We’ve just entered a new decade, and many are deciding on their New Year’s resolutions for 2020. A common choice for many is to make a valiant effort to lead a healthy lifestyle, which can include clean eating, regular exercise, and a positive mindset. The same could be said for businesses. Running a healthy business with streamlined day-to-day communications and a positive work environment is extremely important as we enter the new year. One major key to maintaining a healthy business in the long term is by planning for the future. By forecasting and anticipating what will happen in the coming weeks, months, or even years, businesses must know how to respond in the event of an emergency situation or natural disaster.
So, is it time to revisit your organization’s business continuity plan?
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company, according to Investopedia. It is essential for an organization to have a comprehensive business continuity plan (BCP) to ensure both personnel and assets are able to function quickly in response to a disaster, threat, unplanned event, and more.
When developing your business continuity plan, a company should identify potential risks which may include a natural disaster, fire, flood, active assailant, and cyber-attacks. Once those risks have been found, Investopedia recommends the following:
- Determining how those risks will affect operations
- Implementing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
- Testing procedures to ensure they work
- Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date
Developing or Updating Your Business Continuity Plan
Whether your company is starting fresh with a new BCP, or updating a current business continuity plan, it’s important to go through the following steps to develop a solid plan, provided by Investopedia.
- Business Impact Analysis:
During the impact analysis, a business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive. Those who are function and process managers who are well acquainted with the business will look at the following:
- The impacts – both financial and operational - that stem from the loss of individual business functions and processes.
- Identifying when the loss of a function or a process would result in the identified business impacts.
By completing an analysis, companies can prioritize the processes that would have the biggest impact and address them.
During recovery, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions.
A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption.
The continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies.
Practice Makes Perfect
Testing your business continuity plan is essential. It is the only way to truly know it will work. Lorraine O'Donnell, global head of business continuity at Experian told CIO.com that businesses should try to break it, “Don't go for an easy scenario; always make it credible but challenging. This is the only way to improve. Also, ensure the objectives are measurable and stretching. Doing the minimum and 'getting away with it' just leads to a weak plan and no confidence in a real incident.”
Some common tests for running through your BCP include structured walk throughs, in which team members walk through each component of the business continuity plan to identify any weaknesses that must be addressed. CIO.com explains, some organizations also incorporate drills and disaster role-playing into the structured walk-through. Another test is a simpler table-top exercise. These are typically run in a conference room with the entire team going through the plan together, looking for gaps, and ensuring that all business units are represented.
Business Continuity and Employee Safety
At the end of the day, a business continuity plan is essential to keeping a business running smoothly, but businesses care most about keeping their people safe. Effective communication before an emergency is key so that employees know their roles when an emergency occurs, and in the case of an emergency, whether a severe weather event or active assailant, upholding this effective communication with your employees and staff is extremely important.
Many businesses use emergency communication solutions to reach, engage, and protect employees when seconds count. A mass notification system doesn’t only need to be used during emergencies, but also for day-to-day communications. Employees will be familiar with the texts, calls, or emails, an in turn will expect them if an emergency situation arises.
This multi-national consumer goods manufacturer improved their communications speed and in turn their corporate resiliency by leveraging critical communication technology. Interested in how? Click below.
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