Day 37 — Writing the manual while building the plane while flying it.

Developing our Business Continuity Plan

What happens when I spend 2 weeks working on data security.

Business Continuity Planning

Starting this work today, I had no idea what I was in for. I spent half the day just learning exactly what business continuity planning is and the other half applying what I learned by developing a “playbook” for how we’ll manage outages and disruptions to our key systems.

Rating the Business Impact

I started by rating all of our key systems. It boiled down to:

  • HIGH PRIORITY (if these stopped working, our app service would be disrupted): AWS
  • MEDIUM PRIORITY (If these stopped working, our app service would be degraded): Apple, Google, and Expo.io
  • LOW PRIORITY (if these services were disrupted, it would be annoying): Slack, Google Workspace, and other internal messaging tools
  • VERY LOW PRIORITY (if these services were disrupted, customers would never know and we’ll manage until we’re back): e.g., Calendly, Analytics tools, etc.

Backups

AWS is by far the most critical system we have. Because we are planning to use a 3rd party vendor like Aptible or Medstack for our technical security, I didn’t worry about this today.

Monitoring

One of the key activities for managing outages is detecting a system outage occurred in the first place. For this, we rely on a bunch of 3rd party systems that all have outage tools available.

Notifying the Team and Customers

We mainly use Slack for internal messaging, which will be our primary tool in an outage (unless Slack is down!). For Customers, it will depend on the impact whether we need to message them directly.

Responding to Outages

Each system brings with it its own plan:

  • AWS: A variety of backup methods and approaches exist to manage this. They need to be configured, which we’ll rely on a 3rd party vendor to help with.
  • Google/Apple/Expo: If any of these services are down, it will impact our ability to push app updates. While it’s highly unlikely an extended outage will occur, we will plan on monitoring and notifying customers if they’re impacted from this.
  • Slack/Google Workspace/Dropbox: Alternative means are available for these tools, including (gasp!) just making a phone call. Each are identified in the playbook.

The Result: Business Continuity Playbook

It can still be vastly improved (suggestions welcome!), but we have a start and it’s at least something for my team to react to and improve.

Our Playbook (if you want a copy just let me know).

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Bob Weishar

Founder at Invincible, passionate about building healthcare products that inspire.