Natural disasters and technology malfunctions are among a myriad of situations that could stop your business operations cold in their tracks. Having a Business Continuity Plan in place ensures you can maintain regular operations during and after an interruption or incident. A Business Continuity Plan considers many possible scenarios and outlines the necessary steps to minimize the impact and harm caused by an emergency. Below we’ve highlighted three of the major reasons you need to have a plan in place:
Not handling an emergency well reflects poorly on your business. By being unable to help your customers deal with a crisis or not providing estimates on when operations will return to normal you damage the trust that you have with your customers and within your community. By creating a plan that accounts for technology issues, supply chain interruptions, and other possible problems, you give yourself the benefit of an estimated timeline for resolution.
2. Safety of people + data
A business continuity plan should include contact information, plans in case of natural disaster (like where staff should go), and information on data backups. By outlining this information, you ensure there is a way to confirm the location and safety of your staff, a protocol to follow, and access to your systems and records.
Business continuity is not the same thing as disaster recovery plans. Disaster recovery is one part of a larger business continuity plan and revolves mainly around the restoration of IT infrastructure. The purpose of a business continuity plan is to holistically address the needs your organization will face in an emergency.
3. Financial risk
The more downtime your business suffers the more money you lose. Additionally, not having a plan in place and fail safes set up can end up costing you more in time and resources than it would otherwise. Running a business impact analysis is one way to ensure you understand the financial risks your organization faces if there is a sudden interruption in your ability to operate. Knowing where the risks and costs are will allow you to better prioritize your processes while you create your plan.
Remember that the responsibility of creating a Business Continuity Plan should not rest on one person. In order to be effective, the plan must have input and agreement from all major stakeholders and should be sent out to your entire staff for training, testing, and regular updates.