For businesses, disaster can strike at any time and can be caused by a variety of sources. Each year, companies face the potential of natural disasters, accidents, sabotage, power failure, cyber attacks and a variety of other major disruptions—all of which can cost both time and money. That’s why business continuity planning is important for companies both large and small.
Business continuity planning is the process of creating a response plan so that you will be able to recover the most vulnerable parts of your company after a business interruption occurs. Businesses with strong continuity programs are more resilient in the face of emergencies and disasters.
Despite growing evidence that preparation is key to surviving a business emergency, only about 60 per cent of large businesses and 43 per cent of small business have a business continuity plan in place.
A business continuity plan, if implemented and maintained, can be the difference between successfully recovering from a business interruption and going out of business.
To create a plan, you must first assemble a team of leaders and senior management who can help lead the planning efforts. From there, it’s critical that you follow the four major steps below to create a continuity plan:
- Identify threats or risks. To properly prepare for disruptions, it’s important that you first recognize the most common threats to your business. Most often, threats include natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes, malicious attacks and system failures.
- Conduct an impact analysis. Following a disruption, knowing which people, vendors and programs are vital to your everyday operations is important for continuity planning. Your plan should identify these items and prioritize them. That way, following a disruption, you can quickly react and restore your most critical functions immediately.
- Adopt mitigation controls. After you understand the major risks facing your business, you can put systems in place to protect yourself. Your continuity plan should account for this by including emergency response, public relations, resource management and employee communications planning.
- Improve your plan. Continuity plans should evolve with the risk landscape. As your company grows and new threats emerge, you will need to consider tweaking your continuity plan to meet your needs. If possible, test your plan at least annually to ensure that there are no major gaps.
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