Business resilience is a phrase that is being used more and more in the business world. In many ways, it is replacing “disaster recovery.” This is a good change for businesses; disaster recovery is reactive. You wait until a disaster occurs and then you recover from it.
Business resilience is a proactive approach to keeping your business healthy and thriving in the face of adverse events. It accepts that there are going to be disruptions and interruptions in the function of your company, and it gives you a chance to prepare for and react to those inevitable events.
How do you make your business more resilient?
Understand potential threats
When we talk about disaster recovery, we look at big events. Your base of operations gets flooded during a hurricane or destroyed during a wildfire. Your entire system is taken down by a ransomware attack. These threats are real, and businesses close because of them. In fact, FEMA says that if small businesses do not resume operations within 5 days, 90% of them will fail to reopen at all.
But when we talk about business resilience, we talk about a broader range of problems. Less serious (but just as harmful!) data attacks, unexpected downtime, political unrest that affects workers or supply lines, and IT or telecom outages are all possible events that can have a serious and immediate effect on business operations. Keeping your company up and running as much as possible is crucial; according to IDC, 90% of business experienced a severe business disruption of some kind in 2017, and 20% of them experienced a permanent loss of customers due to the incident.
Make sure your data is offsite
While there are plenty of reasons to store your data onsite, having offsite data is a necessity at this point. With cloud backup and recovery options, there’s absolutely no reason to rely on just one method of backup and data access. In fact, you should discuss how your backup provider backs up your data, just in case. Most data storage providers have multiple locations for storage; they too need to be prepared for a potential disaster.
Prioritize restoring company operations
So the worst has happened and your business has had a complete interruption. Everything is down and you need to get everything up and running again. How do you do that?
It’s important to prioritize your reactions and customize those reactions to different scenarios. If you have a breakdown in your supply chain, for example, you need to be able to immediately notify your customers of any likely delays even as you contact secondary suppliers who may be able to meet your needs and minimize the timeframe of interruptions. If your building and technology are destroyed in a natural disaster, what is your first priority in terms of getting access to your information and getting your operations back online?
Knowing these details will help you smoothly activate plans as necessary.
Get a third-party evaluation
Once you think you have built resilience into your business, it’s a good idea to sit down with a third party who specializes in information technology and who can go over your plan with you. Sometimes when we work with our own data every day, we don’t realize everything we’re using, which makes it easy to leave holes in our recovery plan. A third party can come in with fresh eyes and show us what we’re missing.
When you build a resilient business, you’re making sure that your company can survive in the face of many different dangers. You’re creating an approach that isn’t just reactive, it’s proactive. You’ll be in the best possible place to face down whatever comes your way – because something always will.
You can also do a risk impact analysis, looking at potential threats, their probability, and the impact on people, property, and your business. This enables you to create a framework around the true risks that you may encounter.