March 1, 2013 Phone Systems The first day of spring is this month, and we can’t wait for new blooms, fuller trees and rising temperatures to arrive. But just because the weather is about to get warmer in most regions of the U.S. doesn’t mean your business continuity planning should stop now that the threat of a winter storm is subsiding. Yes, heavy snow can cause outages, hinder your ability to make it to the office and negatively impact work productivity. But there are also other common occurrences, such as a downed power line or hardware malfunction, that can occur at any time throughout the year, interrupting your access to critical data, Internet and communications resources. That’s why developing and implementing a business continuity strategy has become a necessity and is no longer just “nice to have”. Companies need to maintain a tested business continuity plan year-round that takes into account all types of events so there’s no chance of losing potential revenue, disrupting productivity or experiencing compromised data. How you plan and care for your organization’s ability to stay running during a disruption will depend on many factors, including your location, industry, size and infrastructure. For instance, if most of your data is in the Cloud, your concern will be on making sure your connectivity is never down so you can always access your data. However, if your data center is premise-based, you’ll focus on ensuring that all of your information is backed up and stored appropriately. Regardless of your company’s unique needs, every organization should do the following when it comes to creating a business continuity plan: Understand and list your most critical functions – Assess how your organization performs business every day. What critical functions do you need to operate at a basic level? What capabilities can you not live without? Assess the impact of disruptions – If your critical functions go down, how will your business be impacted: Lost revenue? Costs of operational and recovery expenses? Privacy breeches? Identify the threats most likely to cause disruptions – Some threats may be seasonal and some may be present throughout the entire year. Identify them all. What are the internal factors likely to cause disruptions? What are the external ones? There’s quite a bit to analyze when building a business continuity plan for your organization, but these three basic points should be at the core of your initial focus regardless of industry, location or season. Remember: Even after you’ve built and implemented your business continuity plan, there’s still work to be done. Your business continuity strategy should be proactively tested on a regular basis and reassessed every six months or during a major change (merger, adding a site, employee turnover, etc.). If you need assistance with business continuity planning, check out ETA’s upcoming Business Continuity Lunch & Learn by clicking here. At this Lunch & Learn, attendees will not only gain an overview of the latest business continuity “as a Service” technologies, but you’ll also hear from a seasoned business continuity and disaster recovery expert who has over 12 years of experience in helping businesses protect access to their critical data and technology resources. For more information on anything we’ve discussed, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.