Downtime and data loss are two terms you do not want to hear as a business owner. Regardless of the size of your organization, an accident, breach, or disaster that results in downtime and data loss carries with it big costs in terms of lost time, employee productivity, and money. Even worse, you may lose the trust of your customers going forward—causing them to look elsewhere for your products and services.
In today’s world, business continuity planning is an integral part of running and maintaining any company, regardless of size. Potential disasters await organizations practically everywhere you look. From natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and fires, to human error or an electrical short, with the importance of continual network connectivity and the data we store, even the smallest incident can result in large disruptions and losses. It’s easy to be complacent and believe that such things won’t happen to your business, but these types of troubles are common enough that an organization should not feel as though they are completely safe.
Therefore, what a Business Continuity Plan truly means is protection in the event of such disasters as those previously mentioned (and, of course, dozens of others), that would otherwise bring business operations to a screeching halt, causing crippling downtime and/or critical data loss. While those companies without a continuity plan are down for the count as a result of these negative occurrences, your business could continue to operate with minimal interruption to essential operations and productivity.
Advantages of Business Continuity Planning
There are countless benefits to effective business continuity planning. Clearly, the biggest benefit is the main reason for having such a plan in the first place: to keep your business up and running in the event of a disaster. If your plan does nothing else beyond saving your company in a time of dire need, it will have proven itself to be well worth the resources invested in putting it together.
However, there are other clear advantages to having a thorough business continuity plan developed by a professional I.T. consultant.
These secondary advantages include:
- Insurance companies may view your business more favorably.
- Many auto insurance companies give discounts to drivers whose cars have preventative safety features such as rearview cameras, collision detection, and alarm systems. Likewise, business insurance providers like to know that the companies they insure have plans in place to help them weather a disaster without crippling loss. If you can demonstrate to your insurance company that your continuity plan is comprehensive and up-to-date, they will see your company as a much smaller risk and be much more eager to extend to you the coverages you need.
- A better understanding of remaining security gaps within your I.T. infrastructure.
- The act of putting together a business continuity plan will be like giving your technology a thorough checkup. Vulnerabilities in your security structure or problems with certain procedures that are not obvious during day-to-day operations can be uncovered—and thus, corrected. The fact is, most companies do not have gaps in their protection because they don’t care; these troubles usually arise from simple oversight. Putting together a business continuity plan will help you fill in any holes that are leaving your company exposed.
- Protecting your company’s reputation, and maintaining customer trust and loyalty.
- Every time you perform any type of transaction with your customers that results in the transfer of any bit of their personal data into your hands, you are making an implicit promise to them that you will protect that data as readily as you protect your own. When data loss of any type occurs—even if the cause of that loss was an unavoidable natural disaster—you have breached the trust of your customers. And you can count on the fact that your competitors will be quick and merciless in reminding your customers of that broken trust when they reach out to them in the aftermath of your trouble. You may eventually be able to regain the confidence of the public, but only after a lot of work to prove that you have changed the practices that led to the downtime and data loss in the first place—an effort that will certainly include proving that you finally have a business continuity plan in place!
The Bottom Line
Go ahead and take that section title literally. Because your company’s bottom line will be impacted by data loss regardless of whether you hit a minor bump in the road or suffer a critical loss in which your organization loses all of its data. If you happen to be a small business owner, the odds of your company still being operational within six months after a data loss event is only 40%. Larger organizations have greater odds of surviving a catastrophic data loss, but the average cost of a major data loss event is approximately $5,600 per minute. If your heart is beating a little faster after seeing those numbers, good! That’s your body’s early warning system telling you not to put off planning for business continuity any longer. The trouble that could cause you to lose everything is not sitting idle, and neither should you.
The good news is, there is help available to assist you in making the best of the worst-case scenario. JMARK has decades of experience in helping companies of all sizes put together comprehensive continuity and disaster recovery plans. When you are ready to have a conversation with our seasoned consultants about how you can maintain a distinct competitive advantage with a dedicated business continuity plan, contact us by calling 844-44-JMARK or visiting JMARK.com.