WHAT IS BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING?

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a strategy you create to ensure critical functions continue and personnel and assets are protected in the event that your company suffers from difficult or disastrous circumstances, such as environmental disasters, technological issues and key staff members becoming ill or leaving.

WHY IS HAVING A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN IMPORTANT TO A SMALL BUSINESS?

Having a business continuity plan is important to a small business because it gives the business flexibility to survive in changing conditions and makes any business that you supply to more confident in your ability to deliver. It also benefits your income stream in times of stress and makes dealing with disasters less stressful and manageable.

Did you know? 

  • 48% of small businesses have NO BCP.
  • 80% of businesses affected by a major. incident close within 18 months.
  • 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are forced to shut within two years.

WHAT DOES A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN DO?

Why is having a business continuity plan important to a small business?

Having a business continuity plan is important to a small business because it gives the business flexibility to survive in changing conditions and makes any business that you supply to more confident in your ability to deliver. It also benefits your income stream in times of stress and makes dealing with disasters less stressful and manageable.

Did you know? 

  • 48% of small businesses have NO BCP.
  • 80% of businesses affected by a major. incident close within 18 months.
  • 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are forced to shut within two years.

WHAT DOES A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN DO?

A business continuity plan sets out your organisation’s response to various crises and disasters it might face. This includes setting out employee roles and responsibilities, planning contingencies and putting emergency procedures in place.

There are three main purposes of a BCP.

  • Roles and responsibilities.
    In the event of an unfortunate event, a BCP should clearly indicate which employees should do which jobs in order to regain stability. Without these roles and responsibilities outlined, your employees could end up adding to the problem.
  • Contingencies.
    A solid BCP should highlight contingencies for all potential hazards. This way, as soon as something goes wrong, you or an employee can see what needs to happen to resolve the situation quickly and safely.
  • Emergency procedures.
    If there is an emergency, it is vital that both you and all other employees know what to do. Your BCP should list all the necessary procedures that need to be taken to ensure the safety of employees is a top priority.

Did you know?

  • The average losses from a flood to a business are £28,000.
  • The average losses from a fire to a business are £7,300.
  • Data loss & downtime costs the UK £10.5 billion per year.

WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN?

If your business suffers from a problem with data recovery or storage, you should consider these options:

  • Keep External back-ups.
    While the cloud is great, you should also be making external back-ups of all your company data. This data should be held off-site at a secure location. As security is vital, it may be that simply storing it at home is not enough. With certain data, it may be that you are legally required to store back-ups in a secure location.
  • Keep Old equipment in case of emergency.
    Never throw away old equipment if it still works. It could come in use one day when you need it the most. Storage World routinely deals with customers who need to store equipment they are not using right now, but which may be necessary for a crisis.
  • Use a secure offsite location to store documents.
    If you have any documentation or data files stored, it should be in a secure and fire/flood proof location.
  • Insist on 24hour security.
    If you are holding any information about your customers or clients, where you store it needs to be 100% secure. This is true if it is a computer drive or hard copy files. Preferably there should be around the clock security of the premises.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BUSINESS HAS PROBLEMS WITH ITS SUPPLY CHAIN?

A standard business continuity plan has four main stages.

  • Understanding potential risks.
    The first key part of all BCPs is to highlight all potential risks facing your business. This is done for one main reason, if you don’t understand what the potential risks are, then you’re not going to be able to deal with the potential hazardous situations when they occur.
  • Determining your plan.
    After this, you need to decide how you are going to face these risks. How are you going to protect your business from a cyber-attack? How are you going to continue vital work when your key staff member is ill for a week?
  • Implementing your response.
    Once you have determined how you are going to respond to potential risks, it’s now time to implement these responses into your day-to-day working life to make sure that these responses are viable.
  • Testing and reviewing your plan.
    There is no point creating a plan if the plan doesn’t work when you need it the most. Once you have finished your BCP it’s important that you test out all continuity strategies and emergency procedures immediately, so that if a disaster does happen, you know you are ready and can limit the damage caused to the best of your ability.

If you need help with business continuity planning, here are some nearby companies:

Adler And Allan – http://www.adlerandallan.co.uk/consultancy/

Ambiental – http://www.ambiental.co.uk/flood-riskassessment/business-continuity-plans/

Enzygo – http://www.enzygo.com/contact-us/

UNDA – http://www.unda.co.uk/flood-risk-assessment/business-continuity-management/

Flood Risk Assessment –http://www.floodrisk.co.uk/about.htm

WaterCo – http://www.waterco.co.uk/what-we-do/assessment/