Companies must be prepared for unpredictable events as the business must always go on. Most often, we’ve heard about organizations talking about financial growth, branding, employee relations, and their infrastructure, but rarely about business continuity plans. This plan comes in handy for any adverse situations to mitigate business risks from natural calamities like floods and earthquakes, or man-made events like shutdowns, lockdowns, etc.
A well-defined BCP plan involves the processes and the documentation on how the organization continues to deliver services despite a significant disruption. It talks about letting less important activities go until the time the organization fully recovers from one such situation to its regular operations. While there are exponential benefits from having one such plan in place, here are a few steps involved in chalking down one such plan:
There are 6 steps to developing a business continuity plan
Business impact analysis – While it is important for organizations to focus on profits, market share, and other growth factors, it is also important to analyze risks and how to mitigate them. The analysis is often run by the core team or the incident response team for delivering the communication, evaluation, and scheduling of the project deliveries.
Identifying classes of threat – Putting together a robust plan enables the core team to react confidently and quickly in an adverse scenario. By knowing what a company could potentially face and identifying vulnerabilities, you can work on mitigating these risks by revealing the possible consequences.
Take action to mitigate risks – The complexity of documenting this process is subject to the scenarios that the organization could be vulnerable to. Hence, the BCP should include key employees who have to be involved, for a quick implementation. Action response can mean looking for alternative laptops, company space, resources, etc, to ensure a quick and relevant response.
Creating readiness plans – The key people involved in this process need to know their roles and responsibilities at their fingertips to react quickly and efficiently. If a remote office needs to be set up post-disruption, the employee responsible should act on priority to ensure that the employees have equipment at their disposal – like laptops and mobile phones, to minimize the impact.
Identifying the core team – Communication from the core team during a crisis reassures the employees and gives them confidence that the organization is taking steps to respond and recover. This communication goes beyond just the office to liaise with suppliers, clients, and customers to minimize dissatisfaction.
Maintaining the plan – Being prepared for an adverse situation could also mean having internal and external communications in a place like press releases, in the current days – templates for social media posts, in addition to lists of key contacts on their speed dials. Raising awareness and doing a dry drill of this activity will help the larger staff understand their role, by improving the resilience of the organization.
Business continuity plan vs incident response
The 5 key elements of an effective BCP are derived from people, processes, premises, prevention, and partners. Where people and processes become the most important aspect since most processes are people-driven. But, how different is the business continuity plan vs incident response? Incidents need not necessarily lead to business interruption, and a business continuity plan’s general aim is to prevent crisis situations that often interrupt an ongoing business.
Ideal BCP for smaller organizations (SMBs)
We all live in a VUCA world – co-existing with the known and unknown. One such recent incident was the COVID19 pandemic, where smaller organizations were hit the most. A survey by Stratogrid talks about this in detail. A BCP analysis can handle daily operations and, most importantly, protect the company’s most important resource – its people. So, how can a business continuity plan help SMBs, and what are its benefits? Let’s read further.
Top 6 Benefits of the business continuity plan
Get a competitive advantage – Having a functional BCP will prove to be a differentiator for you to gain a competitive advantage. You will be able to respond, recover, and even resume your business operations a lot quicker and efficiently, with minimal impact on your customer.
Standardizing business: ISO 22301 – Adopting the set of BCP rules in accordance with the ISO standards will mean that your business is compliant with the industry mandates. This simply assures all the stakeholders that the business will recover responsibility and guarantees the success of the process.
Winning confidence of customers – Companies that are transparent about ongoing continuity efforts are highly appreciated by customers and clients. This simply shows a high level of commitment to your business, which builds confidence, enabling you to deliver goods and services.
Mitigate financial exposure – Reducing business risk is a top priority. So is mitigating financial risk when it comes to bearing losses through data breaches and building a client network. By having a resilient plan in place, risk is protected, hence reducing financial losses.
Build resilient company culture – Resilience and recovery simply strengthen business continuity programs, where employees take initiative in developing a risk mitigation plan whenever a new product or service is launched.
Preserve company reputation – Companies that do not have a BCP in place, often feel incompetent in the face of an event, should it arise, possibly by stumbling over the next steps and mishandling communications. A Business Continuity Plan works like an engine behind smooth operations and preserves your brand value, which is built over the years.
Having an efficient business continuity management system minimizes the impact during a crisis. There are a few tools available that will help you analyze and plan ahead for future business disruptions. The recent pandemic is a classical example, where a lot of organizations resorted to remote working, which was never envisaged before. For some organizations, it opened up a new realm of opportunity in saving real estate costs and adapting to a fully remote working environment. So having an agile calibration is required to sail through any such disruptions.