Leading a business, whether it’s small or gigantic, is a challenging job, especially in the current environment. As part of your overall disaster recovery plan, you need to know how to quickly respond and resolve any crisis, from hurricane damage to a cyber security breach. A business continuity plan (BCP) is the ideal leadership tool that will help you prepare for the unexpected.
Here at Internos Group, we try to have every client produce a BCP. These plans outline a set of predefined protocols and strategies that explain how a business will respond in the case of a disaster or emergency: basically a worst-case scenario plan.
A BCP should be all-inclusive for every aspect of your organization: from tech departments to what happens with human resources and your key assets. It should also contain a list of protocols that define how you respond in the event of any of the following situations:
- Natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)
- Equipment failures (catastrophic crashes such as mainframe failure)
- Financial or cash flow issues
- Man-made disasters (hacks, ransomware attacks, a truck plowing through your office)
The goal of any BCP is to make sure you have the required resources to continue operating and the ability to recover from the emergency, especially since any failure to plan for such events can be extremely costly. According to figures shared by IBM, infrastructure failures cost businesses an average of $100,000 per hour! A good BCP mitigates these costs by minimizing the effects of these failures on the business.
Assess the Possible Weaknesses
Start by creating a list of every possible weakness and the risks that you might have to face:
- Trends and market movements
- Business infrastructure
Prioritize your list based on the likelihood of them impacting your particular business.
Since, like us, you’re a Florida company, hurricanes will probably be the number one possibility on your list. Flooding and storm surges will likely be in there, too. Consider what else might be included and prioritize them. This list tells you which issues to focus on first when creating your BCP.
Identify Critical Functions and Create Recovery Plans for Each
Once you understand the risks, it’s time to focus on the impact those risks will have if and when they actually happen.
So now you make another list. This one is for all the critical functions your business needs to deliver its products or services. How would each of those risks affect its function? Drastically? Not at all?
When the answer is drastically, build a recovery plan for that function. You might need to create backups of crucial data, enable employees to work from home or maintain a secondary location.
Repeat this process for each critical function, identifying the level of risk it faces and what you need to have in place to ensure swift recovery of the function in the event of an incident.
Define Emergency Roles for Employees
Employees are just as important in your response to an emergency as your recovery plans. In fact, it’s the quick action of your people that allows you to put your plans in place.
Spend some time assigning roles to key staff members for each potential situation you’ve identified. Define who will act as an emergency coordinator and what that person will need to do in this position.
Preparing for emergencies may require you to train staff members or obtain specific licenses. Your plan might also include protocols for staff reallocation, especially if your business has several locations.
Your staff needs to know what to do when an emergency situation occurs in your company. It truly is critical for them to have this information in advance.
Put It in Writing
Don’t keep this just in your head, Document it and share it. After all, one of the issues might be the loss of (you) the leader to an accident or something else. Consider the document as you would insurance.
Your BCP must be known so that others can access and follow it when needed. Store the BCP in a secure off-site location to reduce the risk of the plan being lost or damaged in the event of a disaster.
Create an Emergency Preparedness Team
Things change in business as well as in life. New issues will occasionally appear that cause you to revisit your BCP. The BCP needs to remain consistent with the current risks and capacity of the business at all times.
Create an emergency preparedness team that checks the BCP regularly and tests it for its consistency whenever a significant change occurs in your industry, such as the introduction of new regulations. Perform regular tests to identify gaps in the plan. You might consider conducting a mock drill to assure this goes smoothly.
A Business Continuity Plan Is an Insurance Plan
While as a business leader you need to build and inspire teams, you also need to focus on protecting your business so that your teams are capable of doing what you need them to do in any situation.
That’s what a business continuity plan does. A good BCP defines every protocol to follow in the event of an emergency, putting you in a better position to lead your business through any crisis.
It’s not simple. Here at Internos we know that, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources.
If you’d like help with building your business continuity plan (BCP) or wish to discuss any other aspect of business leadership, please contact us or book a no-obligation meeting, virtual or in person.
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