It's Time to Think About Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Up until 2020, business continuity and disaster recovery plans were mostly a matter of “what if?” What if disaster strikes? What if our team can’t come to the office? What if a large part of our team is absent at the same time?
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, “what if?” became “what now?” Nobody was fully prepared for the sheer scale of this disruption, and leaders had to think fast if they wanted to keep their companies afloat.
Now that things are somewhat calmer, it’s the ideal time to revisit your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. By making plans now, you can be prepared if something does happen to disrupt your business such as wildfires, floods — or even the next pandemic.
Flexible teams are the key to business continuity and disaster recovery
One of the main lessons learned during the pandemic was that flexibility can help minimize the effects of any disaster. Remote working saved lives while allowing companies to conduct business, and flexible teams were able to cater to the changing needs of customers.
So, how can you make your team even more flexible and resilient? Here are some suggestions to consider right now.
1. Review your business continuity and disaster recovery plans
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, “what if?” became“what now?”
System designers often use a technique called stress testing, where they simulate the worst-case scenario and see what happens. The pandemic was the ultimate stress test your business continuity and disaster recovery plans, especially if you were unlucky enough to experience some of the other natural disasters that occurred.
But a stress test can provide you with valuable data about what’s working and what needs improvement. Talk with your team and learn more about their experiences during the pandemic. Did they have all of the tools they needed? Could they stay in touch with clients and colleagues? What obstacles stood in the way of business as usual? Questions like this will help you evolve your business continuity planning and recovery strategies.
2. Invest in a flexible IT structure
Remote work was a lifesaver during the pandemic. Not only because we could jump on a Zoom with colleagues, but because we had secure cloud access to crucial systems. Now is a good time to look at ways to add even more flexibility to your IT infrastructure. Are all of your cloud systems available through the cloud? Does your team store all documents on a cloud drive?
Of course, when you upgrade your IT infrastructure, you must also upskill your people. Well-trained staff will help you get the most out of your IT infrastructure. They will also be able to manage any technical problems by themselves – which is helpful if they are ever unable to access IT support.
3. Keep training staff on security protocols
Cybersecurity and data protection were major concerns during the pandemic, with over 20% of employees experiencing a security threat. Remote workers are more vulnerable than in-office staff, because they don’t have the protection of the office firewall or protected network. These days, business continuity and disaster recovery planning must include regular cybersecurity training.
Think of cybersecurity training as the ultimate firewall. When your team is educated and empowered, they will find it much easier to avoid common hacker techniques such as phishing. And, if they do run into problems, they will be able to raise the alarm much faster. Security training is the most effective way to protect client data and other sensitive information.
4. Make sure that HR plays a role in planning
For businesses, one of the most challenging parts of the pandemic was dealing with compliance changes. A whole raft of state, local, and federal legislation appeared quite suddenly, and all of these changes resulted in a ton of additional paperwork. Something similar may happen again if there is ever another protracted disaster that impacts business.
It’s a good idea to have someone in the HR team who’s ready to lead the way on compliance, especially as it relates to employees. This is not an easy job – last time around, it involved answering questions like how to administer furlough schemes, who counts as an essential worker, what are the correct OSHA protocols, and how to implement a vaccine mandate. Make sure HR is involved in the planning stage, so you can anticipate potential compliance issues.
Related reading: Vaccination Policy: What Every Employer Needs to Know
5. Think about resource planning in the next pandemic
Many disaster recovery plans assume that workers will still be available to log in remotely, but this may not always be the case. You might have to deal with chronic absence levels, or some of your team might find themselves without electricity or internet.
It’s a good idea to think about what you’ll do if there is a variation in staff levels. In different scenarios, you may activate different plans. For instance, if half of the team is missing, you might shut down some units entirely and focus the remainder of the team on delivering your essential business functions.
Planning ahead for good times and bad
Flexibility isn’t just about preparing for disaster. It also helps when things go well – like when your business has to scale up rapidly. If you can adapt to any situation, you’ll have a resilient business that always thrives, no matter what.
Want to talk more about building a resilient team? Talk to our expert HR consultants to learn about human capital strategies for a brighter future. Set up a no-obligation consultation call today.