Today we find ourselves amid a global pandemic. We’re questioning everything that we once thought ‘normal’ and we’re trying to work out what the new ‘normal is’. It’s at times like these that a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can really benefit an organisation.
But why is Business Continuity Planning so important? Did you know that over 40% of businesses affected by the Manchester bombing went out of business, never to return?(1) When the unexpected happens it can affect businesses in all kinds of ways, and the current global pandemic is no different, sadly several business will not be able to survive. But don’t despair. We’ve put together some simple steps to help you and your organisation prepare for the worst. Plus, our friendly team of experts are on hand to help in any way they can!
If your organisation does not have a dedicated BCP team or individual (which most do not), you need to work out who is responsible for your BCP. 93% of BCPs include operations and IT, therefore it is no surprise that it is usually the IT department that takes such responsibility.(2) However, it is worth noting that organisations with high levels of executive or leadership support are almost 3 times(2) as likely to implement a successful plan – so make sure you get support and buy-in from the top!
One: Risk assessment.
Step one is to carry out a risk assessment. Take a look at your business. What activities are critical to its smooth running? Disruptions to these activities are risks you need to mitigate and plan for. Examples might include;
- A call centre requires multiple phone lines
- An online retailer requires a courier service
- A leisure centre requires hot running water
Make a list of all these activities.
Two: Plan of action.
Once you know what activities are critical. You can start planning how to mitigate any disruption, and more importantly plan for when the worst happens and disruption can’t be avoided. It’s not just about getting this written down on paper, it’s also crucial to ensure you have resources in place to implement your BCP.
An organisation with adequate resources is more than twice as likely to implement a BCP with success.(2) Does your organisation have the resources in place to implement your BCP? An example might be, like many business right now, staff are required to work from home. Does your IT and telecommunications infrastructure support this and make it easy for staff? If not, what can you put in place to address this?
Three: Review. Maintain. Communicate.
Probably the most important part of the whole process! Don’t just lock it away. Review it and adjust it. You’re unlikely to get warning before you need it, so make sure it’s ready to go! Try and review every 12 months depending on how fast-changing your business is.
And remember, communication is KING! Make sure the right people know the plan, where it is and what their roles are.
How can we help?
As we’ve highlighted in point three above, communication is king! That’s why our business continuity support is focussed on restoring your business’ voice and data communication services as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For physical disruptions, such as fire, flood or a power failure, solutions might include:
- In-bound number redirection
- Out-bound calls from a new location
- Uninterrupted power supply
- Connectivity to new location
For technical problems, such as data breach, loss of connectivity or theft of data, solutions might include:
- Failover voice and data circuits
- Secondary network circuits
- Mirrored servers/cloud data back up
- Social hacking or security policies
For personal problems such as illness, human error or sabotage, solutions might include:
In-bound number redirection
Out-bound calls from a temporary location
Temporary mobile connectivity
Accessible access logs and history
Immervox Sales Director, Phil Horey had this to say about Business Continuity Planning;
“Business continuity is mission-critical to any business today. Your engagement needs to be with a trusted advisor that is vendor agnostic to deliver a hybrid of future-proof solutions that guide and help your business achieve”
It’s never important until the unthinkable happens. The famous two words of Robert Baden-Powell could never be more pertinent in these times. “Be Prepared”