Covid-19 has not gone away and local lockdowns, as we have seen in Leicester, are looking increasingly likely.

This brings its own challenges.

At any point, your business could fall under a local lockdown. But if your market competitors reside just outside the lockdown zone, you could be at an unnecessary competitive disadvantage if you don’t have sufficient business continuity in place.

Now more than ever, reliability is one of the most important factors to customers, so if your competitor offers the certainty that you cannot, you could end up losing customers if you can’t continue business as usual.

This is where business continuity planning comes in.

If your business is prepared, with full business continuity planning in place, then you’ll be able to take a local lockdown in your stride. You will be able to maintain cashflow and reassure your customers that you’re a reliable business partner.

Business Continuity Planning & Risk Management

There are a handful of threats to business continuity in ‘normal’ times – cyber attacks are on the increase, broadband coverage drop outs, adverse weather can wreck workplaces, and so on.

These aren’t unrealistic scenarios. They’re actually fairly common.

However, in a time of pandemic, you have these threats to contend with in addition to ruptures across the supply chain. Disruption is a real risk. The last thing you need is a server failing, or another critical component going offline.

Ultimately, your business is far more likely to fall back on business continuity measures at some point. Perhaps you have already had to. If so, did it work as it should? And was your IT support provider fit for purpose?

Why a Local Lockdown Differs from a National Lockdown

The nationwide UK lockdown left most businesses in the same situation. We all faced the same disruptions. However, local lockdowns offer a different type of challenge – namely, potential imbalances in competition.

Business Continuity Planning Lockdown

If your business faces a local lockdown but your competitors do not, then you need to be able to reassure customers that it’s business as usual.

This is where business continuity planning can help.

If you have the technology to support your business’s ongoing needs, you can adapt to the challenges posed by a local lockdown.

For example, if your team needs to work remotely at short notice, business continuity planning can ensure that everyone is equipped with the means to seamlessly transition to the move. This gives customers the peace of mind that you can be relied on, and in times like this, reliability is king.

Let’s examine a real-world scenario:

Your Business Systems Fail Whilst Working Remotely

Outcome without Business Continuity Planning

Let’s face it. Technology, especially aging technology, can fail at any point.

Under a local lockdown, all your staff will be compelled to working remotely via VPN. But what if they’re suddenly unable to access your business systems? Everything grinds to a halt until you’re able to make a fix or restore a backup.

What if you only have on-site backups, located at your office or warehouse? Depending on the regulations, you might not even be allowed to travel.

This means that nobody can work until someone has gone back on-site to manually fire up the backup, which takes time. This is of course assuming that you have still been making daily backups, or that your single backup provision hasn’t failed entirely.

According to a Gartner survey, 98% of businesses reported that a single hour of downtime cost them more than £79,000.

And of course, this means costly downtime for your customers too, whilst you’re out of action. If you’re not prepared for this, they can just go to a competitor who isn’t facing the same issues.

And if this happens more than once, you’re in trouble.

Outcome with Business Continuity Planning

On the other hand, if you have a business continuity plan that offers defense in depth (such as hybrid backup) you’re covered against a range of scenarios.

A hybrid approach should conform to the ‘3-2-1 backup strategy’, which in brief means that you keep 3 versions of your data, with 2 types stored offline (on-site server & local device), and 1 copy stored online in the Cloud.

In this situation where your on-site server fails, there’s no problem. Simply boot up the Cloud version of your business systems until a fix is made.

And if you’re really unlucky and the Cloud is unavailable too? You have a separate offline copy to fall back on.

No matter how long the local lockdown goes on for, you’re prepared to deal with any kind of threat to downtime. This guarantees reliability, which is good for both your business and your customers.

We all know how essential business continuity planning is.

Even in comparatively normal times, having a sufficient business continuity & disaster recovery provision is a business essential. But these aren’t normal times. None of us could have predicted a global pandemic that would proceed to shut down industries across the UK for months.

The point is as follows.

If you cannot respond proactively to a disaster, your competitors will.

But if your business has the agility to pivot and handle difficult circumstances, you’re showing customers (and prospects) that your business can withstand even the harshest of challenges.

And trust and reliability really are priceless.

To talk all things IT, business continuity planning, and more… give us a call on 01283 753 3337 or email hello@neuways.com.