Accidents happen. From power outages and sick days, to natural disasters and dramatic and sudden financial crises, business face countless threats, challenges, and disruptions. A business Continuity Plan is essentially a document which is drafted with the detailed steps a business can take to stay trading during a disaster. It will be the framework used to direct the business through recovery.
And a disrupted business isn’t a profitable one so outlining effective and realistic responses to disasters to get your business back up and running as soon as possible.
Preparing a strategy which outlines contingencies for a host of possible threats increases the resilience of a business. Having a plan in place following a disaster can give the business a direction and a schedule back to profitability.
With a business continuity plan, organizations construct an effective crisis response which can ensure you are; safeguarding an organization’s reputation, the integrity of its brand, and the interests of its key stakeholders during a chaotic time.
Development of a business continuity plan (BCP) consists of several primary factors:
• Review an organization’s critical and/or time-sensitive processes, quantifying the impact of their potential loss
• Evaluate said procedures to ensure functionality, with periodic reviews of process, ensuring compliance with current best practices
• Prepare for unanticipated risks, ensuring continuity in circumstances beyond organizational control
• Develop risk mitigation strategies for responding to and managing incidents
• A response and recovery plan in case of crisis
Example of a BCP Exercise
For a hypothetical example of a BCP, let’s say we have an insurance provider based in Sydney. Anticipating possible crisis situations, they create an offsite file backup—depositing both its internal databases, and its client files—in a secure, external location. This way, if disaster befalls the home office, projects could continue with minimal interruption, and critical data wouldn’t be truly lost.
According to a recent survey, downtime and data loss have cost Australian businesses approximately $65.5 billion (US$55 billion) across a 12-month period. Additionally, 64% of the organisations surveyed lost time and data during that period.
Which Situations Should my Business Plan For?
It’s an inarguable fact of doing business; the unexpected happens. But a comprehensive BCP is critical to the long-term survival of any organization. No one can anticipate every possible threat to an organization, but a solid plan that covers a wide range of potential incidents can provide maximal organisational security. Having a brainstorming session with others to suggest scenarios (no matter how far-fetched) can be helpful in planning your BCP. Better to be over prepared than under prepared.
To ensure optimal efficacy, every BCP should incorporate a regular schedule for testing and updating your crisis plan, accounting for the dynamism of the organisation, industry shifts, and any regional trends.
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