« Continuity of Operations Planning

5 pitfalls in business continuity planning to avoid

Fearing a disaster is just one of the many setbacks that needs to be overcome in continuity planning.
Fearing a disaster is just one of the many setbacks that needs to be overcome in continuity planning.

Continuity of operations planning might be one of the most difficult tasks a business needs to accomplish. Measuring the value of nearly every aspect of operations and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of different systems being down can be a struggle, especially when it means acknowledging unavoidable financial risks and laying out acceptable losses. The mental difficulties associated with this, especially for small businesses owners, can lend themselves to a number of bottlenecks and pitfalls in the disaster recovery process. However, slowing down or making avoidable mistakes in continuity planning will only serve to further complicate matters.

In order to optimize workflow and the company's protection during a crisis, it is important for business owners to recognize these challenges and know what pitfalls to avoid during planning. Some of these include:

  1. Stalling – The first mistake any company can make in business continuity planning is stalling in making the plan. Fear of making tough decisions can cause strategy sessions to fall into limbo, with nothing being resolved or decided upon. One way to avoid this is to set a deadline when a plan needs to be created by. Even if it's not a foolproof strategy it will create a foundation to improve upon, and kickstart further strategizing to ensure every potential threat to operations is addressed.
  2. Fear – Being afraid of a disaster does no one any good. Crises happen, whether it's a major storm or a hardware fault in the data center. Fearing these threats will hinder recovery planning, but accepting them and preparing will ensure they do as little damage as possible and set up the company to get stronger as a result.
  3. Anger – Getting angry about a disaster can be just as much of a setback as fearing one. Business leaders need to learn to stay calm and roll with the punches in order to optimize their operations around any crisis.
  4. Going too big – Another problem that some firms encounter in their continuity planning is trying to incorporate too much into the strategy. In a worst case scenario, you can't save everything, and this has to be acknowledged and accepted in order to build a strategy that works and is optimized for the fastest return to operations. Companies need to accept that they might need to restore key systems and accept a slight loss while they resume operations and return to full speed at a slower pace.
  5. Making constant changes – While regularly updating a business continuity plan is critical for success, constant rolling out updates as soon as one thing changes could cripple the entire strategy and do more harm than good. It's okay to accept a few rollbacks when a disaster strikes and have to redo updates. Save plan changes for major evolutions in workflow and allow for minor differences to get ironed out after recovery as needed.