You Don’t Have a Continuity or Contingency Plan? What’s Your Excuse?

CaD-ZyBUMAAzIJ-Sometimes I feel like an Underdog more than The ProtectEr™ and Superhero some people tell me I am to them.

I get to hear a lot of excuses why businesses don’t implement full business continuity programs. When I say full programs I am talking about BCM Programs that cover the business in wide areas – such as supply chain events, reputational issues, good data backups, and workforce solutions.

Some of the excuses I have heard go like this:

  • I don’t have to worry because my data is in the cloud.
  • Our cloud provider takes care of everything.
  • We outsource, so we don’t worry about the manufacturing of our products, or our supply chain.
  • We’ll just set up a tent in the parking lot.
  • That kind of thing just doesn’t happen around here.
  • Our IT vendor will get us up and running again in no time.

Do any of these sound like you or your company? Those are real statements I have had come from past and prospective clients alike. The reality is if you have a business, especially one that you are passionate about, that provides you income that you need to live off of (which is most of us) yes, you need to worry about that. Let’s examine each one on a case by case basis.

I don’t have to worry because my data is in the cloud. First, it’s great you have your data in the cloud. That is an excellent first step to protecting your data. But, what if you lose your internet connection or telecommunications goes down? Do you have alternate means of communications? One of the things I always say is this – “You can have the best data backup plan in the world, but if you or your team and clients can’t access it, it doesn’t do you any good.”

Our cloud provider takes care of everything. Here is another one that we hear often. But, after we do a little digging or talk to our clients more and it turns out, data backups are not what the cloud provider is doing.

In both of these cases, we recommend a cost effective hybrid solution that stores data backups at the main site and in the cloud. This way the client is protected from communications disruptions as well as site-specific disruptions.

We outsource, so we don’t worry about the manufacturing of our products, or our supply chain. You may not be the originator of the finished product, but if your company or brand name is on the product, you need to worry about the final delivery, quality, safety, and reputation of the product. Any impact to these areas will be immediately felt by your company and its stakeholders. To think otherwise and you’re just doing yourself a disservice and you will likely be impacted sooner rather than later.

We’ll just set up a tent in the parking lot. Ok. Sounds good. Where are you going to get power? Are your employees willing to work 8 hours in a tent? In the rain? In the Snow? In the heat? How long are you planning on doing this for? Two or three days? A week? A Month or more? Where are you going to get a tent that size? Where will everyone park if it’s in the parking lot? What about bathrooms? Did you really think this through?

Now, I am not saying you can’t use a tent effectively. I am just asking a) did you really give this a lot of thought and b) You do know there are better more cost effective solutions right?

That kind of thing just doesn’t happen around here. It never does, until it happens to you. Floods, fires, earthquakes, crime scenes, break-ins, vandalism, it happens every day to someone. Better to be prepared than not at all. Let me give you some examples that have happened to real businesses.

  1. A Car hit a fire hydrant outside of a building. That building was owned by an antique book dealer. Damage to 1,500 antique books, repairs and restoration costs totaled $300,000.00
  2. Vandals cut fiber optic cables. Complete loss of ALL communications to an entire region including 911 services.
  3. Bad database upgrade. Transaction processing on the database idled for seven days resulting in the loss of two major clients.
  4. Normal systems upgrade resulted in orders being unable to be taken or products shipped for four days.
  5. Vendor/supplier had a fire in a trashcan inside of a clean room. Resulted in a Q2 operating loss of $200 Million.
  6. Power Outage. Trader Lost $70,000.00 by not being able to move out of a trade after the outage occurred.

Bottom line. Anything can happen to anybody at any time. Be Prepared.

Our IT vendor will get us up and running again in no time. I hope that is the case. Recently I worked with someone that said this exact thing. When we questioned the vendor – the response we got which the client was copied on went something like this: “This is not one of our biggest or best clients, and they do not produce a lot of revenue for us. If they are still one of our clients when something happens, we will get to them when we get to them.”

Not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear from your IT vendor is it? But, if you don’t get down to hard tacks and just assume they will take care of you without asking the right questions, this may be just the kind of response you get.

Now, I don’t run your business, and whether or not you implement a good solid business continuity program is up to you, in the end, you’ll wish you had. And either way, you’ll pay in the end.

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