facilitating remote access. Every facet requires meticulous evaluation and reinforcement.
The journey of establishing a business continuity plan doesn't culminate with its creation. It extends to the testing, maintenance, and consistent updating of the plan. This imperative maintenance demands dedicated time and resources, which are essential investments for ensuring business continuity. Analysts emphasize that continuity planning is an ongoing and recurrent process rather than a one-time project that can be shelved once completed. Neglecting this ongoing effort could render the plan the weakest link in the chain of recovery endeavours.
In the modern landscape, organisations must proactively prepare for disruptions to ensure their continued success and resilience. Business continuity planning furnishes organisations with the means to sustain operations under any circumstances. Advanced preparation can be the differentiator between a swift restart of operations and coming to a complete halt.
The evolution of business continuity plans has been exacerbated by the need to adapt to changing circumstances. Traditionally focused on operational recovery, business continuity plans required meticulous risk assessments and the development of proactive solutions for individual scenarios. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the necessity for a more flexible approach to readiness for future events.
The components of a robust plan
It not only the maintenance of operational networks but also the establishment of robust networks capable of accommodating significantly higher volumes of remote users. Furthermore, effective communication and collaboration tools emerged as crucial components. The escalation of cyberattacks and ransomware threats compelled IT departments to enhance cybersecurity measures across all network access points, especially with the surge in remote work. This challenge also entails accounting for employees' learning curve as cybersecurity tactics evolve.
Ultimately, these steps render an organisation agile and adaptable. A mature business continuity plan ensures alignment between technology, processes, personnel, and operations, enabling the organisation to swiftly respond to emerging crises and adapt to evolving situations.
Making technology work for you
The role of technology in ensuring business continuity is pivotal. Organisations are investing in digital solutions not only to ensure continuity but also to drive growth, enhance responsiveness to demand, and improve customer communication. Digital strategies have proven beneficial for business continuity and transformation in different industries and sizes of organisation:
- Healthcare: Mission-critical connectivity and rapid response times are paramount in healthcare. As-a-service models and cloud-native platforms are enabling fast and secure access to critical applications for healthcare providers.
- Small Business: Small businesses are adopting secure server virtualisation and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions to efficiently support remote work and maintain productivity.
- Call Centres and Schools: Call centres and educational institutions are relying on solutions such as IAP-VPN and Remote Access Points (RAPs) to ensure secure access to resources and maintain operational responsiveness.
Be ready for the new normal
Ultimately, the outcome of comprehensive business continuity assessment and implementation often results in a shift towards a new normal, fostering innovation, breakthroughs, and even the emergence of novel business models.
Read more about the need for business cyber insurance.