How vulnerable is your business? You may think it is solid, but when disaster strikes are you prepared to respond and recover? Resuming your business operations in the face of disruption caused by some unforeseen circumstance is referred to as business continuity.
A business continuity plan works to outline certain procedures an organization must follow in the face of disruptive events. It is important to have a strategy in place to be better prepared and get back to business quicker. We optimize continuity planning to focus on your most important goals, while also providing advice on how to put together a comprehensive plan that effectively manages risk and can quickly mitigate potential problems.
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Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important?
Businesses are vulnerable to a host of disasters (depending on several circumstances) that can vary from minor to catastrophic. Any sort of disruption to your workflow can lead to a serious loss in revenue and a drop in profitability. Meant to help your company continue to operate in the event of threats and disruptions, a business continuity plan is an important part of managing your risk.
What is Included in a Business Continuity Plan?
A complete business continuity plan involves defining all risks that can affect your company’s operations. Risks may include natural disasters like fire, flood, hurricanes, pandemics, and cyber-attacks. Once the risks are identified, your plan will then determine how each risk will affect operations, implement safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks, test procedures to ensure they work, and review the process to make sure that it is all up to date.
The 5 Main Steps to Include in Your Business Continuity Plan
Your business continuity plan should be comprehensive, efficient, realistic, and adaptable. A proper business continuity plan should include a risk assessment, business impact analysis, a continuity consultation, established roles, and deployment/testing.
1. Risk Assessment
Look at your business and find the inherent and potential risks to your business continuity in your IT (Information Technology), your operations, and your support staff.
2. Business Impact Analysis
Here, the business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive, including the possible impacts of a business interruption.
The impact analysis should include the following:
- The impacts ( financial and operational) resulting from the loss of individual business functions and processes.
- Identify the processes that have the most impact on the business’s financial and operational functions.
3. A Continuity Consultation
In this portion, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions. Once the risks are identified and the impacts are measured.
4. Established Roles
A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption, assign a continuity officer, and determine the roles and responsibilities of other members of your staff. A comprehensive business continuity plan is worthless if the people assigned to it do not act properly. That is why established roles for each action are critical.
The continuity team must be trained and tested. Team members should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies to ensure it will work. Train assigned personnel and then test them to ensure they are up to the task. You will also want to make sure you have documented the following for a potential disruption:
- Level of risk to your business.
- Impact on employees and customers, and how you will communicate with them.
- Emergency policy creation.
- Any external organizations or community partners who will need to work with you to alleviate the issue.
Being fully aware of your level of risk and what needs to be done to keep the business moving is a good start. Creating your business continuity plan will help you rest easier at night, knowing that everyone in your business is comfortable and trained in implementing this plan.