As we’ve become more reliant on technology, having a business continuity plan has become more important.
Now something like an extended power or internet outage can completely close down a business if they don’t have a contingency plan. And a cyberattack can mean devastating costs that can put a small business in danger of closing for good.
60% of small businesses end up closing their doors permanently within 6 months of a cyberattack.
Business continuity plans can be daunting, and many small businesses in Framingham and Natick look at them as “something big companies do.” But the fact is that creating a business continuity plan is just as important for small businesses, maybe even more so to ensure they’re resilient no matter what may happen.
Proactive & Reactive
Business continuity planning is about being both proactive and reactive when it comes to unexpected events, both large and small.
Proactive measures, like using managed IT services to keep computers protected from cyberattacks, can mitigate the chance of a major operations-stopping issue.
Reactive measures include something like having a plan in place for employees to work from home if anything happens to make working at the office difficult or impossible.
Follow These Steps to Protect Your Business with a Plan
It can be daunting to think about putting a full business continuity plan in place, especially if you’re already busy each day. But by taking it step-by-step, it can be much less intimidating and provide you with a business-saving strategy in the event of a crisis.
Step 1: Identify What Could Go Wrong
The first step in creating a small business continuity plan is to identify the different things that could go wrong and cause your business harm or you’re your operations.
Think of both major disruptions, like a pandemic or ransomware attack, as well as productivity problems that may be smaller, like an internet outage of several hours.
It’s helpful to get as many minds on this as possible, because employees may come up with things you may not have thought about. The goal is to identify and prioritize by severity as many things as you can.
Here are a few common scenarios:
- Natural disaster
- Data loss incident
- Power or internet outage
- Unexpected loss of a major vendor
- Theft of devices
- Major snowstorm
- Data breach incident
- Major financial theft
Step 2: Identify Proactive & Reactive strategies
Next, you’ll want to come up with the ways that you would either prevent or positively react to the crisis events identified in Step 1.
For example, reviewing your cybersecurity with your IT provider regularly and addressing any vulnerabilities can mitigate any cyber attack or data breach related events.
Putting cloud software into place and a plan for employees to follow if they can’t work at the office, can help you keep operations running smoothly when it comes to multiple events that may impact your office or the ability to get to it.
Step 3: Review Your Current Solutions & What’s Lacking
You may already have some of the identified proactive and reactive tools/plans in place and there may be some that you’ll need to add.
This step equates to doing a gap analysis of the current systems you’re using that address the crisis items versus systems you’ve identified needing in Step 2 that you don’t have.
This is where prioritizing each crisis event is going to come in handy. Most small businesses can’t afford to put their entire business continuity strategy in place at once. They have to spread purchases of software, tools, etc. out over time. Knowing which items are the highest priority can give you a roadmap for your implementation.
Step 4: Create & Document Your Plan
Everything you’ve done up until now has been putting the pieces of your business continuity plan into place. It basically gives you a strategy for:
If THIS happens, then do THAT.
We need to do THIS to keep THAT from happening.
For each item you’ve identified in Step 1, you’ll want to document a plan so employees will know what to do in the event of a crisis and also what they should be doing on a regular basis to help keep a crisis event from occurring (such as using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication to help prevent a breach).
Step 5: Train & Test Your Plan
If you want things to go as smoothly as possible if one of the identified crisis events occurs, your employees need to be trained and drilled on the process.
For example, what to do in the case of a ransomware attack. You don’t want them to be scrambling for a plan they’ve never actually practiced when your business operations are at stake.
Train your employees on your business continuity plan and allow them to regularly test it through drills and practice.
Reduce Your Risk of a Breach or Cyber Attack Today
Many of the potential crisis events that can hurt a business involve a breach of cybersecurity systems. Make sure your business is protected with strong and automated solutions by working with Pro Tech Guy.
Contact us today for a consultation. Call 508-364-8189 or reach us online.