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June 9th, 2014

businesscontinuity_June9_BHistorically the months of June, July, and August are when the vast majority of natural disasters strike. Regardless of your location, there is a chance that your business could be facing a real challenge if something bad happens. In order to limit the potential damage a disaster can create, it helps to be proactive and introduce a disaster strategy. One essential element that you might find useful is utilizing your mobile device, and looking at the benefit of disaster apps.

Both Android and Apple mobile devices offer a wide variety of apps that users rely on daily. Because of this, these devices have become an integral part of our lives and would no doubt be on hand if disaster struck. The upside to this is that there are apps that can help you and your employees whatever the disaster. Here are four of the best types of disaster related apps you and your colleagues should download in order to prepare.

Weather apps

It is always a good idea to know what the weather forecast is for your local area. This can help you predict what could happen and even prepare your business should say a big storm be rolling in. There are a wide variety of weather apps out there and it can be difficult to actually pick which is the best to use. We recommend:
  1. The NOAA Weather Radio - Available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad users, this app is the official app for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. When installed, you can receive local weather forecasts based on your location and storm or severe weather warnings pushed directly to your device. The app can be found on iTunes and costs USD$3.99
  2. Weather Underground - This app is among the most powerful weather apps out there. Using a wide variety of weather stations and user submitted weather it is up to date and able to offer accurate forecasts. With a Weather Radio feature, and push notifications of weather alerts, you can easily track potential storms. There is also the WunderMap which has radar, reports and IR Sat views as well. The app is available for free on Google Play and iTunes, and is rumored to be coming soon for Windows Phone.
  3. Local weather apps - Many TV stations and weather organizations have localized weather apps that focus on just local conditions. If you live in a disaster prone area, it would be a good idea to see if your local TV station has a weather app, as this could be the quickest way to receive updates.

American Red Cross apps

The Red Cross has a number of excellent survival oriented apps that could really come in handy for when a disaster strikes. These apps provide tips on how to prepare yourself and your family, as well as buildings for disaster, and what to do during and after a disaster strikes.

The best part is that most of the information is available offline, so you will have access to it even if cell networks are down. Some of the apps even provide weather alerts that will sound even if the app isn't open, alerting you about any impending danger.

These apps are all available for free on Google Play and iTunes. The best thing to do is to visit the Red Cross website and look for the apps that are relevant to your local area e.g., if you are in the mountains the Forest Fire and First Aid apps may help. The apps are all free and can be downloaded by clicking the links for your device's app store on the Red Cross site.

Social media apps

Social media services could prove to be a good way to connect and communicate during a disaster. Try setting up a group for your employees to communicate and encourage them to use it when a disaster strikes to share information and enact plans. One of the biggest added advantages to using social networks is that the servers that host the service are located around the world, so the chances of the service being down is fairly slim. If you have Internet access, you will be able to access the service.

It would be a good idea to define which social network you want to use and establish your pages and connections ahead of time. Have each employee sign up for and join the group you have created and also download the app onto their mobile devices.

Google Public Alerts

Google Public Alerts is the company's alert platform that allows for the distribution of emergency messages and notices like evacuation notices, public alerts, and storm warnings. For users in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia alerts will appear in Google Searches, Maps and if you are an Android or iOS user, from Google Now.

Mobile users who have Google Now installed should see relevant alerts pop up when something happens. While you won't see alerts for absolutely everything, Google does a pretty good job at broadcasting useful information. On mobile devices, these alerts will usually pop up in your Notifications Center where they are easy to see.

To get these notifications on your Android device, you will need to download the Google Search app and activate it on your device. You can find it for free on the Google Play Store, and on iTunes. Android users can also download the Google Now Launcher which will add Google Now to your device's home screen, and can be accessed by swiping to the right from your Home Screen.

Tips for using your mobile during an emergency

Here are six tips to help you leverage your mobile device during a disaster.
  1. Install relevant apps - In order to be prepared, you should install the apps necessary to communicate during a disaster, along with a weather app and if necessary a survival app.
  2. Ensure your contacts are up to date - To be sure, you should periodically update your contacts. Should anything happen you will know how to contact people and have a higher chance of being able to get in touch.
  3. Ensure your employees have devices that work - Even if you don't allow mobile devices in the office, or employees to use their own devices, it would be a great idea to ensure that your employees have devices that are in working order so should they need to contact you, or vice versa, you will have a better chance of being able to.
  4. Establish procedures to follow during a disaster - This is arguably the most important preparation you can do. Take the time to establish procedures you and your employees should follow during an emergency. Include where people should meet, backup plans, contact suggestions and the roles you expect your employees to take.
  5. Keep your batteries topped up - Mobile devices rely on batteries to operate, and during a disaster you may be without a power source for an extended amount of time. Therefore, Minimize use during a disaster. Ensure your batteries are full, or charges as often and has high as possible.
  6. Invest in a good power bank - Power banks are useful tools that are essentially big batteries. You can charge them up then use them to charge your devices. Take a look for one that is at least 9000 MHZ, or higher. The higher the number the bigger the charge.
If you are looking to learn more about using mobile devices during a disaster, or how your company can prepare, contact us today. Learn about our services and how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 14th, 2014

BCP_May13_BYour systems and data are undoubtedly an important part of your business and to protect these valuable assets you should be taking steps to ensure that your data is backed up in case of an emergency. Looking into backup solutions, it is easy to see that there are a number of different backup options that support various solutions. From tape to the cloud, it can be a challenge to figure out what you need.

Three common backup options

When it comes to backing up your systems, there are three common platforms that are used:
  • Tape
  • Disk
  • Cloud
Some businesses use all three, while others stick to using just one. While each of these options do the same thing - essentially backing up your data - there are differences between each platform.

Tape-based backup

Tape-based backup is the oldest forms of data backup available to businesses, and has been in use since the mid 1960s. Many older, or well established businesses, likely have used this method for a long time, so they may find it easier to stick with it, largely because no infrastructure upgrades are needed.

While this method may seem a little anachronistic, there are still manufacturers creating backup tapes - most notable Sony, who recently introduced a new tape system that can store up to 185TB (terabytes) of data on one tape. That's about equal to the storage capacity of around 11,800 16GB iPhone 5s.

The vast majority of businesses using this system do so as a secondary backup. They use another system to back up their data, and then back up this backup data onto physical tape which can then be moved off-site and stored in a safe location, should disaster strike.

The biggest drawback of tape stem from the fact that it is an older method and it takes longer to back up data compared to other systems. The tapes themselves are also more fragile and can be prone to failure, leading to corrupt data and unreadability. Finally, if you do need to recover from a tape backup, you are going to have to do so in a specific manner, which means it will take longer to recover your systems than other methods.

Disk-based backup

Disk-based backup solutions use a variety of disk storage units to hold backups of your data. The most popular forms of disk storage used are hard drives or optical disks. Because these systems use more modern storage methods, backup and recovery can generally be carried out far quicker than with tape systems, and can be more reliable, especially if you take care of your systems and the disks the backups are stored on.

The added benefit with these systems is that hard disks are constantly dropping in price and increasing in capacity, meaning you can fit more data on fewer devices. This helps keep costs manageable, and may result in reduced costs over time.

Because disk-based systems rely on hard drives or optical disks, there is always the chance that your backups can be lost, ruined or even stolen. Also, many companies choose to keep these physical backups on-site, so if there is a disaster this could result in the loss of these backups.

To get around this, many companies have duplicate systems. They back up to different devices which are kept off-site. This redundancy can help ensure that your data is available, but it can be expensive to purchase multiple backup solutions.

Cloud-based backup

Cloud, or online-based backup, utilizes off-site technology to host your backups. Most small business solutions work with providers who host the servers in their organization. The business then connects to the servers via a network connection in order to backup their data.

The biggest advantage of cloud systems is that they are generally more affordable. This is because you don't need to have the systems in your office, which means you don't need to pay for the data systems and the upkeep associated with them. Cloud systems are also less labor intensive because they can be managed by your IT partner.

Aside from being easier to manage, backup and recovery is usually quicker with the cloud because you can set up a solution that continually backs up. As long as you have an Internet connection, you will usually be able to restore your systems in a matter of hours.

While the cloud is becoming the most popular backup solution, there are some drawbacks. You need a faster bandwidth connection if you want to be able to back up while also working. This may require you to invest in better network infrastructure, which costs. The other issue some companies have is that because this is a new solution, they may not trust that the solution is secure. The vast majority of backup solutions available have been designed to be secure and have become a viable solution for many smaller businesses.

If you are looking to implement a backup solution in your business, contact us today to learn about what solutions we have to offer.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 24th, 2013

The Boy Scouts are famous for their motto, 'Be Prepared'. And many live up to it. In an interview, Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts was once asked what they should be prepared for. His answer, "Anything". Companies should take this to heart, and always be prepared for every eventuality. One way this can be done is through Business Continuity - a plan or system that helps businesses get through disasters relatively unscathed. If you're looking to adopt a continuity plan, there's a few things you should prepare beforehand.

Here's four questions you should answer when looking into adopting a Business Continuity plan.

1. What systems need to be recovered first? A good idea is to request each department/role list their essential systems and rank them in the order they need them back online in order to do their jobs. From here, you can compare answers and rank them in priority. For example, If all roles say they need Internet connection back online first, you know that the Internet is the first system that needs to be recovered.

2. What do we need to assure customers of stability? For the majority of businesses, the customer is the lifeblood. However, most customers will only stick around for a limited amount of time before going to a competitor if your business can't meet their needs. To keep customers loyal during a time of disaster, you need to prove you are either stable, or working to get there. Some examples of this could be a backup site with basic functionality that can take the place of your main website if it goes down.

3. What do business partners require? Your business partners are just as important as your customers and are often the link between the two. With partners, you often have set requirements that you need to meet in order to continue order fulfillment and shipment. You need to be aware of what these are and the related systems. After all, how are you going to get your product to your customers?

4. Are there any contractual requirements with vendors? Businesses that work with suppliers or vendors often have contractual obligations such as payment due on a certain date, or a set product order volume to fulfill the contract. As with business partners, you need to be clear on what these obligations are, and how you meet them. For example, if you pay a supplier on the 10th of every month, most will expect payment on the 10th, regardless of if you are operational or not.

Once you have the answers you needed you can take a step back and try to come up with a timeline of how long continuity actions should take and what your priorities are. From here, you can draft an actual plan, or look for vendors that can work with your systems and provide a continuity plan or service that meets your needs.

If you are looking for a business continuity system for your business please give us a call, we may have a solution that fits with your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 28th, 2012

Superstorm Sandy, the recent storm that pummeled the Eastern US, brought with it a lot of lessons for all affected. For those in the IT industry the most important lesson was that their disaster preparedness may not be as robust as they thought. Many businesses will react to this by wanting to be better prepared for major disasters. This is positive action but it is important to stress that there are also a million little issues that could pose a bigger threat to your organization. One of those is password management - who is in control of the important passwords.

Search for Terry Childs online and you'll find a number of articles about a former Network Administrator for the city of San Francisco who is currently in jail for supposedly doing his job. His job, as a network administrator, was to manage the city's network. When he was asked by his boss for the passwords to critical parts of the network, he refused on the grounds that the request went against the established network policy.

Issues like this: One employee or vendor in control of vital passwords, can pose a big problem to companies, especially during times of disaster. Imagine if you work with an administrator who is based in New York, and they lost power during Sandy. What could you do if your network crashed, or you needed access to your system and someone else has all the passwords?

The most crucial factor is you shouldn't trust one person or organization with passwords to vital systems. We don't mean personal passwords to systems, we mean passwords to vital systems, like servers or Internet connections. If one person has the passwords, there's just too much risk. If they are disgruntled, they have the power to do some serious damage, and if they are injured or are no longer alive, you'll face untold amounts in lost profit, and fees in recovering passwords and information.

There are a number of things you can do to mitigate problems like these.

  • Keep a password list - It could be a good idea to keep a physical list of the more important passwords. This is an important document, so it's a good idea to not leave this one lying around. If you have a safety deposit box or safe in the office you can put the list here.
  • Set passwords to the position, not the employee - Many companies will often give passwords to one person who will be in charge of these. When they advance, or if they switch roles, they will often take a password with them. Instead, look at organizing this a different way around: Assign a password to the position rather than an individual so that when they leave the person filling their role is given this password instead.
  • Assign a person to be in charge of passwords - This is a good idea, especially if you work with Managed Service Providers. A person of authority within your organization should be the main contact person, and they should have copies of all passwords given to outside companies.
  • Change passwords regularly - To avoid having employees steal things it's a good idea to change your passwords on a regular basis. If an employee leaves a position and is in charge of an important password, you should take steps to change this scenario even if you trust the person.
  • Create the right policy - If you are going to share passwords, or have a limited number of people who know them, it's a good idea to create a policy that clearly defines: what position has access to what; what happens when someone leaves; how to recover passwords; how many backups will be kept; how and when the password is to be shared. Basically you want to ensure you aren't caught flat footed. With employees, confidentiality agreements that explicitly state what they can and can't share and the consequences of breaching the policy should also be clearly defined and followed.
  • Pick who to trust - Important passwords shouldn't be shared with everyone, and you should take steps to vet the trustworthiness of the person or company you will be giving passwords to. If you have an established sharing process, and a vendor you're considering working with is pushing a policy that is different from yours, it may be a good idea to look for someone whose policies are closer to yours, or who can work around your policies.
If you are in the unfortunate position of not having the passwords to your system, it's a good idea to get in touch with IT professionals like us, as we are often able to recover systems and passwords, or at the very least, reset them. After you recover your systems, it's a good idea to test for vulnerabilities, especially if the last person in charge had a tendency to not share information. We can help with this and any other concerns with password management and recovery, so please contact us if you would like to learn more.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 27th, 2012

Survival is an instinct nearly every creature has hardwired into them. You can argue that many managers or business owners feel this instinct twofold, as they fight to physically survive as well as for their business to survive. Because of this, Disaster Recovery (DR) - the act of ensuring your systems can be recovered after a disaster - has become an integral part of the survival of a business.

Here are four ways to ensure your DR plan is sufficient and company is disaster-ready.

Are your systems compliant? Many DR systems are licensed, and it’s important to ensure that these licences are both up-to-date and supported by all necessary backup systems. If you’ve added or changed components like a server or software, but not upgraded the relevant licenses, chances are your systems won’t be covered when disaster strikes. If this is the case, when you go to retrieve the backup, you’ll just get a license error; your data can’t be retrieved.

Another issue with DR software is that it’s often not used, lying dormant for years. You should regularly check and ensure the software meets modern compliance standards, is up-to-date and licenses have not expired. You should also be aware of how the software you use integrates and interacts with the DR software. For example, an upgrade to a new email server, may not communicate well with your DR software.

What’s the status of your backup server? As most DR plans usually involve a separate server from day-to-day servers, it’s important to ensure that they are functioning properly, usually by having the vendor test them. It’s also equally important to communicate with the vendors or manufacturers of the servers to ensure that the correct software/hardware licenses are in place and cover the function. If they aren’t, you could risk legal action or being fined.

Test regularly Regular tests are an integral part of a properly functioning DR plan. You need to conduct tests on at least a yearly basis to ensure all systems involved in the DR plan function well. From these tests, observe any function that performed poorly, or not at all, and take steps to fix or replace it.

Work with a knowledgeable partner DR plans and systems can be a complicated, almost messy aspect of business. While this may be, DR is crucial to the survival of a business after a disaster, and shouldn’t be treated lightly. To get it right liaise with DR experts to create and maintain a plan that meets your needs.

If you would like help with either implementing or improving your DR plan, please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 31st, 2012

The Internet is a magical thing; a gateway or connection to the rest of the world. Currently, the Internet is quick enough to do nearly anything without delay, and as such, companies have come to expect Internet connections to always be fast. The truth is, connection speed varies widely, and this can create problems for many companies.

Have you noticed that from time to time the Internet is a lot slower than it should be? If so, this could be because something is hogging all the bandwidth, which is the rate at which data is transferred in and out of one connection. Here are six of the most common bandwidth hogs.

  1. YouTube. If you allow employees to watch YouTube or connect to other streaming services, and they are using it frequently, you’ll notice a significant decrease in overall Internet speed. Some companies have noted that 40 staff using YouTube will account for over half of the total bandwidth usage.
  2. FTP sites. Some companies run FTP sites that host essential files that employees can download. When more employees are downloading/uploading files to the FTP site there’s less bandwidth available for other operations, so the Internet will be slower.
  3. P2P. P2P covers a large number of aspects including video conferencing and sharing of files via programs such as BitTorrent. All P2P services use an incredibly large amount of bandwidth when in operation, slowing the Internet to a point where speeds from 10 years ago were faster.
  4. Online backup. Backing up essential files will capitalize bandwidth leaving very little for other operations. It’s a good idea to conduct backups after office hours to minimize interruptions.
  5. Encryption. In certain industries regulatory bodies require a certain level of encryption, or for companies to take certain steps to secure data. Any extra encryption or security features will slow sites down, however this usually cannot be avoided.
  6. Spam/Virus/Malware. As many scams aim at stealing information the main way this is done is by sending the information over an Internet connection, that is your Internet connection. If you have viruses or other security threats you can guarantee that your Internet will be slower.
If you notice your Internet is slowing down at certain times, it’s a good idea to check and see if any of these six bandwidth hogs are in action. You can:
  • conduct a virus scan to look for malware;
  • ensure your computers aren’t backing up and if they are schedule the backup for later;
  • turn off or block any and all sharing services, and schedule video conferencing for times when bandwidth isn’t needed by other functions; and,
  • limit the bandwidth assigned to YouTube and other streaming services.
Before you tinker with any network connections though, it’s best to contact an expert . We may not just be able to help, but potentially provide an even better solution for you, speeding up your connection and your business success.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 25th, 2012

It seems that natural disasters are happening at a higher frequency than ever before. This could be because of climate change or the fact that news can travel around the world in seconds, or any other number of reasons. Business continuity - ensuring your business can stay operational during adverse times - should be an important part of your business. Many owners recognize this and take steps to backup their data. This is a good start, but it isn’t enough.

Here are five things you should be doing, aside from backing up your data, to ensure you're ready for anything.

  • Where to work. One of the first things you should consider is where you're going to work if your office is inaccessible. Hotels, convention centers or other office buildings are viable locations. Whichever location you pick, you should pick at least two different places, as far apart as possible. You should also be sure to inform your staff and include maps of the routes to the locations you’ve chosen.
  • Replacement equipment. It’s incredibly important that you know exactly what equipment you use and how integral it is to operations. For mission critical equipment (equipment your company absolutely can’t work without) you need to have a plan in place as to how you can quickly replace lost equipment, the cost of it and replacement time. For less important equipment, you should have a couple of vendors in mind.
  • Communication systems. During adverse business conditions it’s vitally important that you and your employees are able to communicate both with one another and with your clients. You should look into a communication system that’s flexible, can be established wherever you are and allows you to keep your numbers. VoIP is a great system, telecommuting is another option as well.
  • Coordinate staff. You’re staff drive your business, without them, your business likely won’t be able to run. With the continuity plan you develop, it’s important that you have hard and soft copies of the plan that are accessible to all staff, and staff know their role in the plan. When your plan is enacted you need to contact your staff and ensure that there aren’t any problems.
  • Access to critical documents. If you have a good backup location, can set up equipment quickly and staff know their roles you may think your plan is perfect. You’re missing one key element: access to documents, employees won’t be able to work without them. It’s important to ensure that you can access your data backups, which means you should probably keep copies offsite and in the cloud if possible.
A continuity plan is important, hopefully you’ll never have to enact it. Nevertheless, you should plan for the worse. If you’re unsure of where to start, or feel your current plan is inadequate, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 27th, 2012

Disasters happen on a daily basis. Sometimes they’re big, wiping out communities, other times they’re small, affecting one online machine or computer. No matter the size of disaster, it pays for businesses, especially small businesses, to prepare for the worst. The only problem is, many small businesses don’t prepare and pay the price.

When a disaster strikes, 25% or more of small businesses affected will fail. Why do they fail? It’s not because of defects in the physical location, it’s mainly because they didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure that their business’s technology and related data is protected.

Because the modern business relies so heavily on technology, it’s essential that businesses have a business continuity plan (BCP) to minimize the loss of vital data, or in many cases, not lose any data at all. This is an important asset that will, one day, minimize losses felt due to any type of disaster. Small business owners know this, but many don’t know where to start. If you’re one of these owners, here are six tips on how you can prepare.

  1. Establish a backup regime. Data backup is one of the most important things you can do, be sure to regularly backup your corporate files, servers and user data files. A truly prepared company will have backups in a number of locations that can be easily accessed.
  2. Ensure solid communication platforms. One of the first things people do in a disaster is try to communicate with each other to ensure everything is ok. You can guarantee that some customers and employees will be calling to check in, so you need to have communication lines that work.
  3. Train employees. A BCP plan is useless if your employees don’t know their role in the implementation of the plan. It’s important that you train your employees on their roles, and that you communicate with them your expectations.
  4. Contingency plans. Like storing your data backups, you should set up contingency plans with the involved parties in your business. You should know where to go to do your banking, what your vendors’ or suppliers’ plans are and how they affect you, and most importantly: you should have a few locations where you can set up your business if the physical property is damaged.
  5. Review and practice all plans. Everything changes at one time or another, maybe an employee leaves or you adopt a new computer system. This makes it important to periodically practice your plans, review what worked and what didn’t, and update accordingly.
  6. Work with an expert. Planning for disaster is a tough thing to do well, considering all the elements to focus on and work with. To ensure a viable plan for your business, working with a recovery expert can help ensure that you get a plan that works for you while taking the stress off.
If you’re worried about your business’s disaster preparedness, please contact us. We can work with you to develop a solution, or provide you with the information and contacts to set you on the right path.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 31st, 2012

With the increasing amount of serious disasters striking around the globe, businesses are taking steps to ensure that they can keep operating during an emergency and that their data is protected. Striving to protect your data by backing it up is a good business practice, and can help ensure your company will remain open and operational during adverse times.

Here are the three main types of backup you can utilize in your company.

1. On-site backup. On-site storage is the practice of keeping a backup of your data in the same location that the original data is stored. If you have an external hard drive that you back your computer onto and it stays in the office, this is a form of on site storage. The main advantage to this is that if you need to restore a system, the data is right there and the backup can be started immediately. The main disadvantage is that if there’s a disaster, your backup data will most likely be gone.

2. Off-site backup. Off-site storage is similar to on-site storage, typically using the same form of hard drive to backup your data. The main difference is that drives are stored in a remote location, away from your business. The upside to this method is that if something happens at your physical location, your data is safe. The downside to this is that it takes time to travel to the storage location, retrieve the data, backup your system and take it back.

3. Online backup. Online backup utilizes the Internet to allow you to backup your data. The backups are kept on hosted servers (the cloud) and can be accessed through an application. The main pro of this method is that you can quickly and easily recover your data from any location, as long as you have access to the Internet. The downside is that if you have a lot of data, backups will use a lot of bandwidth, thus slowing your Internet speed down.

Regardless of the method, you should be backing up your business data at regular intervals. The best solution is to backup your data using all three methods. Use on-site for short term data storage (less than 1 week), off-site for monthly, and online as your main backup. That way, if one goes down, you have it covered. If you’d like to start backing up your data, or would like to know more about the different methods, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 16th, 2012

If the past 10 years has taught us anything, it’s that many managers are woefully underprepared for disasters of any kind. We’re resilient though, and will always find a way to survive. One of the keys to a business’s survival during times of hardship is the Business Continuity Plan (BCP). A vast majority of organizations have one and believe it to be effective, but is it?

Here are six key non-IT functions and processes that need to be in place to ensure your company is ready to effectively execute your BCP.

Easy to use plans Many continuity plans have been developed mainly for the IT department, as such, they can be a little complicated to understand and follow if employees don’t have a technical background. You should aim to have a plan that’s easy to follow and can be understood by all employees.

Communicate plans Remember that your plan encompasses all facets of your organization. It’s crucial that every employee knows their role and the relevant actions to take when the plan is executed. To do this, you need to ensure that all employees have access to a copy of the plan and any changes or updates are clearly communicated.

Test plans Beyond communication, it’s important to conduct regular tests, with every quarter being sufficient. The tests should be as real as possible and span all departments within the organization. This will ensure that employees are aware of how they, and the systems, will react under duress. It’ll be beneficial to your business if the first time the employees execute the plan isn’t during an emergency.

Short term and long term plans Your BCP should consist of both long term and short term elements that can be easily adapted to meet changing business environments and the emergence of new threats. You should aim for an even mix of short and long term solutions that cover as wide a variety of situations as possible.

Ensure buy-in from all levels If you’re in the process of instituting a BCP you should ensure that the whole organization is onboard with the plan. If an employee is unsure about the validity of a part of the plan, take the time to find out why and ask for suggestions. An uninformed or uncooperative employee could be the difference between survival and failure in a disaster situation.

Update and Review After every test, staff turnover and technological update, you should review the plans and make changes if necessary. Essentially, if anything in the company changes, review and update the plan. Remember: just because you have an effective plan this month, doesn’t mean it’ll be so in the future.

Continuity plans are only as strong as the weakest link. In an emergency, the last thing you want is an employee following the wrong process or be unsure of what they should be doing. If this happens, you could see an exponential growth in recovery time and costs. We’re ready to tell you more, so please contact us if you would like to talk continuity planning.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.