Having a plan could mean the difference between your business recovering and not recovering from a disaster or major outage.
No-one likes to think about the worst thing that could happen to their organisations, but it is essential to put together a business continuity plan. A disruption to business will cost money, so having a plan in place can mitigate revenue losses.
Why you should have a plan
There are a wide range of reasons why an organisation should have a business continuity plan put in place
First, it is a communication tool. Having a plan in place means that everyone will know what to do in an emergency. In a disaster, if someone doesn’t know what role they need to play, the risks aren’t going to be mitigated.
Second, it means that your organisation is proactive. When disaster strikes people will know what to do instead of trying to figure out things as they go along.
Third, having a plan means that you have a good chance of recovering from disaster. When you protect mission-critical parts of a business, there is a good chance of survival and staff morale will be higher for it.
What the plan should cover
A business continuity plan should provide a roadmap for employees so they know what to do when things go bad. Such a plan should include:
- Threat analysis: Natural disasters, such as a flood can destroy IT infrastructure, while a cybersecurity hack can put your network offline but not affect personnel. Bombs could kill people and destroy equipment. It’s important to cover what to do for all major possible threats.
- Who’s responsible for what: When disaster strikes, an organisation should have a list of personnel to contact and what they role in a continuity plan will be. An organisation should also keep contact details of external services, such as police, fire, etc.
- Data backup plan: It is important to have a backup of important data offsite away from where an organisation is based. There should also be consideration about backup power supplies. In addition to uninterruptible power supplies, one should also consider what to do if power will be out for a considerable amount of time.
- Alternative communications and operational sites. If you have no telephones or internet, you need to plan how to keep in contact with customers, employees and others. A plan should also cover how and where to set up operations in an alternative location.
Managing a plan
Managing a business continuity plan means keeping it up to date, changing details to ensure they are correct. It is also important to review the impact of new processes, systems and technology on a regular basis and add these to the original plan.
Those responsible for the plan should also make sure that all employees that could be affected by a disruption to the business have read and understood the plan, what their role in the implementation is and how the plan will be executed. Even non-essential personnel should be informed about such things as building evacuation measures, as well as emergency locations.