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You wouldn’t expect results after one session at the gym – business continuity requires effort, motivation and a plan.

You wouldn’t expect results after one session at the gym – business continuity requires effort, motivation and a plan.

02/08/2016 02:53 by James Warner
Key Accounts Manager

Just like a pair of trainers doesn’t make you fit, a business continuity plan doesn’t make you safe.

Key takeaways for this post

  • You need reliable suppliers and process
  • You need to use your business continuity guidelines
  • It’s as much about natural disasters as it is accidents

“Business continuity is about frequency, improvements and time” bci webinar

Reliable suppliers and process

Your processes might change over time and you need to adapt to those changes. Sometimes, we leave our business continuity plans to gather dust and they’re not up to dealing with our business as it stands today.

We’re only as good as our last game. One of the fastest ways to get back into shape is to look at your processes and compare them to your current business continuity plan. There's no need to do everything at once. Focusing on one specific section is perfectly fine until you need to move onto another area.

You need to look at what you want to achieve. Did you have the same goals when you first set up your disaster recovery and business continuity plans? Have your goals changed since you first created a plan? Uncover what’s important now and prioritise new aspects of your improved business continuity plan.

Suppliers can provide valuable insight into your business continuity plans. Outsourcing risk management and product testing might be the smartest way to trial changes and new strategies.

In some respects, you need to be brought out of your comfort zone and pushed to see what is likely to break first. It could be an internal process, a logistics protocol or human resources. What we’re trying to find is the reliable aspects of the business that can serve as the foundation for our new, improved business continuity plan.

You need to use your business continuity guidelines

Having a plan is all well and good. But it’s not going to save anything if it’s just sitting in a file on a shelf. The true value of a business continuity plan comes from using it and testing it regularly.

Setting aside time and regular intervals to study your plan and compare it against your business, will save you money and time in the long run. By frequently acting on your business continuity strategy, disaster recovery will become more streamlined because you know what to expect.

By continuously monitoring your plans, you’ll make incremental improvements to them over time. Individually, each edit might not make massive gains. But combined, they form a stronger and safe business continuity strategy that suits the situation that the business is in.

There’s an element of maturity to certain business practices and disaster recovery should be a reflection of where your business is. Depending on the complexity of your process, logistics and infrastructure, your testing is going to vary.

As businesses mature, they need to move away from discussion and exploration based strategies and start using the plans they’re putting in place. Even going so far as to implement a business continuity plan and testing it in the real world.

The costs of these real live tests increase with business size and time, but so does the benefit of creating controlled scenarios. The cost of loss, if something was to go wrong, increases too. This means business continuity strategy needs to weigh the cost of testing their plan and strategy vs. the cost of the disaster and subsequent recovery.

It’s as much about natural disasters as it is accidents

When we look at a business continuity plan, it's tempting to side with one of three types of disaster. Natural, manmade or accident.

Businesses will often focus on one area and neglect other potential scenarios because they believe they’re not applicable. Large businesses might believe that in the middle of a city, a natural disaster isn’t likely to disrupt them.

On the other hand, terrorist attacks might seem unlikely to affect a smaller business based in a rural area. However when we look at what we’re protecting and trying to keep running, it's less about the disaster that occurs and more about the branching effects of that event.

For example, if something happened to the building you worked in, could emergency services easily access the areas where people congregate? Would you need to shelter and feed staff if they needed to leave the office or premises?

What business practices are going to suffer if your external suppliers can’t deliver? What happens when large staff numbers can’t access the building? Is there remote working set up or does business just halt?

The effects of the events and disasters are what cause businesses to slow down or even stop entirely. You need to understand what would happen outside of your workplace to really have a robust business continuity plan.

Takeaway

Business continuity needs to be improved over time and frequently addressed and challenged. You need to test the limits of the business in order to see where the breaking points are.

80% of businesses suffering a major disaster go out of business in three years (itspivotal.com)

  • What structure does your business already have that provides a solid foundation?
  • It’s about making regular small gains in order to combat large sudden change
  • There’s a lot you’re not in control of and you need to take that into account

 

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