Why You Need A Business Continuity Plan

On the night of April 14 1912, the RMS Titanic sailed without issues. But the night was dark, the temperatures were freezing, and a gigantic iceberg loomed nearby. By the time the sailors in the crow’s nest spotted the gargantuan iceberg, it was too late.

Rather than ramming it head-on, the captain of the ship attempted to avoid it by swerving sharply. The 46,328-ton ship was less than receptive to quick movements.

While this spared the bow of the ship from any damage, it scraped the starboard bulkheads beneath the water. The ice pierced the metal hull that separated freezing Atlantic seawater from terrified passengers.

Water began pouring into the ship at an astonishing rate. Out of the sixteen watertight compartments of Titanic, five were breached.

However, the ship could only survive a maximum of four.

The crew aboard the ship knew they had to act quickly. They were aware that it would only be a matter of hours before Titanic sank.

Unfortunately, the design of the ship’s lifeboat systems put them at a severe disadvantage.

(Not) planning for disaster

There were an estimated 2,224 people aboard Titanic the night of the accident. The ship was designed to hold up to 32 lifeboats, but it only carried 20 – enough for 1178 people.

The designers felt that having so many lifeboats would clutter the deck too much. Besides, Titanic was massive and safe. Nobody expected anything to damage the ship, let alone sink it.

When the ship began to take on water, the crew began to load up the lifeboats. There was a strict “woman and children first” policy that they followed. Since the crew had never properly trained for a disaster, they were slow and unsure of proper procedures for loading up the lifeboats. As a result, hundreds of men were stranded on the ship when it sank.

If that weren’t bad enough, consider that each lifeboat was only half full when they left the ship.

Titanic broke apart and sank into the depths of the Atlantic, taking more than 1,500 lives with it. Nearly two hours after the traumatizing event, the ship RMS Carpathia arrived at the scene.

Carpathia only brought aboard an estimated 705 survivors.

Why business continuity plans are necessary

The critical failure in Titanic proved to be a valuable lesson for everyone. Without proper planning, disasters are unavoidable. If your business were to undergo a titanic experience, it would be widely understood that it sank.

Having a business continuity plan in place means that you know what to do in the event of a disaster. It may not be as dramatic as the story of the Titanic, but it may be just as important to your business.

For example, imagine that your business suffers from a power outage that lasts an entire day. Downtime costs small businesses up to $8,600 per hour. With an average eight hour workday, you’re looking at nearly $70,000 of downtime costs. Of course, that’s only if it’s for one day. 54% of companies report they have experienced downtime from a single event, lasting more than 8 hours.

What does a business continuity plan consist of?

There are multiple factors to consider when crafting the optimal business continuity plan. You should create an outline that consists of:

  • Establishing continuity leaders that take charge during the disaster recovery
  • Identify and select business-critical functions that your business requires for day-to-day operations
  • Identify business-critical individuals that must have access to their data
  • Create a checklist that highlights all necessary points for redundancy
  • Review the plan with everyone relevant to it, and ensure that they know their parts
  • Test the plan consistently and update changes and process improvements as necessary

This list is far from comprehensive. There are many specific details that must be considered that vary greatly from the needs of individual businesses.

Who needs a business continuity plan?

Regardless of your organization’s size, you must consider the possibility of a disaster occurring. 21% of small-business owners without a written disaster plan said they don’t have one because it’s not a high priority for them.

Disasters can strike any time, without warning. When most people think of disasters, they think of natural disasters like earthquakes, fires, and floods. Though natural disasters are certainly a threat to organizations, they’re hardly the biggest threat.

You’ve got human error, viruses, and software/hardware malfunctions to worry about. Those threats aren’t reserved for only big businesses – they can happen to every business at any time.

How can you start planning?

Planning out a business continuity strategy is necessary, but it isn’t always easy. Many companies need an experienced overview from a third party that knows what to look for and how to optimize the plan. As a result, many organizations turn to experienced managed service providers for help.

That’s where we come in. Affinity can help your company create a business continuity plan that will keep you up and running, regardless of any disaster that comes your way. Need more information on business continuity plans? No problem. Simply reach out to us to get started.