Small Business Owners: Do You Have a Business Continuity Plan?

business continuity plan
Is your business operational disrupted during snow storm?
In today’s challenging economic situation, you cannot afford to procrastinate in ensuring that your small business functions are all-operational. To ensure that, you need a business continuity plan.

Small business owners – here’s a question for you: Do you have a business continuity plan (BCP)? If you have, you are doing well in making sure that your small business is ready to run in any situations. However, if you don’t, you need to start thinking about your business continuity seriously – or else…

You are not alone, though. According to 2011 business continuity management survey, despite 82 percent view business continuity management as important or very important, only 58 percent of respondents claim that they already have plans for managing business operational disruptions.

The risks of power outages, earthquakes, cyber attacks, and any other disasters

Did you know that a cyber attack can bring down your whole organization in a blink? With a malicious code injected into your business IT system, and voila – it stops working. And as we connect everything into the IT system, our business operations are halted, naturally.

What about power outage? If you haven’t done any disaster recovery planning, let alone business continuity planning, your business can be disrupted. If it’s only happen in minutes or a couple of hours, the impact won’t be too severe; but how about it the power outage lasts for weeks?

Remember the earthquakes in Japan? Businesses without business continuity plan in place would suffer the most.

How to translate those into numbers?

An example: UK severe snow problems cost UK economy GBP 1.2 billion a day, with 2,000 to 3,000 UK small businesses could fail during the bad weather in 2010 winter season (Source: The Centre of Economic and Business Research.)

One more example – American business’ annual losses from power outages and blackouts: $80 billion (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.)

Will cloud computing help me?

The answer: Yes and no.

Cloud computing does offer the ability to bring your important business data and functions off-premise to the cloud, so that minimise damages due to, say, earthquakes.

However, cloud solutions themselves are not without potential problems. Amazon, one of the leading cloud vendors, is experiencing multiple outages in 2011 alone, risking business operational interruptions. Microsoft? Ditto.

Again, cloud computing for business is NOT disaster-proof. Even with your business goes all-out into the cloud, you still need to do business continuity planning.

You need business continuity solutions

It is obvious that you need a business continuity plan. According to the same business continuity management survey I mentioned above, 84 percent of respondents agreed that the plan reduced disruption. Moreover, 77 percent said that cost related to the business continuity plans development is offset by the benefits they offer to businesses.

So, how to ensure your business continuity? Let’s take business continuity solutions from Allstream as an example.

Allstream Business Continuity services can help you recover quickly from any disasters via its cloud-based recovery service. Allstream provides virtual replication of your physical server environment – all in all to ensure that your critical business applications are always available during any service disruptions.

Here’s a takeaway for you

In entrepreneurship, we often misinterpret “just do it” attitude with “happy go lucky” attitude. Many start a business without proper planning. While it’s true that many fail in entrepreneurship because they stuck in the planning phase, but jumping into entrepreneurship without proper plan to protect your hard work is simply foolish.

Again, you need to ensure your business continuity as you cannot afford to lose all of your hard work; you cannot afford to waste your months of doing extensive marketing campaign only to find that your business is unable to take customer orders because of your business IT system failure with no disaster recovery plan in place.

So, you should expect for disasters, disruptions and interruptions to happen and be sure you plan well BEFORE they happen.

Ivan Widjaya
Business continuity planning