How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Business Continuity Mistakes

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Ideally, you want your business to be capable of weathering any storm. To remain operational even during the worst disaster. That’s where your business continuity plan comes into play.

But even the most comprehensive plan can fall apart if you end up making one of these business continuity mistakes. 

Working With Incomplete Information

How reliant is your organization on digital infrastructure? What products and services are critical to the average user? Have you performed a thorough risk assessment and business impact assessment? 

You need to be able to answer all three of those questions—and your business continuity plan needs to be as concise and specific as possible. Broad generalizations simply aren’t going to cut it when it comes to keeping your business operational during a disruptive event. 

Focusing Exclusively on a Single Area

Because so many organizations treat business continuity as the sole domain of IT, there’s the tendency to approach it with too narrow a focus. Instead of considering the broader implications of business continuity to every process, function, and department, the continuity plan only accounts for technical infrastructure. This incomplete approach will ultimately prove insufficient in a real-world incident.

You cannot keep every component of your business operational if you have no idea what those components even are. 

Foisting All the Work Onto a Single Stakeholder

Because the majority of your organization is likely reliant to some extent upon digital infrastructure, everyone should be treated as a stakeholder in the planning process. And while there will likely be one person leading the planning efforts, they should do so at the head of a team, not by themselves. More importantly, no facet of your business continuity plan should hinge upon a single employee. 

It’s simple redundancy. What happens if everything comes crashing down when that individual is out sick or on vacation? What about if that individual decides to move to a different career? 

If anyone in your plan is a lynchpin, make sure you have someone who can step in for them if necessary. 

Treating Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery as Identical

Business continuity and disaster recovery are two sides of the same coin, so, unsurprisingly, many publications speak of them in the same breath. Nor is it shocking that so many businesses treat them as the same discipline. The problem is that they aren’t. 

While business continuity and disaster recovery are complementary, they require very different mindsets in the planning phase. Business continuity is all about resilience—it’s about proactively putting the systems and processes in place to keep your business operational during a crisis. Disaster recovery, meanwhile, involves restoring systems, data, and functionality after an incident. 

Not Bothering to Test (And Revise) Your Plans

If you aren’t regularly putting your business continuity plan to the test and constantly looking for ways you can further improve it, you might as well not bother planning at all. A plan is only valuable if you’re certain it will actually work. Moreover, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to simply know how to follow your plan when disaster strikes. 

You need to ensure everyone is prepared in advance, and that means allowing them to familiarize themselves with how everything works. 

Finally, as your business continues to grow and change, its business continuity needs will change with it. It’s, therefore, imperative that you regularly review your plan alongside regular testing to ensure that it’s still relevant.