While every enterprise has written plans in place, such as the basic Business Plan, where company goals and objectives and the methodology for achieving them are established. Basically, it’s a road map to success and company growth.

BUT: If there’s one thing the last 21 months – since the start of COVID – has shown us is that every company MUST also have these have two specific written plans in place (please consult these pages on our website for details):
1) A Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
2) A Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan (BDRP)

As a Managed IT Services firm, and longtime member of the IT Support Los Angeles Community, IT Support LA has collaborated with our clients and set up comprehensive plans for Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan (BDRP) and the role it plays within the larger-scope Business Continuity plan, but the BDRP implementation lies almost entirely within the realm of responsibility of the IT Support people.

Business Continuity Plan

A solid BCP ensures that your business has a road path to survival in the face of any of a number of catastrophic events. These events don’t send you a ‘Trouble is on its way’ memo – they are typically complete surprises. We in California know all to well at least one big exception: fire. When a massive fire is uncontained and a half mile away, the idea that you may need to exercise your BCP should be uppermost on your mind. You cannot wait until the blaze reaches your parking lot.

Fire generally gives an advance warning unless it suddenly starts inside your own building – at which point, the actionable points of a BCP need to be marshalled immediately. This plan cannot just be dusted off and read through for the first time since it was written: It needs to be tested regularly – just as an office building performs mandatory fire drills.

Note that a BCP is not merely an emergency escape plan, although those elements that protect your workforce and get them to safety need to be included. Once everyone is out of harm’s way, the BCP should address with solid solutions any factors that would prevent you from immediately continuing your business operations.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed a comprehensive guide to writing and instituting a BCP, and it is available through their ‘Ready’ site.

Disaster can take many forms and it can happen to everybody or just to you. COVID and the ensuing lockdowns forced just about everyone to reconfigure their nosiness model into relying on a largely remote workforce. It was, and is, a big deal, but insofar as requiring a quick shift to enable employees to work from home, but there was a reasonable amount of time to effect the change. If there is a fire in your office building, and you must leave immediately.

If the fire destroys the building, your BCP should include where your staff will continue working. COVID did prepare us to be able to work from home, so office staff should continue working fairly quickly. Depending on your industry, other aspects of your enterprise need to be addressed, such as any manufacturing capabilities.

What happens if none of your computing operations are in the cloud and you have no cloud data backup system? If your local server melts in the fire, there may be no way to salvage your data which most likely will put you out of business.

Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

This is only the Information Systems part of your BCP, but it must be its own self-contained plan, arrived by close consultation with your IT support team, whether in-house or outsourced with a Managed IT Services provider.

Your BDRP plan will have ensured that the correct steps have been taken to safely backup and store your data safely. In the event of a disaster, your IT services people will use these backups to restore your network to full functional capability.

The most prevalent and common threat to businesses worldwide is Ransomware. An unsuspicious or untrained end user clicks on a malicious link or attachment in an email and it locks your system up, bars you from network access and encrypts your data so it becomes unusable to you. Then the perpetrators demand a ransom in cryptocurrency  before they will give you the decryption key.

At IT Support LA, we cannot count the number of businesses who became our clients after experiencing a Ransomware attack. Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon at all. Too many networks and backup systems are set up badly by inferior ‘IT Guys’. Hopefully, you have not experienced this, but they are typically the lowest price – offering the worst service. IT Support is not a game for amateurs.

Spend the money on a Managed IT Services firm. Your business may depend on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the 3 elements of business continuity?

1) Personnel Recovery: All hands on deck to continue working.
2) Recovery Procedure: Who does what – step by step.
3) Data Backup: Without restored data, nothing is possible.

Q: What should be included in a business continuity plan?

A: Each of these seven elements must be fully realized within any BCP:

1) Designated Team: Know who is in charge; know what each team member is responsible for.
2) Exact Details: No guesswork; Cover every contingency in fine detail.
3) Testing: The BCP must be regularly tested and evaluated; deficiencies discovered and corrected.
4) Communications: Must be clear, concise and effective.
5) Employee Safety: This above all else. Know your escape routes and local resources.
6) Continued Access: Employees must be able to continue working remotely.
7) Uninterrupted IT Support: Continuity of data ensures continuity of work. IT services will see to this.

Q: What is the best way to backup your data?

A:  These are the three essential backups:

Local Backup
Cloud Backup
Cloud to Cloud Backup

Q: Who should create business continuity plan?

A: This should be  developed with representation and input from every department head - especially Information Technology whether in-house or outsourced.