“It’s not going to happen to my business” is a common attitude that won’t serve your company well before, during or after an emergency or disaster. It’s the type of thinking that will more likely lead to you not having a business for anything to happen to.
If you’re planning to stay in business in this world filled with risk, a solid business continuity plan is a must-have tool. Building that plan means planning, prepping and practicing. We’ve got a few tips to help you do that.
The most effective business continuity plans account for the following:
Information necessary for running your physical and digital data should to be backed up and accessible to the people who will need it. Communication about what is happening, next steps and progress is necessary to keep everyone and everything accounted for and accountable. Have a plan in place for how key employees will communicate and be reached will help things run more smoothly during an emergency. These four elements are key.
Backup your people
Your business continuity plan must work in a less than ideal situation. That means, the best person for the job might not be available to do it. Consider who will be a second and third contact for each vital role is your number one is unable to do the job.
Plan for the effect
A business continuity plan should address the result of the action, it doesn’t need to protect against the threat. Focus on what you will do to keep up when the electricity goes out, when the basement floods, when the files burn. Will your technology work if the power is out? How will you recover your data from the cloud with no internet connection? You can’t know what the specifics of any emergency situation will be, deterring the threat might not be possible. What’s important is being able to conduct business in the conditions that will follow.
Depending on your business, different aspects of your plan may be more important than others. What is the same for everyone business is that leaders, hr, IT and security personnel all need to work together and communicate to come up with the balance that your organization needs.
Train and test
Training and testing cannot be stressed enough. Your plan will only work if your employees know what it is and have practiced it. Even with practice, during a crisis, simple plans can be difficult to carry out. Practicing will make execution easier and help you to identify revisions and better ensure success.
There is no way your business can prevent or prepare for all the known risks, much less those unknown. However, keep the four key elements in mind when creating your business continuity plan: people, information, technology communication, and plan for how these elements could be affected in potential post-crisis environments.