Every business is vulnerable to disruption. These can be natural or man-made.
That is why every business should have a backup plan for these so that whenever problems or disasters happen, production and service delivery can still be carried on and sales and profit will not come to a halt. Hence, business continuity will be ensured.
Business continuity plan or BCP is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.
A company should be able to constantly test, update and exercise its preparedness methods. It must be prepared for crisis, because it is, unfortunately, inevitable.
As much as there are benefits and profit for every business, troubles and crisis may happen too. That is why it is crucial to create a backup plan way ahead of time.
In creating a BCP, a company should be able to define its assets, threats and scenarios that can impact its processes. It should also be able to make decisions about how or to what degree to mitigate these risks.
Companies that are able to prepare a complete business continuity plan achieve more than companies that fail to see ahead the possible threats to its operations.
A good BCP includes the steps to take to maintain a minimum acceptable level of business. This includes: information, equipment, accommodation, when these are required, and how to activate it.
These are the business continuity plan methodologies:
- risk assessment
- business impact analysis
- strategies selection
- plan development
- testing and maintenance
It is important to secure how the persons responsible can their business operation and services whenever interruption to their critical assets and services happen.
Some examples of a business’ critical assets are database management, computerized account system, security surveillance system and protection from crimes and attacks.
Business Impact Analysis
A business impact analysis must include:
- assessment and prioritization of business processes
- identification of disruptions that can possibly impact business processes—these can be caused by events that cannot easily be predicted to happen and also other uncontrollable factors
- recognition of business requirements—both legal and regulatory—with a proper figure of maximum allowable downtime
- estimate of recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, and critical path recovery
In this method, a company shall be able to develop strategies so that it can be able to deal with business risks.
Here are some things that you can do:
- Disaster Recovery Plan—including purpose and scope; emergency and procedure, and restoration procedure.
- Incident Response—ensuring that the team is well trained and prepared
- Preparing for Emergency—including emergency kits and evacuation procedure
Problems are unpredictable, so it’s better to start a BCP early.
For example, for a business that requires the World Wide Web for its transactions, you cannot afford to lose a stable connection or a disruptive access to your only means of communication to your customers. No communication means no sales.
A company may develop two small teams—Crisis Management Team, and Business Continuity Team.
Crisis Management Team consists of:
- Crisis Management Team leader
- Corporate Communication
- Human Resources
- Admin and Logistics Support
- Corporate Security
- Premises and Facilities
- Business Recovery Coordinator
Business Continuity Team consists of:
- Team Leader
- Alternate Team Leader
- BCM Coordinator
- Team Members
- Stand-by Team Members
Aside from preparedness, a company should also ensure a good recovery plan. This is how to get back up after being stricken by disasters, so as to continue business even after a crisis.
Just like how a community stands up after hurricanes, a company should also be able to get back to its operations, after experiencing drawbacks and procedural problems.
These disasters can be either natural or man-made. For natural, this can include fire, typhoon, hurricane, flood or earthquake.
For man-made, terrorist attacks, hackers and malware attacks can be causes of business process disruptions.
A company should be able to recover from any of these disruptions, so that it does not badly damage its assets and can regain whatever losses it has accumulated.
That is why each company must be able to develop their own plans. One company is not the same is others so it’s valuable to consider own company factors and characteristics, so that the plans for necessary solutions can perfectly respond to the issues they are going to alleviate.
Contingency planning should go beyond natural disaster, consider also plans for the human element.
To prevent critical assets from loss or damage, a company should be able to implement an offsite storage backup and also cloud-based applications.
Testing and Maintenance
- conduct tabletop and run a simulation exercise
- conduct training sessions for employees
- review the BCP, BIA and risk annually
As much as how a company should believe in its capabilities for success and winning, it also requires to acknowledge its threats, risks, and vulnerabilities.
This is not to create an atmosphere of low spirits to its workers, or to create a downside to every opportunity that it faces. Rather, this is to equip itself from greater damage and losses.
As the very basic saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Why just allow whatever can strike you disrupt you, when you can in fact create ways to avoid these destructions—and in business sense, the disruptions that might contribute to its losses?
A business continuity plan is indeed a great help to every company.
This will serve as an eye to future threats, as well as something better—a business’ success.
Face disasters head on. Define potential risks, examine how these can affect operations, secure necessary and crucial procedures in order to respond to troubles and risks. And lastly, be sure to constantly check on everything—that they are effective, and to respond immediately whenever there are things that need to be improved and focused on.
All through these ways, a company can definitely be protected. All through a business continuity plan, a company can obtain security, sustainability and success.
About The Author
Leona is part of the content and community team at Specialty Fuel Services – providers of emergency fuel continuation services, in locations affected by catastrophic events.