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How to Maintain & Test Your Business Continuity Plan

Cyber attacks have become one of the most prolific and serious threats to SMEs. What’s worse is that many have the potential to cripple a business that lacks the required protection.

That said, for many organisations, it is worth asking these questions – Can our in-house IT team safeguard our IT environment and other mission-critical data? If not, are we ready to face an unprecedented outage that stops us from functioning as usual?

However, cyber threats aren’t the only peril to business continuity. Adverse weather conditions, power outages and other unpredictable events can impact your IT systems while derailing your business for a temporary period.

This means it’s important for your business to not only create but also to test your business continuity plan at least once every year. If you’re running a high-risk organisation it would be worth testing more frequently, while ensuring that you have robust cyber security measures in place.

In this article, we will examine business continuity plans in greater detail, the steps of business continuity planning and so much more.

Let’s get started!

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is a holistic management process that allows you to prepare for potential cyber attacks or other operationstopping events that could impact your organisation. 

A BCP plan also offers you a framework to build resilience alongside an effective response that can protect your brand, reputation, and the interests of your key stakeholders.

Without a business continuity plan in place, your company could not only lose access to your IT systems and mission-critical information but also run the risk of going out of business.

If you’re looking for robust business recovery solutions that can minimise system downtime while saving you time and resources, then contact our team today!

Steps to Maintain & Test Your Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity planning isn’t a set-and-forget initiative. With constant changes in business operations and objectives, faster advancements in technology and employees frequently moving into and out of job roles, it’s important to fully establish and integrate a business continuity plan.

Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re frequently testing and upgrading your business contingency and disaster recovery solutions. You need to constantly anticipate and adjust to changes while making sure your business recovery plan is both functional and up to date.

With that in mind, our managed services team at Redpalm have put together 4 essential steps to help you future-proof your business with robust recovery solutions so that you can rest assured that your response efforts will work whenever required.

Let’s dive in and see how you can test your business continuity plan!

Step 1 – Prepare for Change Management

Preparing for change management is a crucial activity alongside business continuity planning. 

To make sure your company is quickly back in the driver’s seat should you face a cyber attack or system failure, it’s essential to keep tabs on the changes happening in your business and its IT environment. You also need to have a streamlined process in place to manage the revisions or changes to your business continuity programme.

At Redpalm, we have a proven track record of offering robust and successful business continuity arrangements. We also deliver 24×7 network monitoring to ensure that if for whatever reason you experience issues, you’re back on your feet as quickly as possible!

Step 2 – Conduct Frequent Tests

When did you last test your business continuity plan? If quite some time has passed, then we’d recommend conducting an end-to-end test of your BCP plan as soon as possible. After all, the middle of a power outage isn’t the time to find out that your backups are outdated or corrupt.

That said, frequently testing your plan will not only prevent huge data loss but also ensure your business is up and running and all your devices are as secure as possible after an attack.

Conducting an end-to-end test could be time-consuming. Instead, why not schedule different tests at regular intervals?

Here are some tests that we can perform for you:

1. Bi-Annual Testing 

This is a high-level test that ensures your current business continuity plan is in line with your business objectives. With this test, we work with you to upgrade your plans as and when required and share the same with your key stakeholders.

2. Annual Testing 

Here you sit with your response team, stakeholders and other leaders to identify gaps and bridge them as soon as possible. This test needs to be a business (and not an IT-driven) review that addresses the changes regarding your priorities and business goals, not your technology.

3. Thorough Test (Conducted Every Other Year) 

This test needs to cover new impact assessments, reevaluation of possible risks and a fully upgraded continuity plan.

4. End-to-End Test (Conducted Every 2 to 3 Years) 

In this test, we simulate an actual attack and work your organisation through the entire recovery plan. That way, you can ensure that your business processes will be restored quickly should you face a cyber attack or any unexpected disruption.

As your dedicated managed services provider, Redpalm is more than equipped to work with you on your business continuity programmes, help you test them whenever required and ensure that you always stay ahead of your competitors.

Step 3 – Provide User Training

Your recovery plan will be helpful only if your staff knows how they’re supposed to execute it. That being the case, while preparing your business continuity plan, it’s crucial to create a recovery team so that they can own the entire process and also educate other employees.

What’s more, when testing the BCP plan, your recovery team can use certain training methods to empower your staff to properly respond to future threats. 

Our experts at Redpalm provide you with various training packages catering to all levels of employees within your business and covering an array of topics related to disaster recovery and business continuity.

Step 4 – Carry Out an Assessment

The fourth and final step to test your business continuity plan is to go for an impartial, third-party assessment. Here, a professional IT service provider like Redpalm is best equipped to perform the review.

During the assessment, our experts will examine whether your contingency plan aligns with your business policies and if it meets the industry standards. We will also look for weaknesses and gaps in your maintenance and tests and accordingly provide you with solutions.

Once the assessment is complete, our team will assist in upgrading your recovery plan with the findings that are uncovered based on the assessment conducted.

For optimal protection, it’s worth investing in a disaster recovery solution that offers a retention strategy, cohesive data protection and network security

With all-inclusive business continuity arrangements, you can easily automate your business operations and take advantage of additional storage security to safeguard your mission-critical assets and data.

Contact Redpalm for Business Continuity Solutions

A business continuity plan is not only for major events, but also minor ones, where your employees might find it difficult to continue their tasks, especially when working from home. This can have a massive impact on overall productivity and also affect your bottom line.

While your in-house IT team can look after most of these events, it’s crucial to prioritise certain support issues to prevent unnecessary system downtime.

That’s where the MSPs at Redpalm can come to your assistance! We monitor your IT systems and other critical data to identify potential threats that can hamper your business and ensure that they’re taken care of as quickly as possible.

To find out more about our disaster recovery solutions and how we can help you test your business continuity plan, give us a call today!