Creating a Business Continuity Plan
When business owners think about creating a business continuity plan, many tend to limit the scope of their plans to simple IT recovery and emergency preparedness, without taking all critical business functions into consideration.
In reality, a well-designed business continuity plan impacts nearly every aspect of your business health. So while emergency relief and IT disaster recovery are important elements, they should be only a part of your overall business continuity plan.
Consider how your current business continuity plan is equipped to address your company’s resilience to and recovery rom disruptions and disasters in these nine critical function areas:
1. Emergency Management
Do your employees know how to respond in the event of a fire, a natural disaster, a lockdown situation, or a medical emergency?
Most business continuity planners are aware of the need for basic emergency management. As a starting point, personnel should have access to emergency procedures, know who is in charge in the event of any type of emergency, and have frequent opportunities to practice appropriate emergency response.
2. Disaster Recovery
Are your company’s most critical IT systems prepared to survive a disruption? Is all company data backed up regularly? Do you have a documented recovery plan in place?
As more and more companies hold important records, data, and plans almost solely electronically, protecting the security and sanctity of IT systems has become increasingly essential.
3. Facilities Management
Office space, warehousing, manufacturing plants, storefronts, and other facilities all come with potential vulnerabilities to fire, natural disaster, or other physical threats.
But through proper continuity planning, you can design company facilities for resilience to disaster and maintain the best possible ability to withstand or recover from damage to your company’s physical locations.
4. Mass Absentee Planning
How long could your business survive the absence of a large number of employees due to a union dispute, natural disaster, or widespread illness?
Sudden mass absenteeism is a serious threat that can cripple otherwise healthy businesses. You need plans and procedures for the continuation of critical business functions even if a large number of employees are not available to work.
5. Supply Chain Management
Every point in your supply chain represents a vulnerability to disaster, labor relations issues, product supply, and a multitude of other potential disruptions.
Your business continuity plan should provide contingencies for the continuation of product distribution in the event of a disruption in the standard supply chain.
6. Health and Safety
Most employers would agree that beyond any other business function, the health and safety of customers and employees is of utmost importance.
That’s why every business needs systems designed to protect stakeholders from security threats, outbreaks of illness, environmental hazards, or any other conceivable threat to personnel.
7. Knowledge Management
Imagine that one or more executives or critical employees were to become suddenly unavailable due to sudden death, a medical emergency, or some other cause. Would the remaining employees have access to the necessary information to continue business operations?
Knowledge management covers the distribution of trade secrets, passwords, and other pertinent business knowledge so that the business can survive beyond the lifetime of any one particular team member.
Is your business protected from theft of merchandise, supplies, and equipment? What about electronic theft? Are your data systems prepared to withstand hacking or electronic tampering?
Protecting physical and intellectual property, data records, and other sensitive materials from damage, theft or loss is another important function of your business continuity plan.
9. Crisis Communications
From a small ice storm to a major hurricane, how do you communicate with employees and the general public about the status of your business when a disruption arises?
Your business continuity plan should specifically address communications with any and all stakeholders of your business regarding facility closings, supply limitations, or any other change in typical business operations.
Proper business continuity planning is a big job that requires significant time, resources, and input from every member of your company. It is not a task on a to-do list that you can quickly address and move on. Rather, continuity planning is an ongoing priority that must be constantly brought to focus on your company culture.
Learn more about how Cox Business can help your organization with business continuity planning and safeguarding critical business functions. Visit us at www.coxbusiness.com, or call us at 866-701-8737
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