We have learned a profound lesson in the last few pandemic-filled years. Global enterprise must have contingency plans for every circumstance, natural or artificial. Technological, cyber, social, and other factors impact day-to-day operations for a variety of industries.
Now that turmoil seems to be part of everyday life, businesses of all sizes have turned to continuity firms offering plans and tactics after disruptive events. A business continuity plan details how the enterprise maintains operations after any type of disruptive event.
IT consulting firms in the San Francisco Bay Area have developed an extensive portfolio of services every enterprise in the region can tap into. The region, which includes Silicon Valley, continues to be the world’s hub for tech innovation and start-ups.
Disaster can hit the well-oiled machine at any time and without warning. The Bay Area has experienced its share of lockdowns and natural disasters. The calamities have brought businesses of every size to the brink of collapse.
Disruptive events to a corporate structure can be long-term pandemic chaos or a one-time, temporary upheaval.
Too many businesses have the “it can never happen to me mentality.” Without proper planning, disruptions can cause serious harm to the enterprise. Bay Area IT Consulting firms continue to plan for the worst while offering excellent blueprints for future recovery. So what are some of these disruptions that can dramatically impact a business?
Forces of Nature
- Severe storms and flooding make the news only when it impacts our lives. Significant weather events are now popping up regularly.
- Extreme heat has placed monumental stress on power grids around the country. California continues to under-count the death toll and the growing threat.
- Earthquakes and tsunamis have either an immediate impact or long-term consequences. The hidden and unreported repercussions can take a profound emotional toll on employees.
- Telecommunication outages and internet disruptions cause significant harm to the enterprise. Loss of communications, email, and relevant news means a loss of clients and business.
- Transport and supply chain disruptions are now impacting every business, from global conglomerates to mom and pop shops. Supply chain issues have escalated quickly, with transport ships stuck at the port and no one to off-load merchandise.
- Loss of talent or the death of a crucial executive can render an enterprise helpless. Companies never want to think about losing someone, but they must plan for the event nonetheless .
Short-Term Solutions to Long-Term Challenges
After a significant disaster, enterprise leadership must act quickly to get their business and personnel on track. Rapid recovery does not lead to an overabundance of the Why, When, and Who analysis.
Enterprise leadership may not have the capacity or time to balance short- and long-term needs. Without attention and planning to the problems that caused the disaster, future vulnerability to the enterprise will only increase.
Unforeseen disasters, combined with unpredictable human nature, have added to the modern enterprise’s operating complexities.
Gartner has defined Operational Resilience as:
initiatives that expand business continuity management programs to focus on the impacts, connected risk appetite, and tolerance levels for disruption of product or service delivery to internal and external stakeholders (such as employees, customers, citizens, and partners).
Without an operational recovery plan in place, some businesses will not rebound.
The ability of an enterprise to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes may be the difference between success and failure. Destabilizing cyber-attacks and how fast they materialize is an example of the tragic events that have ravaged numerous enterprises.
Why Is Operational Resilience So Important?
Developing end-to-end strategies that adapt to the ever-changing environment of threats helps the organization to perform at a high efficiency when disaster strikes. For larger companies, the challenge comes from gathering and merging the myriad of information and divisions necessary to keep a business running efficiently.
Maintaining an active disaster situational plan is not only a wise corporate decision, but in many cases, a necessary one. In specific industries such as finance, FNRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) requires companies to create and maintain a Business Continuity Plan.
Regardless of the source, Organizational Resilience provides the overall processes and behaviors to continue operations. Business Continuity Plans offer a more precise, step-laden process to address specific scenarios. Elite IT Consulting Firms in the Bay Area have developed Business Continuity Alternatives that benefit companies of every size by addressing the various needs that need to be maintained regardless of the situation.
Differences Between Operational Resilience and Business Continuity Planning
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to responding to a disruptive event. Climate disasters, supply chain disruptions, cyber-attacks are just a few of the threats that can impact routine operations of any company. Unfortunately, these threats seem to increase daily.
Operational resilience encompasses the entire organization from cyber-security, to operations and finances. Continuity planning develops the set of procedures and instructions the organization uses during and after a significant disruption.
Both BCPs and Operational Resilience help the enterprise mitigate risk and avoid unintended consequences. Combining both plans into a cohesive platform gives the enterprise the flexibility it needs to successfully weather the storm.
Business Continuity Planning
Resilience is the ability of an enterprise to adapt and recover from known and unknown circumstances quickly. The goal of a resilient organization is to continue its operations through any disruptive event.
Effective continuity planning applies to the business itself and its ability to continue critical functions during and after an emergency event. Several types of continuity plans exist that can be tailored to the enterprise and its circumstances.
Continuity and Contingency Plans:
Each of the following plans is interrelated and implemented according to their disaster implication.
- Occupant Emergency outlines procedures for minimizing loss of life or injury.
- Continuity of Operations provides procedures to sustain an organization’s MEFs (Mission Essential Functions)
- Information System Contingency provides capabilities for recovering information systems.
- Crisis Communications Plan is a means to provide system-critical information and rumor control. It also reduces or eliminates the release of misinformation to employees or the media.
- Disaster Recovery provides procedures for relocating mission-critical information to a secure facility.
- Cyber Incident Response Plan are procedures that mitigate a cyber-attack.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan is a policy created to protect critical infrastructure components.
COVID and The Enterprise
Business continues to grapple with the pandemic, which has created a crisis of untold proportions. Fallout from the pandemic has been unprecedented. A Pew Research report found that 43% of small businesses in America have closed, or at least temporarily shut down, due to the pandemic.
It has become critical for the enterprise to implement continuity plans in the event of a health related disaster, no matter its size. During the pandemic, there should be mechanisms in place to protect the enterprise and its employees. Use guidelines from the CDC to prepare the organization for current health crises such as Covid-19, as well as any potential future health crises the world may face.
Here are some ideas for a BCP:
- Focus on resilience
- Know the Risks
- Increase Pandemic Preparedness
- Know the Assistance Programs
- Maintain Compliance
A Closer Look at Business Continuity Planning
When disaster strikes, the enterprise must have a defined set of step-by-step instructions to keep the business on track or bring it back up to operational speed.
Business continuity planning must include some of the following elements. Again, depending on the organization’s size, there needs to be a governing committee or document that formalizes the specifics of a disaster recovery plan.
Business Impact Analysis (BIA) serves as the foundation for continuity planning. This risk assessment phase enables an organization to measure the potential impact of a disruption. A disruption can be anything from a piece of equipment going down or a complete stoppage of the business for an extended period.
A risk assessment identifies the potential threats to the enterprise and any failure scenarios. This phase of continuity planning helps leadership understand where they are most vulnerable. Also referred to as continuity risk assessment, this should include scenarios that pose a direct operational threat.
IT Consultants in the Bay Area can be of immeasurable value during any of these continuity planning stages.
The recovery stage of any continuity planning is one of the most crucial. Recovering from any catastrophic event can be time-consuming if not well planned. Enterprise leadership must make decisions such as selecting backup facilities and key personnel who can access sensitive data if the need arises.
Once a complete plan is firmly in place, organizations should conduct a test run to find the vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The plan must identify every potential issue.
Any Business Continuity Plan should be robust and as detailed possible to ensure the company can restart operations as quickly as possible.
BACS IT Is Here to Help with Business Continuity for Your Bay Area Business
Our world has become complex, dangerous, and convoluted. Every well-heeled company that cares for its employees and customers must have plans in place to combat the dangers of unforeseen calamities.
Bringing a company back to full operations should not be just about executive compensation and golden parachutes. Millions of employees pour their hearts and souls into organizations they deeply believe in. Leadership needs to have the best interests of their customers and people in mind. For Bay Area business continuity needs, talk to the experts here at BACS IT. We understand the importance of keeping your business running, not just for the sake of your bottom line, but for your employees and their families as well.