What would you do if you lost $145 million? File for bankruptcy is a likely answer. Here’s a better question: What would you do to prevent losing $145 million? The answer to that second question is apparently “nothing” for a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange called QuadrigaCX. They recently filed for bankruptcy because their company founder and CEO passed away while on a business trip, and he was the only person who had the encryption keys for $145 million in cryptocurrency that his exchange was holding for its clients.
If the company can’t somehow discover or recover the encryption keys, the exchange will certainly go bankrupt. The tragedy doesn’t stop with QuadrigaCX’s company or staff...or even the founder’s widow, however. It extends to all of the company’s customers who actually “own” the bulk of the crypto currency that QuadrigaCX can’t access. What QuadrigaCX didn’t do is have a business continuity plan in place to ensure the continuity of the business in situations like this or others that could have been nearly as disastrous. And while you may not have millions in cryptocurrency at stake, you do have a business with staff, clients and vendors -- and your own family -- who are all every bit as important to you.
So what are you doing to make sure that your business continues if unexpected disasters strike?
Business Continuity Risks
Before we can talk about preparing for business continuity, we need to talk about the risks your business faces. It’s not just about losing data.
- Physical Loss -- What if a critical piece of equipment, such as your network server, a video editing bay, your point of sale systems, or other systems your business relies on every day (CNC controllers, medical analysis systems, etc), were to suddenly be damaged or stolen?
- Loss of Internet Access -- How long could your business operate without internet access?
- Loss of Key Staff -- Is there anyone at your office responsible for certain tasks that no one else knows how to do? What happens if he or she leaves, gets ill, or becomes dissatisfied with your company?
- Loss of external resources or vendors -- Web Hosting companies go out of business, taking down hundreds or thousands of websites with them. What would you do if you lost access to your company website? Or maybe someone wrote some custom software for you: What would you do if they suddenly disappeared or went out of business?
- Loss of Data -- Client data, accounting data, vendor information, intellectual property -- all vital to your business
- Loss of Access to Data -- Hopefully, all of your company resources are protected by strong passwords, but who knows what these passwords are, and what happens if they are lost?
Of course, this is just a partial list, but it illustrates all the risks that companies like yours face every day...and narrowly avoid...that could otherwise bring a business down. And these risks become even greater when you consider the number of digital threats to your business that increase every day. Ransomware, viruses, hackers, old equipment, malicious employees, outdated software all are have the ability to damage your business. The question is whether the damage will be permanent, temporary, or prevented.
Ensuring Business Continuity
In order to ensure your business continues regardless of the attack or damage, you need to prepare for each of the above threats, and even some you can’t yet imagine. Here are some things you can do to help ensure business continuity after a disaster.
- Data Backups for all critical company data -- Many people think this is all that is needed for business continuity. But this isn’t nearly enough. Nor are backups always done right. You need to have data backups onsite, offsite, and in the cloud.
- Image Backups for Critical systems -- It takes time and effort to build a new system and install all the software needed for most business function. Operating systems, office suites, specialized software, software updates, and more all take time. If you had to replace a critical machine, could your company afford to lose the time it would take to reconfigure the machine if you had to? Would you even know which software to install on each one?
- Replacement Equipment -- Many businesses have equipment that is unique to their industry or specialized for a particular function. If you ran a video editing company and your main editing bay was destroyed by a malicious employee (or even a spilled cup of coffee), how long would it take for you to replace it? How long could you afford to be out of business? Backup equipment for specialized machines is an important part of your business continuity plan.
- Redundant Internet Access -- We’ve all had it happen when the internet goes out. At home it’s not such a big problem. But if your business depends on access to the internet -- and these days, what company doesn’t -- then if the internet goes down, you’re out of business. Having one or more backup internet providers in your company can ensure your company keeps on working even when those around you are cut off.
- Company Operations Manuals -- It happens all the time. “Only Carol from Accounting knows how to access the bank accounts online,” or “Bob has this special way of processing the orders for our biggest accounts.” And then one day, Carol leaves the company or Bob gets ill. What then? The company is stuck. All company processes should be well documented in Company Operations Manuals.
- Secure Documentation and Storage of Logins, Passwords and Encryption Keys -- And this is where QuadrigaCX could have used some help. Only one person had the ability to access their Cryptocurrency. If you have logins for critical services and functions that your company performs, make sure there is documentation -- both physical and digital -- so that the information is stored securely and can be retrieved in case of emergency. Some password management systems even have the ability of keeping passwords private (even from those who are able to use them) so that they cannot be stolen and used outside of the office.
Getting Started With Business Continuity
Of course, this is far from a complete list, but it’s a start and should get you thinking about how your business operates, and what parts of your business are vulnerable in the event of a loss of physical equipment, data, access, personnel or other information. Digital Uppercut can help you continue this conversation and protect yourself against many of the threats you face every day. We can even help prevent many of the disasters you need to guard against. Contact us online or call us today at 818-913-1335 and let’s talk about how we can ensure your own company’s business continuity in case of disaster.