Business continuity planning is designed to help your business to recover from an incident as quickly as possible. By preparing a business continuity plan and rehearsing it in staff training exercises, your likelihood of successfully navigating an adverse event increases dramatically.
What is business continuity planning?
Business continuity planning is the process by which risks that the business faces are analysed, and those that could impact its operation are assessed for their likelihood and impact. Mitigations are proposed to either prevent the risk from occurring and to minimise its impact if it does.
This is a process through which a framework is developed to build the resilience of your business and increase the ability of your workforce to react confidently and proactively. A business continuity plan will detail the roles and responsibilities of your personnel, enabling them to respond to an unexpected event following a defined set of procedures that are tailor-made to maximise the chances of achieving a successful outcome. It can improve your brand's reputation and protect the interests of your stakeholders, clients, data and premises.
What sort of incidents are considered in a business continuity plan?
Every business continuity plan is unique to the business that owns it, but typically risks will be considered that relate to severe weather conditions, failure of utilities and inability to access the primary business premises due to break-ins, vandalism, fire or flood. Failure to consider these risks could result in reputational damage, loss of custom or even injury to staff.
How can a business continuity plan help a business remain operational?
Your business continuity plan will identify the most important functions, systems and services upon which your business relies or provides to primary stakeholders and detail how they will remain operational in the event of an incident occurring.
This may include temporarily relocating the business to a backup site, directing staff to work remotely or evacuating essential IT equipment or paperwork. It may even include fail-safes such as automatic backup of key business data using a remote server that is designated for emergency use.
What types of businesses should have a business continuity plan?
Every business can be affected by an unexpected event or incident, and therefore every business should have a business continuity plan. Simply assuming that a business is large or resilient enough to weather a critical incident merely demonstrates a lack of understanding and preparedness.
A business continuity plan need not be a lengthy or complicated document. For many businesses, it will be a matter of a few pages long, and the simple act of identifying and assessing risks is enough to begin proactively planning the best way in which to handle an unexpected event. Recording these plans removes the stress of thinking in the heat of the moment and allows an effective response to be implemented immediately.
Needhams are business continuity experts and can help your business to develop the right mindset and record your intentions for maintaining business operations.