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How to Update and Maintain a Business Continuity Strategy

Moneymagpie Team 22nd Jan 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a business owner, it always helps to have a backup plan for when things go bad, which can be unavoidable. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to anticipate challenges as they come in different forms, requiring unique problem-solving approaches.

One of the most effective ways to mitigate challenges is having a business continuity strategy. A business continuity strategy can help restore critical business operations in case of a major disruption, thus mitigating potential losses.

Read on as we explore the process of updating and maintaining business continuity strategies and some of the challenges you may encounter along the way.

What Is a Business Continuity Strategy?

A business continuity strategy is a series of steps to determine and select effective operation strategies for maintaining critical business functions during a disaster. These strategies are formulated in such a way that aligns with a typical disaster lifecycle, which can best be defined as the various stages a business goes through before, during, and after a major disaster.

A typical disaster lifecycle looks like this:

  • Prevention
    Businesses need effective, proactive measures to mitigate the impact of a potential disaster. The steps taken to this effect may include anything from performing risk assessments and making infrastructure improvements to implementing safety protocols.
  • Preparedness
    Even with effective safety protocols in place, organizations must prepare for potential impending disasters. Disaster preparedness typically involves training employees, creating and updating disaster recovery plans, and putting proper backup channels in place.
  • Response
    How an organization responds to disaster plays a crucial role in the outcome. As such, organizations must take immediate action to ensure safety and minimize damage. This may include implementing a disaster recovery plan, providing relief and support, and mobilizing response teams.
  • Recovery
    Major disasters can have damaging consequences to business operations. After dealing with the immediate threat posed by a disaster, organizations must restore normalcy in their operations or implement strategies to take operations to a new state. The recovery state may involve restoring IT systems, repairing physical damage, and implementing lessons learned from the disaster.
  • Mitigation
    Disaster mitigation is not a one-time process. It involves ongoing efforts to reduce the risks posed by a disaster and limit the potential risks of impending disasters. This can include everything from improving business infrastructure, revising policies, and updating disaster recovery plans based on previous experiences.

Effective Strategies for Maintaining Business Continuity

As businesses grow and expand operations, their challenges and potential disasters increase exponentially. As such, it pays to have effective disaster recovery strategies in place to ensure business continuity.

Here are some of the most effective strategies for maintaining business continuity:

Design a Proactive Business Continuity Plan
For a business continuity plan to be effective, all appropriate documentation and resources must be easily accessible in case of a disaster. As such, your business continuity plan must be focused primarily on providing unhindered access to all threat mitigation and business continuity resources.

Constantly Update Your Business Continuity Strategy
Businesses are constantly evolving, creating new operations or changing existing frameworks. Therefore, your initial business continuity plan may not work in the future once your business undergoes some changes.

In order to avert the dangers of not being adequately prepared, keeping your business recovery plan up to date and aligned with your current and future business operations is advisable.

Test Your Business Continuity Plan to Make Sure It Works
How effective is your business continuity plan? While it may look good on paper, it helps to test it out with realistic scenarios to make sure it actually works. When testing your disaster recovery plan, consider all possibilities, including possible disruptions emanating from smaller systems.

Properly testing your business continuity plan not only helps ensure its effectiveness but also lays the groundwork for further improvements. It can also serve as a training manual for disaster response.

Consider Storing Copies of Crucial Business Files Offline
Having all your critical business files in one location can prove detrimental in case of fires or natural disasters that would otherwise destroy everything. Therefore, it helps to keep copies of critical data offsite. While you’re at it, consider storing the files in a distant location, at least 150 miles from your primary location.

Empower Your Team
Your employees are the backbone of your operations. Hence, they should be properly trained to handle disasters and implement your business continuity plan. Without adequate training, they may not know what to do, increasing the possibility of further disruptions.

Besides training your employees, you should also give them the necessary tools they need to handle disasters and implement the business continuity strategy.

Common Challenges in Maintaining a Business Continuity Strategy

Despite their effectiveness, maintaining effective business continuity strategies can be quite challenging. This is especially true for small businesses without many resources.

The most common obstacles businesses face when implementing business continuity strategies include the following:

Lack of Resources
The purpose of any business is to make money. Businesses re-invest most of their financial resources to create new revenue streams and improve existing systems. Implementing a business continuity strategy may involve diverting some of these resources, which might slow business growth or put a strain on the business’s finances.

However, you can overcome this challenge by budgeting the costs of your business continuity program in a way that aligns with available business resources.

Lack of Executive Support
There’s a lot of risk-taking in business. That’s why business leaders do their best to mitigate these risks. Unfortunately, some business executives may be less inclined to spend company resources on a threat mitigation program for problems they don’t perceive.

That said, you can convince them by showing real case studies on dangers experienced by similar businesses and showing how your business continuity plan can help the business ride the wave, even in worst-case scenarios.

Create a Business Continuity Strategy to Mitigate Risks After a Disaster

Implementing a proper business continuity strategy can mean the difference between total business collapse and the potential for improvement, even when things go bad. To this effect, it is important to perform a comprehensive risk assessment of your organization. Ensure you also develop effective strategies to mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of business after a major disaster.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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