Houstonians know the end of summer means more than relief from the heat. Instead, it signals the time to stock up on bottled water, batteries, candles, non-perishable foods, and other hurricane supplies.
Did you know that you can also prepare your business for hurricane season?
Yep, business continuity and disaster recovery plans are serious elements of any business operating in our area of the country. However, it’s important to realize that proactive planning is critical. This is especially true if you want a business continuity plan that will really work.
What Is Business Continuity?
Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process of preparing your business to keep operations running in the event of an emergency. In comparison, disaster recovery considers what is necessary to get operations back to normal after an emergency.
Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) combines the protocols to continue operations and to get back up and running should you be forced to temporarily close.
While business continuity and disaster recovery are not the same, the two go hand in hand. Which is why they are often lumped together in the acronym BCDR.
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5 Reasons Why You Need A Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan
Not all businesses are required to follow compliance regulations. However, many business owners choose a BCDR plan simply to protect their business. Here are some of the most common reasons to implement a BCDR plan.
1. Meet Your Client’s Most Important Deadlines
While it would be reasonable to halt operations during an emergency, that may not always be an option. Depending on your clientele, they may be relying on you to meet your deadline so they can meet theirs.
Especially for online-based businesses, your clients could literally be scattered all over the globe. This means the situations that arise due to your specific geographic region may not affect your clients at all. We do hope that they will all be sympathetic to your delays. However, many would prefer to outsource to a business they can always count on.
For the sake of your business’s reputation and your client’s loyalty, implement a business continuity plan that will position you as the reliable go-to service provider.
2. Keep Cash Flow Flowing
Whether you’re running a one-person operation or have employees, cash flow is incredibly important. And there’s nothing like a Houston hurricane to interrupt workflow. But unfortunately, that means incoming money you rely on will also cease.
A sudden stop in cash flow puts business owners like you in hard situations. For instance, how will you pay bills, make payroll, and pay for any hurricane-related repairs?
Your best bet is to continue operating your business through your business continuity plan.
3. Prevent Clients From Running To Your Competitors
It seems unfair that while you may be wading through flood waters, your clients may be searching for a replacement for your services. Unfortunately, it happens a lot. These clients may be perfectly happy with your performance, and you’ve done your best to sustain a great working relationship. But when someone wants something done by a certain time, loyalties can fly out the window.
Moreover, if a client lands in one of your competitor’s inboxes, you may have lost them for good. After all, wouldn’t you stick with the service provider who helped you out of a bind?
Protect your client list, cash flow, and brand presence with a steadfast business continuity plan.
4. Your Services Are Crucial During An Emergency
While most of the city is boarding up windows and evacuating, emergency personnel need their boots on the ground. But to offer effective emergency services, your business needs to stay connected to those around you.
For instance, the Texas Medical Center has over 9,000 patient beds. To successfully keep all patients and essential workers safe during an emergency, it’s imperative to have a well thought out and tested BCDR plan in place. Disasters are not the time to figure out if your backup plan works. Instead, you must run through every possible scenario and ensure all components of your plan are efficient.
5. Remain In Compliance Of Your Industry’s Regulations
So many industries fall under regulatory compliance requirements. Does yours?
If so, you’ll need to read the fine print to ensure your business continuity plan will keep you compliant in the event of a hurricane or other emergency. Whether your business centers around finance, healthcare, or something else with strict regulations – you should always avoid falling out of compliance.
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BCP & BCDR Compliance Authorities & Regulations
While there are many reasons you should consider BCP and BCDR plans, not everyone has the option to decline. Several industries have overseeing authorities that require these plans to be in place at all times.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 (HIPAA) was created to protect individual patients’ healthcare information from being disclosed without their consent. This set forth a list of regulations that healthcare workers must follow.
According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in regards to HIPAA, “a covered entity must conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities…assess the relative criticality of specific applications and data…establish procedures to enable continuation of critical business processes for protection of the security of electronic protected health information while operating in emergency mode [and] to restore any loss of data.”
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a nonprofit authorized by the government to oversee U.S. broker-dealers to ensure a fair market for everyone.
It’s not hard to understand that anyone in the finance industry who is trusted with other people’s money is under a lot of pressure to keep it safe. However, a natural disaster could create a vulnerability in a business’s system, making it easier for criminals (both cyber and physical) to take advantage.
To ensure the integrity of our rapidly evolving market while protecting investors, FINRA has established BCP rules and guidelines for financial institutions to follow.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that sets international standards for businesses and educational institutions around the world.
While ISO does not provide certification, there are ISO-approved organizations that do. Not only does an ISO certification build a business’s credibility, but some organizations will only work with others who have the certificate.
Since Houston is home to 1,700 foreign-owned companies and has trading relationships with over 200 countries, the ISO guidelines are incredibly important. And, of course, a BCP is at the top of the protocol list for any business that wants to be ISO certified.
BITS Keeps Our Clients Compliant & Secure With Optimized Productivity
Whether or not your industry requires your business to have a BCDR plan, it’s a risky move not to explore your options. Otherwise, the next hurricane season could very well close your business for good.
Rather than cross your fingers or make a hail mary drive through flooded waters, get your BCDR plan together now. Brooks IT Services can guide you through the process of developing your plan and run through crisis scenarios to ensure it’s up for the challenge.
From BCDR to cybersecurity and optimizing systems, Brooks IT Services is your one-stop solution for comprehensive network and equipment support. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business succeed.