Business continuity is all about having a strategy to address unpredictable events, so that your business can still continue to run as smoothly as possible with as few interruptions as possible. Create a strategy for continuity. An effective BC strategy examines what impact an unexpected threat could have on day-to-day operations and recognise potential threats to your business. It should be flexible enough to incorporate any event or circumstance that could disrupt your business operations.
An effective business continuity plan should identify all the risks you are likely to face and develop a strategy to minimise the risk as much as possible. You should always try to anticipate as many risks as you can. It is often difficult, but you must try to keep a focus on the worst case scenarios and work on strategies to minimise the risk as much as you can. In this article I’ll look at some of the key considerations you need to make when planning a business continuity plan.
One of the first factors you need to consider is your day-to-day operations. Would an event or circumstance which resulted in a complete shutdown of your business function cause you significant difficulty? Some events or circumstances would cause a complete shutdown, whereas others would only result in minimal disruption. For example, if your business function was located in a large office building, your recovery time objective would be related to the length of time it would take for you to locate another office or a new business location. If the worst case scenario came to fruition, where your office building was destroyed, you would have little to lose and a large amount of business continuity protection to gain.
The next factor you need to consider is the impact an interrupted work flow would have upon your own staff. This could include anything from lost data or productivity to serious disruptions to the daily running of your business, impacting your ability to provide services and products. You would obviously want to minimise the impact on your employees, therefore conducting a comprehensive analysis of the activities of your business as a whole, not just specific discrete areas, can be extremely helpful. An example of this would be the preparation of a company overview, as part of your business continuity planning, to discuss the day-to-day activities of your business.
Once you have assessed the risk of your business continuity plan, you will then need to identify a method of recovery. The recovery plan should consider both the loss of assets and the loss of business continuity. Most businesses will choose to implement an emergency management system, which will involve having designated personnel trained and certified in disaster management, in place during the initial emergency. Your business continuity planning team may decide to place the majority of its assets in a premises owned by the business to minimise the risk of loss. Emergency management planning may also consider the temporary storage facilities your company may utilise, either on-site or off-site. If your business is experiencing a decline in revenues, you may wish to consider storing the low-value items and selling them at auction to raise funds or cover short-term gaps in your budget.
Some other events that could potentially disrupt your business continuity program could include a data breach, natural disasters, power outages, or coordinated terrorist events. Although most of these risks are rare, they must be considered as well. Identifying these risks and potential issues early, using a business continuity program, will help reduce the risk to your business and help it recover faster if a problem occurs. If an event does occur and there is a disruption to your business, your first priority should be to regain control of your operations as quickly as possible to ensure minimal disruption to your customers and clients.