All businesses that want to survive and succeed in the face of threat must consider implementing a robust business continuity plan.
Business continuity plans can be broken down into phases in order to be successfully researched, reviewed, and finally put into place.
Whether your business faces a physical attack, be it a natural disaster, fire or a severe weather condition, a financial crisis, or even a cyber-attack, all risks must be identified in order to maintain composure and aid recovery in the face of all foreseeable dangers.
Without a business continuity plan in place, your business may run along without difficulty, until a crisis brings about temporary or permanent closure to facilities or infrastructure.
Considering all factors that could potentially disrupt business continuity is a sure-fire way to avoid danger and trade confidently at a consistent professional level.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity refers to maintaining or restoring the functionality of a business quickly in the event or a major disruption. A business continuity plan will outline all the necessary procedures to follow in the face of disaster. If implemented properly, a business continuity plan should maintain or restore optimum levels of functionality quickly and efficiently.
With cyber-attacks becoming more commonplace, it's crucial to have secure measures in place to both notify internal and external stakeholders of a threat, review the risks and damage that could be caused, and identify/fix any dangers in order to move forward professionally.
- Assessing Risks to your Business
Before a business continuity plan can be created, a risk assessment must take place in order to identify weaknesses and instabilities that may be affected by potential threats. By assessing risks, businesses can both prepare for disaster, and improve their functionality, insurance policies, and business infrastructure.
Firstly, a business must identify all potential hazards that could cause damage at any point in time. Next, it's important to identify all assets that could be at risk. These assets could be employees, customers, buildings, reputation, or the environment. Anything that the business is responsible for must be taken into account when analyzing the potential risks that a business may face.
- Analyze the Risks that you face
Next, a business must analyze the impact of any risks that they have identified. What harm could come to any company assets? Could money be lost? Could a cyber-attack leak sensitive customer information and therefore cause a loss in trust and loss of existing and potential customers? For each risk, consider how severe the impact would be and for how long your business could function whilst dealing with the consequences of the risk involved.
What is necessary for a swift recovery? How long will it take to fully recover? What needs to be put in place in order to avoid the risk or deal with it both quickly and appropriately? How much will this cost? After analyzing all this data, a company's risk manager can then try to mitigate each risk with the relevant safety programs and security procedures that are applicable.
- Design your Business Continuity Strategy
With all risks identified and considered thoroughly, it's time to figure out which strategies can be taken to mitigate interruptions and recover quickly from any imminent threats.
What do you need to put in place to protect your people, your business assets and your overall functionality Compare all the current recovery capabilities that you have in place and then list everything that you will need in order to be fully prepared to face any future interruptions.
- Business Continuity Plan Development and Execution
With everything in place, it's now time to sit down and create a professional, organized, concise document that will be easily followed in the face of any future threat.
This plan may need to be concise enough to be used by multiple employees. It must list all risks and measures available to quickly get your business up and running smoothly as soon as they take root within your infrastructure. With this in mind, once the plan is completed and published, you need to train all relevant staff how to utilize and follow the plan to full effect.
- Test your Business Continuity Plan
With all the hard work behind you, it's a must that you test your plan so that you know how efficient it is and that all of your trained staff are capable of following the plan without a problem.
Tests can be performed by way of a checklist, a walkthrough, or an emergency simulation that uses the equipment and programs that will need to be understood and used in a real-life disaster.
Although this may be costly for some businesses, it will prove to you that your business continuity plan is a success and will give you room to improve your plan should there be any problems. Business continuity plans are a solid insurance plan to protect against the dangers that can but you out of business in the modern world.
Without fully understanding the dangers and threats that your business could potentially face, you're leaving your business and assets vulnerable against the unforeseen.
Creating and implementing a business continuity plan will instil confidence in the future of your business for all employees and assets that you have in place.
Emergency situations take place every day and destroy businesses around the world.
Criminal activities close and damage businesses all the time!
By following the information in this post, you're one step ahead for any future threats to your business.