What is business continuity
Business continuity is about making sure that you have prepared your business for the unexpected. This is so that when your business is affected by some form of disruption, you can continue to operate and get back to normal as soon as possible.
Your business can be affected by many forms of disruption, these can range from:
- IT failure
- power failure
- loss of communication
- supplier delivery issues
- a key member of staff leaving or being ill
- significant staff absence due to illness
How to prepare your business
You can prepare by having a simple plan and procedures in place. These should be known and understood by all those that work within your business. Creating your business continuity plan does not have to be too time consuming and the plan can be put together for little cost.
First look at the lists on our make a continuity plan for your business page.
Take time when answering the questions on the assessment. Ensure that you document relevant details, information and procedures. At the end of the assessment you will have a business continuity plan. Obviously the larger and more complex your business the more detailed your plan may need to be.
Keep developing your plan
For your plan to remain effective, it is important that it is reviewed regularly. It will then reflect staff turnover, updates in technology, and changes in procedures. You may wish to delegate this task to someone within your business. They should regularly brief you and other members of your organisation.
Rehearse your plan and train your staff
Once your plan has been developed, ensure that you test it regularly. This should show if you have left something out. This process is a practical investment in your company. If an incident happens for real, you will be better able to cope with it.
Testing your plan can be achieved in various ways. For example:
- operating for a period of time without key personnel
- operating without IT for a couple of hours
- ringing suppliers and customers to check that you have the correct contact details
You should also hold a table top exercise with your managers, key staff and employees, to think about scenarios such as:
- loss of your premises due to flooding
- a power cut
- loss of your phone system
- failure of a critical piece of equipment for a number of hours/days
- supplier delivery or service problems
- customers cannot pay you
- significant number of staff off due to illness
- consider the impact of a pandemic on your organisation