Business resiliency is a hot topic for fast-growing small-to-midsize businesses. In the past, these conversations have largely fallen into two areas. The first is business continuity planning, which focuses on the high-level policy and planning organizations need to have in place for regulatory compliance—or to assure their board of directors that they’re prepared for a crisis. The second is disaster recovery—the strategies and technologies businesses use to get back online after a crisis occurs. Today, fast-growing companies are relying on new approaches, new technologies, and a whole new view of what it means to be a resilient business.
Business Resiliency Is Coming to the Forefront
Today’s headlines are full of potential crises that can impact your business. Maybe you operate in an area that experiences hurricanes or wildfires. Perhaps your organization is targeted by a hacker or experiences a critical hardware failure. The statistics show that small-to-midsize businesses can’t afford not to have a plan in place. The statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are dire: 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster. Of those that do, 25% fail within one year. And Ready.gov has estimated that 63% of companies don’t have an emergency plan in place.
In this day and age, you can’t afford not to have a plan in place. Without one, you run the risk of sacrificing everything you’ve built.
Business Resiliency = Disaster Recovery + Business Continuity
Increasingly, businesses are realizing that it’s critical to have both technology and planning in place. There’s a shift toward following a systematic, integrated approach that supports business resiliency. Rather than having policy and technology conversations in isolation, business and IT leaders are stepping back and working together to better understand their unique needs. These include answering questions like:
- What are the biggest and most credible risks to our business?
- What steps can we reasonably take to respond to these different threats, and to preserve, recover, or support the ongoing operations of the most important parts of our business?
- What does our technology design need to look like to support these plans?
- How can we systematically roll these plans out?
- How can we continue to update these plans over time to adapt to the changing environment?
Better Technologies Are Making Disaster Preparedness and Recovery a Reality
One of the most common questions business leaders ask about disaster recovery is what technologies should they have in place. There are a host of options, from simple cloud-based backups to full-featured disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions. In many cases, businesses may have assessed the market and determined that the solutions they found were more expensive than what they could afford. However, new tools in the disaster recovery and business continuity space are emerging every month. Now is a great time to assess your needs, budget, and the latest options on the market to put a plan in place. If you don’t have the IT capabilities in house, don’t worry—there are an increasing array of managed services that can help you recover from a crisis.
Choosing the Right Advisors
Often, businesses will work with experienced consultants to develop their business resiliency plans. Partners come in at a variety of levels, and asking the right questions can tell you if they offer the level of support you need:
- Can they support the full lifecycle of your business resiliency needs, from business threat assessment and response planning to evaluating and implementing technology?
- Do they understand your business, whether that’s having experience working with firms of similar size or in your industry?
- Are they willing to customize to your needs, depending on if you need a phased approach or an end-to-end implementation?
Build a Plan for Ongoing Assessment
Building business resiliency is an ongoing process. Your business evolves, technologies change, and new threats emerge. For example, organizations have recently begun to deal with attack loop threats. An attack loop happens when ransomware is embedded into a cloud-based backup, and kicks in when you have an emergency. Building quarterly or annual updates into your business resiliency plan will ensure that you’re using the best tools, have updated your policies to fit your changing organizational needs, and are on top of emerging threats.
Don’t let a disaster take you by surprise. Your employees and customers are relying on you to have plans in place to stay operational—even when the worst case scenario happens. Invest in your planning, technology, and response strategies now, so your business will defy the odds and continue thriving if disaster strikes. Ready to learn more about business resiliency for small-to-midsize businesses? Download our guide today.