How do I ensure that my business continuity plan is efficient enough to be a worthwhile investment?




According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of small businesses go out of business when faced with an unplanned disruption. All it takes is a few inches of flood water, a car to crash into a power pole, a gas leak in your building or a neighboring site, and your business could experience a phone system outage that could last days or even weeks.

But even if your business does rebound, the costs of downtime can be great. Recently, the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council found that 38.3% of businesses lost up to $20,000 due to losing critical IT services (like phones) or data in 2014, with 10% losing up to $100,000 and 19.6% losing between $50,000 and $5 million.

A solid business continuity plan can help mitigate the impacts of an unexpected disruption. As you develop your plan, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the resources you have at your disposal and how technology can help maximize those resources. This can lead to increased efficiencies and cost savings beyond the business continuity benefits.

Use technology to cost-effectively fill resource gaps

In many cases, a big part of surviving a disruption will be making sure that you can communicate with your customers, partners and suppliers. If your communications and business IT systems (email, phones, file sharing, etc.) are fully functioning, the impacts of a disruption can be drastically minimized. But if you are using on-premises servers for services such as email, phones and files storage, your ability to keep those up and running during a disruption will be pretty low.

Moving your business IT services to the cloud brings with it the confidence that no matter what strikes, your systems will still be operational. A cloud service provider can offer a much higher level of reliability than you could achieve on-premises. Your IT staff won’t have to worry about maintaining servers and equipment in-house. They can focus on more important business initiatives.

Switching to the cloud shields you from downtime

Since cloud services reside in remote datacenters with multiple redundancies, local disruptions can have minimal impact. If the power goes out in your building or a storm hits and you have to evacuate, your cloud services go where you go. Employees can continue working, and your customers won’t notice any interruption in service.

With cloud-based IT services, only things your employees need are an internet connection and their laptop or mobile device. With a cloud-based phone system, workers can take their desk phone with them or route all calls to a mobile phone. Most clouds-based services also provide a certain level of functionality offline, so that workers can at least perform some functions without an internet connection.

To maximize your cost savings, try to get as many services as possible from one cloud provider. In many cases, they will offer bundled pricing. You can also reduce costs by choosing a provider that charges a per-user flat rate rather than one that charges by how much storage space or calling minutes you use. 

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