What if you had to leave your business in 30 seconds and couldn't come back for a month, if ever? Most executives respond with a shrug and a comment to the effect of “We'll cross that bridge when we have to,” according to TechRepublic member Eric Beser, CEO of Ennovate Inc., an Owings Mills, MD, consultancy providing IT and business continuity services.
Many companies, large and small, are woefully ill prepared to meet disaster head on. To prove this point, Beser cites a Gartner research finding that 50 percent of all businesses fail after experiencing a major disruption. He also notes that news outlets reported that 45,000 businesses ceased operations after the attack on the World Trade Centers.
A certified Business Continuity Planner through the Disaster Recovery Institute, Beser recently edited and published an e-book on disaster recovery, A Guide to the Perplexed Business Owner: Helping Your Business Survive the Unexpected Shutdown.
The e-book is available as a TechRepublic download as well as at the Ennovate Inc. Web site.
What the book provides
At 100-plus pages, the guide offers practical discussions and templates to help executives create a disaster recovery plan. The guide includes:
- Ways to identify and address immediate risks.
- Processes, policies, and procedures related to disaster planning.
- Ideas for determining which business processes are most essential for operations.
- Templates to help with analyzing business impact in the event of disaster.
- A sample contingency plan.
Along with articles, checklists, and templates, the guide includes tips on topics such as:
- How to understand risks and dependencies that could affect your business.
- How and when to test and update the plan.
- Who to make the plan available to.
- What to plan for, including designated emergency meeting places and successor planning in the event that a key staff person is unavailable.
- Why disaster recovery is more than an IT problem.
Business continuity isn’t just an IT issue
Ultimately, the e-book helps IT and other department leaders understand that business continuity has to be part of an organization's business plan. Developers tend to see business continuity as a technical problem and, in their planning, overlook underlying business processes that the company depends on, said Beser.
Planning for disaster can ensure that even in a catastrophe, your business can keep operating with minimal effect to customers.
"Most business or organization leaders recognize the cost of keeping their business running, and organizations see an immediate return on investment across the entire organization from IT to operations and logistics," said Beser. The same is harder to show in disaster recovery planning. But in creating a plan, you can weather a variety of transitions—from moving the corporate headquarters to the merger and acquisition process—or survive a system conversion without losing a customer.
"Regardless of the business size or industry, we’re confident that organizations will gain a new awareness for business preparedness [by reading the e-book],” said Beser.