The most important things you need to do when planning
Getting your business continuity plan on the go can seem quite a daunting task. When I first began to do research on business continuity, I came across an unappetizing alphabet soup: complex and closely guarded like the Colonel’s secret recipe. For the CFO, COO or CTO who is making important decisions on how to proceed with getting the business continuity project on the go, here are a few points that will make the process easier to accomplish.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is key to business continuity planning. Keep your contingency plans simple and to the point, yet as packed with relevant information as possible. By using concise and well thought-out steps you will enable the plan manager to direct the plan with greater ease. Who really wants to read an essay regarding how to turn off the power? Keep it short and simple.
Careful and comprehensive risk analysis exercises that involve staff and role-players are key to curating the right information for your continuity plan. Determine not only risks but areas of strength. When doing business impact analysis, determine the impact that these risks have on vital services, assets and personnel. Focus on the most likely and then move down the list to the ones less likely to occur. There’s no sense in analysing things that can take up precious time.
Minimize the potential of a threat
The best way to deal with a threat is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Deciding to run your business from an “affordable” premises that is right next to a river that is known to overflow is asking for trouble. Sometimes though we may not be able to prevent a disaster from happening and that is why not only careful contingency planning, but testing of the plans is vital
Testing and scheduling
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Even the most well thought-out plans often go horribly wrong if not tested regularly. I remember an incident at my previous place of employment where a fire extinguisher did not work because it had not been serviced. Fortunately, we managed to contain the situation but it could have been prevented if fire drills were done as they should have been done.
Insist on protecting the essentials
Part and parcel of your business continuity planning is making sure that vital elements of your business are protected such as:
- Data: Protect your off-site data. Run regular data integrity checks to ensure the correct data is backed up.
- Alternate power supply options: Have alternate power supplies such as generators, inverters and solar power installed as contingencies to your primary power source.
- Alternate sites: Also known as hot-sites; these are sites that one can fail over to in the event of a crisis.
- Alternate communications: Use LTE and wireless systems to failover to in the event of an internet disruption. Use VOIP as an alternative to traditional voice lines.
- Emergency contact information: Make sure to keep important information such as medical and other information on hand in case of an emergency
Make your business continuity planning work for you
Business continuity done the right way saves costs and improves processes. Protect vital systems, test your contingency plans regularly and constantly analyse and prevent disruption in the first place. Do not procrastinate because business continuity does not have to be an impossible task.