Net Platforms

What is the purpose of a Business Continuity Plan?

In the workplace, things can change quickly. With our workplaces becoming increasingly online, cyber attacks are on the rise. Some of us are more technically savvy than others, but people don’t behave accordingly when navigating websites, emails, and other places online, leaving ourselves open to a wide array of potentially debilitating cyber attacks.

These threats, along with natural disasters like fires or floods, make a Business Continuity Plan so important. When disaster strikes, you and your team must have a plan with a set of procedures to follow.

Disasters can strike at any time. Occasionally, signs or warnings are visible, but cyber attacks, in particular, are usually carried out in the shadows until it’s time to strike. There is no one-size-fits-all disaster plan, so you need to customise yours for each one.

Creating, implementing, and assessing a disaster plan with your team will enable you to survive and thrive. Your organisation will only be able to function smoothly if you do this.

If you don’t have one, you could face not only business defining problems, but even the end of your organisation.

What is business continuity?

In the event of a serious disruption, business continuity is the process of quickly resuming business operations. Whether it’s a flood, fire, or cybercrime, the disruption doesn’t matter. 

Business Continuity Plans outline the exact procedures and instructions an organisation must follow in the event of such a disaster. All parts of your organisation must be covered, and everyone must be aware of their role in the procedure, so that, ideally, every department will continue to work without much disruption.

In contrast to Business Continuity Plans (BC), Disaster Recovery Plans (DR) are built with the goal of restoring infrastructure in mind. In fact, disaster recovery is an integral part of your Business Continuity Plan, but if you can keep essential systems ready to reboot, then you’ll be back to 100% efficiency as soon as possible.

Some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself will be uncomfortable – will the company be able to continue to operate after the disaster? Is there a way for staff members to work somewhere else such as at home, or in another room if the roof leaks soaking everything, breaking computer systems? The more avenues you explore, the better prepared you will be.

The Business Impact Analysis section of your BC plan is an essential component that often goes unnoticed. The BIA quantifies the impact of the loss of business functions. This information will enable you to make some crucial decisions. For example, many people wonder whether they should outsource non-core activities? BIA inadvertently breaks your organisation down into value offerings, allowing you to prioritise accordingly.

Anatomy of a Business Continuity Plan

Assess your business processes at the beginning and identify which areas are more vulnerable than others, then figure out what might happen if that part of the process remains inactive for an extended period of time.

Next, develop a plan. This involves six general steps:

What is the scope of your plan? A comprehensive approach is best since there is no point in choosing a particular area of the business and discovering later that another part of your business affects that plan and it has to be adjusted.

Establish key business areas – crossover points, for example, where Sales and Manufacturing overlap.

Determine which functions are critical. Is there a process that is essential to the operation of your business?

Find out how dependent various business areas and functions are – When you know how dependent they are, you will also know how critical it is to get them back up and running.

Identify acceptable downtimes for each part of the business – Some will be practically zero because no downtime is acceptable, but others can be tolerated.

Plan how you are going to maintain operations. If you want to continue doing business, what procedures do you need in place?

The checklist should include supplies and equipment, where the plan is located and who owns it, where data backups are located, and contact information for emergency responders, key personnel, and suppliers.

In addition to a Business Continuity Plan, you should also create a Disaster Recovery Plan. Most businesses already have a disaster recovery plan in place, as few have left themselves in the midst of a disaster with nothing to back them up. But you must make sure that it is capable and that it aligns with your business requirements.

Do not worry, you will not have to do this alone – your team is skilled, so communicate with them because they will know what parts need a firm touch and which parts need a soft touch. In time, this insight could be invaluable to you if you get them to share times they went wrong and when they fixed any problems.

 

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