Business Continuity Plan
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan is a framework that details what will happen in the event of a disruption to business operations. It is part of an emergency management policy that connects the emergency response phase to the recovery phase.
Start with an evaluation
Creating a business continuity plan requires a thorough evaluation of the impacts disruption may have to every aspect of the business, from people to processes to supply chains. It provides a way to respond to and mitigate potential emergencies. Threats to continuous operations include such events as natural disasters, supply chain failures, cyber-attacks, the loss of a key employee, and, especially, pandemics.
Deal with the unexpected
Fundamentally, a good business continuity plan helps an organization face the unexpected. In most scenarios, solutions involve maintaining system redundancy, failover, and workplace recovery, and IT infrastructure is central to them all. From offsite backup to cloud partner platforms to remote access, every aspect must be carefully evaluated and strengthened.
Test, maintain, and update
And not only should an organization have a business continuity plan in place, but it needs to test, maintain, and update the plan. Such maintenance requires time and dedicated resources, which are necessary expenses when it means staying in business. Analysts say that continuity planning is an active and recurrent process rather than a one-time project that’s forgotten once completed. Without that effort, the plan may actually end up being the weakest link in recovery efforts.
Modern Organizations Must Plan for Disruptions
To remain successful, resilient companies prepare to handle disruptive events and keep operations running with business continuity planning. With a formal business continuity plan, organizations ensure that they can continue to function under any circumstances. Being prepared in advance can mean the difference between being able to restart operations and coming to a standstill.
How business continuity plans adapt and change
Business continuity traditionally addressed operational recovery, requiring a formal potential risk assessment and a proactive buildout of solutions for each instance. But since COVID-19 struck, corporations have realized that they need a more elastic approach to preparing for future events.
Instead of simply ensuring that networks continue running and that people can access them when emergencies happen, the pandemic required setting up a stable network with the capacity for significantly higher numbers of people to log in remotely. And firms needed not only the underlying infrastructure to support everything, but also effective communication and collaboration tools.
In addition, a higher frequency of cyberattacks and ransomware threats has challenged IT departments to use the absolute highest level of cybersecurity across every access point on the network. That’s no small feat as more people work remotely and as cyberattacks continue to evolve. To meet this challenge, IT departments must also take into account the learning curve employees experience throughout cybersecurity’s evolution.
In the end, all these steps keep an organization flexible and agile. Rather than merely observing and reacting to disruptions, a mature business continuity plan ensures that technology, processes, people, and operations are all aligned so the organization can quickly adjust to emerging crises and adapt as the situation changes.
Why is a business continuity plan important?
The real question is what does a firm risk by going without a business continuity plan? Short answer: a lot and sometimes everything. Many have discovered after disastrous events that a failure to plan can mean the failure of the entire business itself. Going without can lead to a “game over” scenario. Lost revenue, lost customers, lost profit—the list is dismal.
But while most firms recognize the need for a business continuity plan, they often don’t consider what else is on the line. Without a business continuity plan, firms not only face the risk of being offline and losing precious revenue, they also risk the loss of corporate reputation and market leadership. It takes years just to make people aware of any given organization. The prospect of losing a hard-won reputation and a position on the leading edge of an industry is almost unthinkable, and its cost incalculable.
The prudent step to take is one best started yesterday. And while not all risk can be completely averted, a solid business continuity plan can ensure that the lights stay on and customers continue to be served.
How does technology help ensure business continuity?
Organizations are investing in digital changes for more than just business continuity. They are putting money into solutions that accelerate their growth, respond more quickly to demand, and communicate more effectively with their customers. Read below for a few ways digital solutions have helped with business continuity and transformation.
Healthcare: Mission critical connectivity and rapid response times are crucial in healthcare and emergency settings. With as-a-service models, hospitals and first responders are ensuring fast, continuous access for critical applications through “rapid-response” healthcare. Other solutions being used include cloud-native platforms that allow remote physicians secure access to patient record systems while meeting privacy, security, and other regulatory compliance requirements.
Small Business: As small businesses often face challenges to staying afloat, cost and efficiency remain paramount. Many have found simple, secure server virtualization solutions. Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions allow small business to navigate the demands of a secure and productive remote workforce. The best solutions deliver secure, efficient access to applications and data and support a wide range of user requirements.
Call Centers and Schools: As call centers support remote working and many schools continue to offer virtual education and distance learning, high-performance reliability to securely access records and resources is critical. Both are finding solutions that allow for anywhere education and maintain call center responsiveness with IAP-VPN or Remote Access Points (RAPs).
The ultimate outcome of business continuity assessment and follow-up is a shift to a new normal driving innovation and breakthrough, and sometimes even leading to new business models.
Business continuity secured with HPE solutions
Hewlett Packard Enterprise helps support operations and business productivity and planning and execution services to speed business results. Take advantage of HPE’s decades-long experience with infrastructure and explore their solutions below:
With HPE servers and software, you can monitor your local workplace and remote workplaces at the same time. Pre-configured HPE ProLiant ML and DL servers and software are easy to deploy. HPE Integrated Lights Out (iLO) server management software enables local and remote monitoring and management. And HPE SMB Setup Software, part of intelligent provisioning, provides a simple, guided process for installation that takes less time and reduces the chance of errors.
As-a-service models offer the flexibility of cloud with the control, security, and reliability found in on-premises data centers. By paying for IT resources and capacity as you use them and when you need them, you can reduce or even eliminate IT capital expenses and operations costs. In addition, with as-a-service models, IT resources can be expanded quickly based on business needs, and IT operations are simplified. HPE offers a market-leading IT-as-a-service offering that brings the cloud experience to your on-premises infrastructure with HPE GreenLake.
Small businesses can find several options to deploy virtualized desk interfaces and implement centralized storage and security, data protection, 24x7 availability, and optional archiving and disaster recovery storage. At HPE, our server virtualization solutions are built on HPE ProLiant servers with scalable and optimized processors.
Protect against attacks and quickly recover from downtime with built-in security features from HPE ProLiant Gen10 that reduce security risks and disruptions. Add peace of mind with backup and archiving storage options and protect data at rest with HPE Secure Encryption.
With solutions like these, you can be prepared for the threat of a shutdown with secure and reliable access to data with infrastructure and software that take into account the complexity and diversity of the infrastructure and variability of demand. HPE solutions allow you to assess evolving developments and find technology that can help with operational process sufficiency.