It is impossible to plan for when a natural disaster or unexpected event will occur. There are a variety of ways that they can disrupt your business and negatively impact all aspects of your operations. Even planned events, like office relocation or data migration, can have surprising consequences. We cannot predict all of these things, but we can plan for ways to reduce their impact and ensure your business easily bounces back.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
You have probably heard the words ‘disaster recovery plan’ thrown around a lot in the IT conversation. Business continuity planning is similar, but it takes things a few steps further. It is a process of protecting a company and all its essential functions from the threat of potential hazards and disruptions. Business continuity management is how the procedure begins. A team is assembled or outsourced to build your business contingency plans.
This process includes risk management analysis of the most likely threats to hinder your business and the design of solutions for each situation. Then, safeguards are put in place and your solutions are put to the test. After this, the appropriate changes are made and the plans are prepared to be put in action in the case of a disruption. Your recovery from the negative event or disaster is plotted out and recovery time objectives are set to restore order and typical functions or processes in a timely manner.
Key Elements to Business Continuity Planning.
- A Designated Team: Your planning team needs to be clearly defined. No one should have to question who is in charge of the planning. They will be the ones performing risk assessments and plotting everything, from your initial reaction to your eventual recovery. It is likely that these people will also be the ones providing the local response to events as they occur. They need to be familiar with the weight of leadership and stay up-to-date on the growth of your business plan.
- An Exhaustive Plan: Your plan will need to lay out a response to the most likely events to befall your business. It will also have to rank the priority of the functions of your business. A business impact analysis will predict how the different services in your company will be affected. The plan is where everyone will look to see what the first thing to do is in the event of a disaster. A well-thought-out plan is the key to an effective and quick recovery in the future.
- Quality Testing: A poor contingency plan can actually do more damage than no plan at all. Your testing is what keeps your plan up-to-date and in an effective state. Your plan should be reviewed at least once a year, if not more frequently. Your business will continue to grow and change, and your business continuity plan will need to change with it.
- Clear Communications: Your ability to communicate can make a significant difference in an emergency. This is a vital factor to consider when structuring your information technology and emergency management. Features like the cloud and data backup can help you keep the business running even if your facility is inaccessible or not functioning at its maximum efficiency.
Communication is the only way to let your staff and partners know the state of the business. Your supply chain and business plans will be more adaptable if you have effective communication strategies in place.
- Employee Well-Being: It is always crucial to consider the financial impact of a disaster, but you also need a plan to keep your employees safe. Your business can partner with federal agencies like the Red Cross and the fire or police department to provide emergency response training. There is nothing more valuable or irreplaceable than your human resources.
- Access: It might sound pragmatic, but it is critical that you provide access to keep your people working. Once the danger of a disaster or event has passed, the most important next step is restoring a sense of normalcy. Providing the opportunity to keep working will maintain the faith of your employees. Getting your services up and running again will also restore the confidence of your customers.
- Continual IT Functions: With today’s technology, there are many precautions that can be taken to safeguard your information and operations. A cloud-based data center service will allow your business to rapidly move resources and still have access to the same applications and information. Your business continuity plan and IT infrastructure should be built to include this strategy.
We cannot predict when external threats or disruptions will happen, but we can take internal precautions to be prepared with a response and recovery strategy. Creating a contingency plan for an entire business might sound like a daunting task, but TCOR Management is here to help you. We provide risk assessment and management along with insurance plans to plan for the future. Our core mission has always been to minimize your exposure to risk and protect your way of life.