The Importance of business continuity plans

In 2020 we have all learnt what the word crisis means. We have had to make shifts in business and the way we conduct every aspect of our lives this year. When the country went into lockdown many businesses had to facilitate whole teams working from home. This meant having the infrastructure already in place to do this and robust Business Continuity Plans or BCPs. We have now entered what is being dubbed Lockdown 2.0 more prepared than before, but this is unlikely to be the last crisis.

What is a business continuity plan?

This is a strategy that is put together to mitigate risk and monetary loss in the event of a crisis. Some examples of when this might be applicable as follows:

  • Natural disaster or extreme weather
  • Terrorist incident
  • Fire
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Onsite accident
  • Cyber security issues or breaches
  • System or process failure that causes business function to cease
  • Sudden illness or pandemic

We know from this year that the final example had a massive impact and continues to do so. Sadly, it seems in the last decade or so that terrorist incidents are also on the rise and are carried out with maximum disruption intended.

Risk of not having a BCP

Any one of the examples we have given could hit a business at any time and to have any chance of surviving a clear plan must be in place. If a business does not have one, then they risk:

  • Leaving customers exposed – loss of data or telephone support
  • Business failure – if systems not backed up for example
  • Loss of clients and reputation – crisis handling speaks volumes about a company
  • Increased expense in reopening if your business can take that cost

Benefits

It is understood that if you can trade you can continue to meet costs and go forward. With a plan in place, you will recover your operations quicker mitigating financial exposure. How a company deals with a crisis can strengthen its reputation and build confidence. The biggest benefit? A good BCP can save lives in dangerous events.

Testing and evaluation

Building a robust plan is a very tailored response because not all businesses will be affected by all events. There are some common themes such as accidents on the premises and fire but how each business builds their individual plans is informed by an evaluation of risks and threats and how adequately they feel they can respond to them. Our suggestions on what to focus on would be:

  1. Identify key areas
  2. Work out which areas impact and depend on each other
  3. Assess critical functions and how long they can realistically be offline

The good news is that we can take one of the biggest headaches away for you: communication. This is a critical area for your business, and we have the experience to keep those lines open. From lost children to terrorist incidents and even in war zones, our highly trained team have handled difficult crises calmly and efficiently.