Credit Benjamin Franklin for that priceless truth. Nothing that lasts and has value was created without a plan. Nothing, once created, grows and thrives without a plan, and that certainly includes your own business. Occasionally, a business is started without a real plan – perhaps just as a thought or a minor school project.

Such was the fascinating story of Mikaela Ulmer, founder of ‘Me & the Bees’ lemonade. She became interested in bees after having been stung twice in a week at four years old. She learned they were dying off and wanted to help. It was a lark to enter a children’s business competition with her grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe, but she was soon on her way.

She started with no business plan, but as her product slowly began to take off, she developed a marketing and sales plan and now that she is seventeen, her lemonade is offered in thousands of retail outlets across the country, including Costco and Publix, with a portion of the profits donated to bee research.

Most likely, this is not how you started your business. The two extremes representing how businesses start up are 1): Mikaela’s story, and 2): the avenue of developing the product or service with a solid business plan and projections for growth and finding investors. Most Small and Mid-size Businesses (SMBs) fall somewhere in between the two.

Somewhere along the way, planning becomes crucial – and you must develop several plans.

What plans should a business have?

Obviously you need an overall business plan which sets the direction, objectives, goals, and methodologies for the company. The Indeed Editorial Team outlines the 10 Important Components of an Effective Business Plan.

That is the ultimate ‘big picture’ component, but once you have established the direction for your business, you must have plans-within-plans to ensure your ability to maintain forward, uninterrupted momentum. This is where your IT Services provider comes into play.

The plain fact is: if your computers don’t work, your business won’t run.
The one area which many small start-ups ignore is that expert IT support, such as a Managed IT Services provider, is a major part of the plan. If you are using a garden variety ‘Break/Fix’ IT services ‘guy’ they will not be much help with creating a solid Backup and Disaster Recovery plan.

Cost containment is a critical aspect in launching a new enterprise, but your IT support is not where you squeeze that extra nickel. It’s like buying a new car and never checking the oil or the tires.

The main plan that MUST involve your IT services is:
A Business Continuity Plan. A major component of this plan is a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan.

Why is business continuity important?

Business continuity does just what the name implies: it is a plan outlining solid steps to continue business in the face of any type of disaster. A good plan helps prevent loss of money, time and critically - the business reputation. The longer it takes to regain equilibrium and the ability to conduct business, the more dire are the results and the more damage to the enterprise.

What are the 3 elements of business continuity?

The most basic elements:

1) Personnel recovery. The plan will list the necessary tasks and the chain of command. Employees will all have a part to play and must be well-versed in the actions they must take.

2) Procedural recovery. This includes a basic ‘Plan B’ – what procedures are altered or created in the wake of calamity, including protection of assets, both intellectual and hardware/equipment.

3) Data and computing recovery. This is included here but is its own Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. It will be needed in a greater disaster, such as fire, flood, earthquake, and others, but it is enacted after any cyber-attack. This usually falls to the IT services you use.

.com lays out the necessary components of a good Business Continuity plan HERE.

Why do you need a data backup and disaster recovery plan?

Without your data, your business is in pronounced danger of going under. Human error in response to a cyber threat, like a phishing attack, can let Ransomware infect your system – no matter how strong your Cybersecurity is. Now you must pay the ransom – unless you have secure backups. If Ransomware strikes, it’s a matter of shutting down the network, wiping clean any infected workstations or servers and reinstalling the data.

The same goes with natural disasters, hardware failures, and devices which are lost or stolen. The Backup and Disaster Recovery plan will include an Incident Response plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is incident response plan?

A:  An Incident Response Plan (IRP) is a part of the overall Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan, but it only deals with the IT support factors and procedures following an attack or data breach. With minor incidents, the IRP may be the only section of the larger plan that needs to be put into effect.

Q: What are the different types of data backup locations?

Q: How do ransomware attacks happen?

A:  More often than not, it is by human error: an untrained employee who falls for a phishing email and clicks on the malicious link or attachment that allows the malware into the network. IT Support LA has long been a proponent of ongoing Security Awareness Training for employees.

Q: Can ransomware steal data?

A: Yes – Some new strains of Ransomware can exfiltrate your data as the virus encrypts your data and locks you out of your network. This happens more frequently now.

How secure is your network?

As a reputable member of the IT Support Los Angeles community since 2002, IT Support LA offers a FREE, no-risk network and security assessment. It is a non-intrusive scan that allows us to deliver a comprehensive report that is yours to keep. No strings, and no obligation to ever use our Managed IT Services.

The best defense is the best Cybersecurity to protect your data from theft, and a top-notch Managed IT Services firm to ensure continued reliability and defenses against newly emerging threats.

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