Business Continuity Plan – Implementing and Testing

Now that you’ve reviewed your infrastructure’s Business Continuity requirements, you’ve also discussed your needs with your UniVista Account Manager and you’ve allocated your budget accordingly, it’s time to implement and test the plan.

The Scenario: Systems are down.  Now what?


A key part to implementing and maintaining a Business Continuity Plan is documenting it.  Provide a Master Plan or User’s Manual for when the inevitable strikes your organization.  This will allow various members of your team to know how to proceed with the recovery.  Create a comprehensive, easy to understand and, most importantly, easy to follow document.  At a high level, you want your document to cover: Who, What, When, Where, Why & How.

WHO: Who will implement the plan? Identify your Recovery Team(s).

WHAT: What are your business’ Critical Functions. What infrastructure or service are they running on?

WHEN: When do you implement your recovery plan? How quickly after a loss is identified, do initiate the Disaster Recovery plan?

WHERE: Where does recovery happen and how do you connect to it? All your company’s efforts will be for nothing if no one can locate or access the recovery infrastructure!

WHY: Why are you initiating your Disaster Recovery plan? What acceptable loss factor has triggered the disaster flag?

Additionally, you will also need to identify how to access your plan in the event of a total loss of your data and email storage.  For example, in the event of a fire or flood, keep multiple copies of your Business Continuity Plan printed with key employees or stored online in Microsoft SharePoint.

Periodic Reviews…

Keep your plan up to date.  Schedule periodic reviews, both internally and with your UniVista Account Manager to ensure your plan remains viable and will work when you need it to.  There’s nothing worse than trying to recover from a scenario with a poorly implemented or outdated plan.

Nothing is worse than an “unwelcome surprise.” Schedule periodic reviews to ensure your Business Continuity Plan is still relevant. Run “fire drills” to be ready for anything!

Testing and why “Fire Drills” are important…
Your organization’s plan is documented, you have implemented backup solutions, now you must test your Disaster Recovery plan – essentially, run your “fire drill.” These “fire drills” are important to determine if you’ve covered everything and will help to identify where you may have weaknesses. Your initial Disaster Recovery test may uncover gaps in your plan which require attention. Work towards resolving those gaps, but more importantly: schedule your next test. Determine whether you’ll be testing quarterly, biennially, or annually.  If you need help determining how often to run your test, please feel free to consult with your UniVista Account Manager.

Evaluate your testing experience…
Regularly testing your plan keeps you, along with key members of your team, familiar and ready for when disaster strikes. However, you will also need to review and evaluate the recovery plan on a recurring basis. Evaluate and review these questions; Is your list of Critical Functions up to date? Is their hierarchy of importance weighted the same as when the plan was initially documented? Have you added, removed, or changed a service or team that needs to be reflected in the plan?

Moving forward with a plan…
Now that we’ve discussed key elements of implementing and testing your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan, what questions do you have? Are you able to understand the process, but aren’t sure how to get started? Are you unsure if your business has an additional compliance element that requires a Disaster Recovery plan? Do you have an old Disaster Recovery plan that needs revisiting? Let your UniVista Account Manager know. We can answer questions and create a project that fits your specific disaster recovery needs.

The Time to get Started is Now!

Following your Business Continuity Plan Assessment, naturally comes planning and implementation.  This is where the hard work begins. “This COVID economy has made money tight and my staff is already too busy”, you say. We understand your situation all to well. Human nature often causes us to put things off that we know we should deal with. Unfortunately, every now and then, that thing that we keep putting off becomes a situation we need to deal with NOW. When this invariably and eventually happens to your organization, your customers suffer because your business can no longer support or supply something they need. This exact scenario is why having a Business Continuity Plan is so critical. Don’t make the mistake of trying to put off implementing a plan due to current costs. The sooner you get starter the better and safer it will be – for you, your employees and your customers.

Luckily, getting a business continuity plan together is as easy as calling your UniVista Account Manager. Our project team will manage the entire continuity process for you, leaving you free to focus on your customers.

Technology Lead Times.

Often, your business continuity plan will require additional products to protect your current infrastructure. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the technology supply chain has become unpredictable, to say the least.  Lead times for technology products, even trivial products, frankly, are getting longer and trickier. Rest assured, our team is great at assessing and managing these lead times for you.

A good portion of technology is manufactured in countries like China, Mexico and India.  Unfortunately, not only has a great deal of their manufacturing either slowed or stalled, shipping times have increased, as well.  This means, without proper planning, replacing a critical system may take weeks and not days. When we create or revise your Business Continuity Plan, we’ll always keep current product availability and lead times in mind. 


There’s NO ESCAPE from the reality that, at some point, your systems may go down.
It’s critical to your business and customers to prepare accordingly
with a Business Continuity Plan.

What is the Cost of Your Business Being Down?  

Technology can be expensive and difficult to justify. “By buying something, will I end up saving money?”, is always one of the hardest questions any business can answer. We try to make this question easier for you to answer. Early in the business continuity planning process, we will help determine what the daily cost to your business is when critical functions are unavailable. This metric will make any purchase decision magnitudes easier. Suddenly, that tech becomes a cheap and an appropriate measure vs. the potential cost of your business being down.

When to Buy? Now vs. Later

Unfortunately, there is always a relationship between product availability and cost.  Since the start of the COVID pandemic, these relationships have become more complex and the cost of some items have increased. It’s important to consider these new technology costs, along with the increased lead times, when making a new Business Continuity Plan and factor those changing costs into your budget.

You’re not alone in making this assessment. Your UniVista support team will discuss what technology your organization requires, or may be lacking, and will weigh the risks of procuring, or not procuring, any required technology immediately as part of your Business Continuity Planning process

If you have any questions regarding proceeding with your Business Continuity Plan, please contact your UniVista Account Rep.  We are always here to help!