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Will your business stay afloat when a crisis emerges? The Covid-19 crisis has taught us that amid all the uncertainty, businesses should be creative and innovative to alleviate risks and look for ways that lead to recovery. The saying that in “every crisis there is an opportunity” should be the driving force in a business continuity plan.
This refers to the management process that identifies threats to your business and helps to develop organizational resilience during and after the crisis. Various events, such as the current coronavirus epidemic, cause substantial business disruptions. They cause temporary or permanent loss to business operations; including IT infrastructure, staff for running day-to-day activities, and vital records.
To safeguard a company’s viability, businesses need to develop business continuity plans that feature specific recovery strategies that tackle a disruption during a peak business cycle — when the services or production is at the highest level and most critical.
The main reasons for creating a business continuity plan include:
A company’s business operations can be so vast that it is a challenge to know where to start to create a business continuity plan (BCP). First-things-first, form a team that will supervise creating and enforcing the plan. The team should have the scope of all the processes used by the business, and each person on the team should have knowledge of different aspects of the business.
As BCP is implemented, the following critical elements must be beefed up:
Find different ways to communicate any developments in a company’s business continuity plan. All employees should be engaged, be aware, and work in unison towards a common goal. Improving staff engagement ensures the workforce clearly understands the company’s plans and processes for business continuity. Companies should invest more in internal communications by investing in tools that deliver information effectively. For example, video is an extremely effective communicator with viewers retaining 95% of a message.
Risk Assessment and Priorities
Review what you already have and carry out a business impact analysis. According to Sean Ahrens, Security Market Leader for Affiliated Engineers — this helps determine what critical assets need to be protected and maintained to reduce disruption in case of an emergency. Work on updating some continuity procedures already in place.
Identify the biggest risks and threats your business could face and ensure you have specific plans to counter them; says Tonya Coultas, Assistant Vice President for Emergency Management at Georgetown University.
The plan in place should:
Once the plan in place addresses these bullet points above, then it has the muscle to tackle a potential crisis.
Make BCP a way of life to help your organization enforce it efficiently. This provides for a more orderly and expedited recovery after a crisis. The company will gain a competitive advantage because of a swift and effective response. Articulating BCP will ensure stability through all stages of a crisis.
Business Continuity Planning needs to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it is fit for the purpose. Share policy updates with groups of management staff for a greater understanding of the plan and this also allows staff to give feedback. Review on an annual basis when a substantial change occurs in technology, structure, process flow, or following an incident. Incorporate newly identified threats or risks and vulnerabilities, and mitigation processes into the Business Continuity Plan