“Why should we have a critical communications business continuity and disaster recovery plan?” It’s one of the most common questions asked in our business. The answer is simple for companies in certain industries. Often a variety of laws and regulations require or imply the need for a recovery plan to protect critical communications. Healthcare, financial, utility and government are just a few.
The answer for others is less defined. Common objections include cost, having a second facility with backup capabilities or outsourcing of print-to-mail operations. But the consequences of not having a proven recovery plan in place can be severe. They can range from loss of revenue and critical cash flow to service level penalties and fines or corporate image issues. Consider these five reasons your company should have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place:
- Protect your business. From a financial standpoint, all businesses need to maintain positive cash flow even in the event of a business disruption. This is accomplished by making sure invoices get delivered. A business disruption also affects your ability to keep customers informed (and happy). Any delay in delivering critical documents to the people who depend on them can put your reputation at stake and cause customers to take their business elsewhere.
- Respond to regulations. More and more industries have regulations surrounding time frames for providing information to stakeholders or customers. Much like protecting your business from losing customers, any delay in these messages can be costly – in this case fines and legal complications.
- Natural disasters are the least of your worries. While Mother Nature certainly plays a role in our industry, other business disruptions should be your primary concern. Equipment failure, employee issues and other man-made factors happen more frequently and can seriously affect your ability to provide the critical communications your customers rely on.
- Outsourcing doesn’t mean you’re covered. Assigning your print-to-mail requirements to an outside company can make sense in a number of ways, but it doesn’t mean you’re covered if a business disruption occurs. If you outsource, make sure you have tested and verified your recovery plan so that it’s not simply a “best effort solution.” Just because your supplier has multiple facilities doesn’t mean you have a proven recovery plan.
- Recovery times take longer than you think. One-third of the business disruption declarations Mail-Gard® has supported since our inception have extended into 4-9 month recovery time frames. That’s almost unheard of in the data recovery industry. If your recovery plans don’t include this long-term scenario, they should. Lead times for replacement printers and inserters are one reason for the lengthy recovery time. Issues related to getting a facility back to production status are another.
At Mail-Gard we can typically have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan tested and implemented in eight to ten weeks. This will depend greatly on your internal recovery process and your ability to gather required documentation and pre-test data transfer methods. Once a plan is in place and activated, Mail-Gard can receive data from the back-up source within eight hours (often sooner) after a business disruption is declared. Printing and inserting will begin within 24 hours and often as soon as customer forms, paper, envelopes and inserts are received.
For more information surrounding critical communications business continuity and disaster recovery plans, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love make sure your business stays up and running when the unexpected occurs.
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