Your business provides a valuable service to your customers. It must or you wouldn’t be in business. When you have circumstances which interrupt your service then your customers are effected and even more import their customers are effected. Your customers understand to a point that “shit happens” but they have to look out for themselves. If your service interruption effects their customers significantly they will be forced to consider other solutions.

An absolutely uninterpretable business service is impossible. Or better stated, it is impractical. You must prioritize which parts of your business you want to make less interpretable. You should focus on these priorities until you are satisfied. Then move on to the lower priorities.

To provide an uninterpretable service you must consider all the possibilities of interruption. Weather related issues like power failure, flood, tornado, etc. Human resource issues like someone is sick or dies or simply disappears for whatever reason. Infrastructure issues like equipment or software failure. In most cases redundancy is the strongest defense. Having an alternate facility, duplicate equipment and depth of resources is a great concept but often too costly. You must come up with creative ways to have something close to full redundancy without having the additional cost of it. Using an outsource firm is an effective way to handle certain functions on a regular basis with some plan in place for them to handle other services should it become necessary. Typically it’s some combination of all these that’s the best solution.

Explaining your business continuity plan to your customers is important. They will appreciate your policy and understand the additional costs that it requires.

Creating a business continuity plan and implementing one are two different things. An untested business continuity plan is purely academic. Just like any other business process, knowing what to do and doing it are quite different. You should work through your business continuity procedures and mimic reality as close as practical. Don’t create a flood but do consider everything that would happen in a flood and determine how you will work around it and do it for some test period.

In summary, you should identify the threats, prioritize them, define procedures to work around the situation and perform the procedures for a test period. Then do it all over again until you are comfortable that you have a plan in place which will provide business continuity for your operations.

Steve Cantor

Brewer of live culture, creator of technological evolution, music lover and coffee drinker! Native Memphian providing his city with access to optimal technological processes.