As the day to day operations of companies across a wide range of industries become increasingly complex and reliant on many forms of technology, business continuity is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. With that said, though, maintaining business continuity is now more important than ever for companies of all sizes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what business continuity is, why it is so important, and what you can do to maintain business continuity in your own company.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity is the concept of keeping your business operating smoothly at all times and avoiding downtime where the operations of your business are interrupted. Most often, business continuity will refer to the technological aspects of your business. Most every other aspect of your business is easy enough to keep running so long as your employees show up when they are supposed to and do their jobs. When the technology that your business relies on stops functioning as it should, though, it can grind your entire operation to a halt in a matter of seconds. Therefore, when most companies talk about business continuity, they are referring to ensuring that the technology they use in their day to day operations always functions as intended.
Why Business Continuity is Important
From a productivity standpoint, business continuity is highly important. If your employees are not able to access the technology they need to do their jobs, the productivity of your business will drop down to almost zero for the entire duration that your technology is non-operational. This, of course, can come as a major roadblock to the various objectives and timelines that you plan on meeting.
Nevertheless, productivity is often a concern that is secondary to the most crucial reason why business continuity is so important – customer relations. Say, for example, you run a business that sells products or services online through your website. If that website goes down and customers are given an error message when they try to visit it, chances are most of them aren’t going to wait around for your website to go back online before they turn to another provider. It’s bad enough to lose out on potential customers, but it’s even worse to lose the business of existing customers who may turn to your competitors and stick with them from that point forward the first time you are not able to provide them with the products or services that they need.
In addition to costing you customers, gaps in business continuity can also damage the reputation of your brand. Nothing is more unprofessional than telling a customer that you cannot help them because your technology has malfunctioned or having a customer receive an error message when they try to visit your website. When customers choose a company to give their business to, they want to know that they are working with a capable, trustworthy company that will remain operational at all times. Failing to be such a company can cause the reputation of many businesses to take a hit that they may not easily recover from.
Potential Disruptions to Business Continuity
There is a wide range of factors that can lead to disruptions in business continuity. One of the most concerning and most common of these factors is a cyber attack. Cyber attacks can come in a variety of forms, many of which will leave your business’s technology inoperational for an unacceptable amount of time. Ransomware, for example, is a form of cyber attack that is growing in frequency in which hackers target small and large businesses alike with malware that renders their IT infrastructure unusable. Business owners hit with a ransomware attack are then given two options – pay a sum of money – a ransom – to the hackers to have the malware removed or deal with a disruption to their business they may extend for days, weeks, or even months. This, of course, is just one of the many threats to business continuity that cyber attacks can pose.
In addition to cyber attacks, natural disasters can also create disruptions to business continuity. If your data is stored within on-premise, physical servers, floods, power outages, fires, and many other natural disasters can leave your servers damaged or otherwise nonoperational. Having a backup and recovery plan is essential if you are storing your data on-site. However, even with an effective backup and recovery plan in place, it can still take time to get your system back online after a disaster.
Sometimes, technology simply malfunctions without anything as serious as a flood or a cyber attack to blame. This can be every bit as frustrating as dealing with a major disaster since you won’t know right away what the problem is or how you should address it.
All of this may sound a little bleak if you are hoping to make business continuity a priority within your business, but the good news is that most all of these disruptions to business continuity can be avoided.
How to Maintain Business Continuity
As we’ve already covered, maintaining business continuity in the Digital Age is all about ensuring that your technology remains operational at all times and avoiding potential disruptions to your technology. Thankfully, most all of the potential disruptions that you will face can be avoided with two, simple measures – cloud storage and effective cybersecurity.
Building your IT infrastructure and storing your data on the cloud as opposed to relying on on-site servers means that you won’t ever have to worry about things such as natural disasters or hardware failures taking your company offline. While it’s true that cloud computing providers must contend with the same threats, their entire business model is built around avoiding downtime at all costs. By relying on backup power supplies, fortified locations, constant monitoring, high-quality, well-maintained hardware, and more, cloud computing providers are able to guarantee almost perfect reliability – something that is going to be a struggle to achieve if you are storing your data on-premise.
As for the threat of cyber attacks, effective cybersecurity can all but eliminate the disruption risk that these attacks pose. Most hackers are only interested in easy targets. Unfortunately, cybersecurity is such a rapidly evolving landscape that many companies are unable to keep up, and easy targets abound. In other words, far too many companies are only protected against yesterday’s threats when cybercriminals are already working on developing the threats of tomorrow. The good news is, though, that if you work with a cybersecurity professional to bolster the security of your business and keep it maintained, you can ensure that your security software is always up to date and able to protect you against the current threats that your business may face.
If you would like to start taking a more proactive approach to business continuity through cybersecurity and cloud computing, we invite you to contact us today. At PDNC, we’ll be able to help you transition your business’s data to the cloud in the most effective and efficient way possible as well as help you seriously strengthen the security of your business in order to eliminate the risk of disruption to your business continuity. At a time when customers are always able to find new companies to purchase from in a matter of minutes and when constant productivity is more important than ever, business continuity is a key concern. Do what it takes to keep your business running at all times and you’ll never have to deal with all of the consequences that downtime creates.