Retailers have long recognised the value of protecting e-commerce, payment systems, customer service and reputation. Changing buyer behaviour, the move to 24/7 shopping and the ever-advancing capabilities of online and mobile technologies, data analytics and business intelligence tools means that ensuring effective business continuity management is in place to protect technology investments and maintain competitive advantage is now a top priority – in addition to making sure you can “keep the lights on!”
Here are a few of the key benefits business continuity brings to retail businesses like yours.
Protects your data
Data is the backbone of the retail industry. It provides actionable insights that not only help to drive sales but also help reduce waste, improve buying accuracy, and enhance the customer experience. Downtime or lost data could significantly hinder success or even the ability to continue normal operations.
Disaster recovery services have become more relevant with the advent and proliferation of cyber threats, as organisations acknowledge that investing in business continuity is preferable to the far higher costs involved in dealing with any type of breach or outage. For example, utilising mirroring to protect your business-critical systems in real-time, together with immutable backups of all your systems, you can be quickly back up and running in a clean, secure, dedicated recovery location in minutes.
Immutability backups protect you not only from traditional threats such as equipment failures, environmental or location or social issues, but also against cyber threats such as ransomware, by providing offsite, air-gapped protection that cannot be tampered with.
Protects your reputation
Consumer trust is the holy grail of a retailers success. Consumers buy into a brand rather than individual retail channels, and despite difficult economic times, trusted retail brands have increased their profitability and fostered their marketing position. But what would happen if that trust was breached?
When customers lose trust in a retailer, they start to look elsewhere, which usually leads them to a rival business who has not just suffered a cyber attack.
And it doesn’t stop there, these consumers then go on to tell others about their experience, complain via social media channels and leave negative reviews on platforms such as TrustPilot. It is evident that losing data and trust go hand in hand.
It’s essential that you have an effective data protection strategy in place as well as a disaster recovery plan to mitigate risks. It is also just as important to have a robust crisis communications plan – having a plan in place that outlines proper communications with your customers leads to increased transparency and trust.
Maintains your supply chain
Disruptions are going to occur – it’s not an if, but when. Having documented alternatives that get your products and/or services delivered when disruptions occur is vital to the continued success of your business, particularly during critical retail seasons or sales such as Black Friday, Christmas, Summer – any disruption during your busiest trading period would be disastrous. Managing supply-chain risk is fundamental for retailers and something that can not only protect your operations when issues occur, but can set you apart from your competition, who may not be so prepared.
Reduces financial risk
According to IBM, it took an average of 287 days to identify and contain a data breach in 2021. The longer it took to identify and contain, the more costly the breach was. The average cost of a data breach for the retail sector was £2.68 million1, up from £1.64 million2 in 2020.
They go on to outline that organisations that have business continuity plans in place saw an average total cost of a data breach that was £2.01 million3 less than organisations that experienced a breach without business continuity planning or a tested disaster recovery plan – it’s clear that prioritising business continuity planning is key to reducing financial risk.
What should I do next?
The notion of business continuity management (BCM) has taken on extra significance over the past two years, and this period has encouraged retailers of all sizes to reassess what business continuity really means to them.
The effects of not having a BCM plan can be stark and crippling. It’s easy to lose sight of what should be done and when, with competing demands from business departments, management, and IT. With no clear view, ownership is lost, leading to delays, mixed messaging and reputation damage.
If BCM is at the top of your agenda, but you are not sure where to start, take a look at our advisory article “5 top tips for successful business continuity planning”.
The next key decision revolves around whether organisations should carry out their BCM in-house, or whether they should outsource the function to a specialist third party. There are naturally pros and cons to both approaches, so if you find yourself in this position, you can read more on that in our insightful article – “Business Continuity Management (BCM) – are you going out or staying in?”
We hope you find these resources helpful but don’t forget that we are also the UK’s industry leader for business continuity and operational resilience. Whether you outsource BCM or manage it inhouse, we provide award-winning services and support.
1Converted to GBP from $3.27m
2Converted to GBP from $2.01m
3Converted to GBP from $2.46m