If nothing else, the one thing that the COVID Epidemic has taught us is, that you can never take things for granted.
And this rule still applies to business that have not been affected by the recent pandemic.
Multiple things can disrupt the operations of small - to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), such as, well..Epidemics that result in lack of staff, natural disasters or cyber attacks.
Any of these events can have major impact to your business, resulting in lost revenue, or in some extreme cases, business closure. This can be avoided however if you think ahead and have the foreseight to be prepared for the unthinkable.
But...having a concrete business continuity plan (BCP) in place will help your business recover quickly after a disaster.
What is a Business Continuity plan (BCP)?
A BCP is a predefined set of protocols on how your business should respond in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. It contains contingency plans for every aspect of your organisation, including but not limited too, IT systems and support, human resources, assets, and business processes.
Knowing the Key threats to your business continuity
Various types of threats can affect SMEs such as:
Natural disasters – These are natural phenomena - For those that live in more tropical climates than Swindon and Wiltshire, these can include Earthquakes & widfires, but for our audience we will stick with the more realistic such as storms, flooding and building infrastructure damage.
Man-made disasters – These include cyberattacks/malware, intentional sabotage, and human negligence.
Equipment and utility failures – These include unexpected power failure, internet downtime, and disruption of communication services.
How to build an effective BCP
If your organisation does not have a BCP in place, now is a good time to put one together. These steps will help you formulate an effective BCP that will ensure that should a disater strike your business keeps running throughout the crises..
- 1 Business impact analysis (BIA)
A BIA will help you determine how a disruption can affect your company's current functions and processes, such as personnel, equipment, technology, and physical infrastructure. This step will help you calculate the potential financial and operational loss from each function and process affected.
- 2 Recovery options
If disaster strikes, who and what will you need to get back on your feet? This step will help you identify key resources essential to returning your business to minimum operational levels. Some recovery options you can take include letting employees work from home or operating from a secondary location.
- 3 Plan development
This step involves identifying and assembling your company's continuity team, which will be responsible for developing and implementing your BCP. Knowing who has what responibilities before hand will pay dividends in removing stress at the time of a disaster
- 4 Testing and training
Once your BCP is in place, your continuity team needs to perform regular tests to identify gaps and make necessary changes to ensure the plan’s effectiveness. They also need to conduct regular training for your employees so everyone knows their respective roles when a disaster strikes. Do not do what many business do, do not put a team in place and never let the, practise their skills. After all, you do not put a fire alarm in place and never test it.. Think of your BCP as your business fire alarm.
Having a fool proof BCP is a great way to ensure your business can quickly bounce back after a major business disaster.
If you're thinking about creating a BCP for your company but don't know where to start, please get in touch with us today. We have excellent disaster recovery packages that we can provide for your IT system and we can tell you about any other potential areas of fragility that may be present within your IT infrastructure.