Why have a business continuity plan?
A well-developed, structured and rehearsed business continuity plan (BCP) will assist your business in recovering from an incident as quickly as possible when faced with a risk.
It will provide a framework for building resilience and the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of your key stakeholders, the reputation, brand and value creating activities of your business.
A business continuity plan will ensure that staff know their roles and responsibilities in the event of an unexpected incident and respond following a recognised practiced and agreed procedures.
This will ensure that the most important functions, services and systems those that are most critical to running of your business are up and running in the shortest possible time frame. By doing so this will ensure that the impact on your business is limited.
Plan for incidents
Incidents such as:
- severe weather
- loss of utilities
- loss of premises or restricted access
- loss of key personnel
- theft / vandalism
- adverse publicity
What could go wrong
Lack of an effective continuity plan could result in the following:
- loss of business
- damage to reputation and brand
- loss of customers
- loss of staff
- loss or damage to property and premises
- impact on insurance
Things to consider
Your business continuity plan may need to take into account contingency arrangements such as:
- temporary relocation of your business functions and operations
- staff taking on different roles
- home working
- sourcing a new supplier and contractor
- backing up key data
- "It won’t happen to us"
- "We will cope, we always do"
- "We are too big to fail"
- "Our insurers will pay for everything"
- "We've got enough to do already, we haven’t got time to prepare for something that might never happen"
Above are frequent responses by businesses when questioned about their lack of preparedness, some of these you may be thinking yourself. However the catalogue of businesses that have failed following an incident suggest that such responses are based on false assumptions.
Disasters have no boundaries and whether you are a small or large business you may be affected. The main purpose of a business continuity is to ensure that the organisation has a response to major disruptions that threaten its survival
How quickly you manage to get back to 'business as usual' in the event of a fire, flood, natural disaster or any other major disaster or disruption depends on how effectively you can devise, and put into action, your own business continuity plan.