Seven crucial areas that will impact on your business continuity plan
By Catherine McFarland • 20 Feb 2014
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something now”
Alan Lakein, author, was referring to his speciality, time management, when he said that. Similarly, when it comes to managing your disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC), planning is crucial. It allows you time to work out how best to react and then proactively reengage your business in times of crises.
In accordance with industry best practice, we’ve identified seven core areas relating to your business that are critical for the success of your DR/BC plan.
Fundamentally, the over-riding elements that you must take time and care to pinpoint, are exactly what and who keep your business running on a daily basis. More likely than not they will relate to the seven following areas:
Your customers/clientsThey will have certain expectations of your business. Identify those expectations and consider what you need to do to reassure your clients that your business can function no matter what happens. This means proving there’ll be no impact on your client or on their business.
Your supply chainWhether you rely on numerous suppliers or one single operator, you’ll need to work out how they would recover from a disruption and how long it would take you to find an alternative supplier. Consider the financial state of your supplier and if you could be affected by any potential cutbacks. Where do you think you feature on their list of priorities?
Cost-cuttingYour business could be affected by cost-cutting measures such as reducing headcount and investment or selling sites. Work out what effect possible cut-backs might have to the underlying vulnerability of your business. On a positive note, you could actually cut your business insurance premiums simply by having a DR/BC plan in place. Contact your insurer to find out – some offer a 15% reduction.
Your staffYour employees are an integral part of your business and, as such, are ambassadors for it, and essential at the recovery stage. Allow for your staff’s needs so they can concentrate on keeping you in business at a time when you probably need them more than ever. Make sure you have up-to-date contact details for them, and that they are at least aware of the plan if they have not had the opportunity to contribute to it. If you end up in the uncomfortable position of having to let staff go, make sure you have audited their skills’ sets so you know where there are any potential gaps in your skills base.
Your IT and telecomsTechnology failure is one of the most common causes of business disruption, which is why many organisations have invested funds to help lessen the impact. You’ve got to: Make sure all critical information and data is backed up and accessible offsite. Consider moving from a dedicated IT infrastructure to a hosted solution, with applications available in the cloud.
Your sites and facilitiesNatural disaster, travel disruption or fire, are three of many ways you could lose access to your facilities. Which is why it’s important to consider alternative, temporary options that could server the business. They could be customer/partner offices or home-working. It’s also a good idea to get in touch with your local emergency services to see what they can offer and how they are likely to respond in an emergency. Check out your council’s Local Resilience Forum.
Your reputationLast, but by no means least, how you handle your reputation amongst your stakeholders and the media is crucial. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Have you considered all the situations where negative stories could emerge?
- Have you identified all your stakeholders and the messages relevant for them?
- Are your spokespeople trained to handle the media?
To find out more about how to develop and write your business continuity plan, View our recorded webinar. here
You can also download our business continuity plan template and guide here feel free to brand it and tailor it so it meets your particular business requirements.
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