What could possibly go wrong with your business continuity plan?
Having a business continuity plan is no guarantee that when things go wrong that everything will be plain sailing. Things change and the business landscape is littered with potential landmines waiting to explode. So, what can go wrong with your business continuity plan? This blog takes a look at some of the loopholes that can creep into your continuity plan and how you can address them to ensure a predictable and desirable outcome in the event of a disaster or service outage.
Insufficient simulations and stress-testing
Simulating and auditing your business continuity plan exposes weaknesses and failings that may exist. You will also need to provide proof for compliance requirements. Simulations allow for the tweaking of continuity plans and the identification of shortcomings that may develop as your business - and its requirements for continuity - grows. Plans often fail because details have been left out or are not current. Calling the IT manager on his old mobile number is not going to help much when the server has crashed and your entire work floor is idle. Also attach manuals, document and other relevant information where necessary.
Too much information can be a bad thing
During a crisis event you will struggle to find the correct place in your elaborate documents. Cloud software that runs through a list of predetermined steps makes sense because one can manage an event in real-time and gather data for audit. Resist the urge to over-complicate things. Keep things simple yet detailed enough. Things don’t always go according to plan. In the planning phase of the business continuity plan and during simulations make contingency plans within the plan in the event that when a plan is aborted another plan can be executed. Also have back-up role-players within a plan so that if a role-player is not available or becomes incapacitated another can take over.
Always provide enough contact details: mobile number, additional mobile number, skype ,email and other instant messaging details. Use software that can use push notifications and link to instant messaging and mobile calling when needed. Lack of communication can result in death or disaster.
Always comply with regulations
Always comply with regulatory standards. Work these into policies and procedures in consultation with your compliance officer. Where needed, get professional advice, especially in safety matters. It is imperative to make safety a huge focus in business continuity planning. Once again, simulation is key to making sure that the plan is relevant and covers as much as possible.
When doing simulations - table-top or otherwise - carefully analyse risks and effects. Consult with staff, research where necessary and strategize. More often than not your staff are already using contingency plans in their day to day duties. Always recognise that things do not always go according to plan so brainstorm different scenarios. I always ask the “What if?” question when doing BIA.
The art of constructing an effective business continuity plan
The ISO 22301 business continuity standard is comprehensive and if followed will make the process of business continuity not only easier to achieve, but ensure that your plans are rock solid. Work agility, compliance and simulation into your business continuity planning. Use cloud software to reduce duplication of effort and to make business continuity mobile and effective. Most of all be consistent and proactive.
Image credit:Dollar photo