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What is Business continuity planning and how can it help you

Business continuity planning is the process through which you establish how you would protect your people, data and assets in the event of an emergency. Your most likely emergency may be failure of your heating or ventilation systems due to adverse weather, or a cyber attack, depending on the type of business that you are operating.

Business continuity planning follows a specific process, although the risks and outputs are tailored to the needs of your particular business, location and industry and can be increasingly complex when external factors such as multi-site operations and the need to establish contact with overseas or remote workers come into play.

Writing a business continuity plan is essential for safeguarding business operations and it should be read by every new starter and reviewed on at least an annual basis. Routine test runs must be carried out to ensure that it will be effective, should it ever be needed in a real life situation.

Writing a business continuity plan

Your plan will be bespoke to your business, although it will be structured in a standardised manner. It will detail the risks that your business faces and the business-critical activities that it must maintain. It will identify a number of key personnel who must be contacted in the event of a crisis in order to guarantee that the entire workforce will be apprised of the situation, understand their specific role and know how to respond.

Strategies will be developed for mitigating the risks that your business faces and a test run will be conducted to ensure that the plan will be effective in the event that it is required. Where your business faces a number of realistic operational risks, a flow chart will detail the actions to be taken based upon the nature of the emergency in question.

How a business continuity plan can help you

If your business was to experience an emergency situation that meant that a site was unsafe to operate, or that personnel would be unable to work in comfort, you need a method by which to inform them of the situation prior to them arriving at work. In some instances, specifically trained personnel may be required to report promptly for duty to contain the situation or to take appropriate measures to rectify it.

This may involve restoring power, dealing with contractors or evacuating IT equipment or paperwork to a safe alternative location.

A business continuity plan allows you to plan for this situation and to take effective measures to contact key personnel in order that they can be informed of any emergency that arises and to cascade relevant information throughout the management chain until all personnel are aware of the situation and their responsibilities.

A business continuity plan means that an emergency situation will not compromise your business operations for any longer than is absolutely necessary and that you will have an effective means by which to inform your staff of the situation.


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