Business continuity planning (BCP) is about creating a system of recovery and prevention from possible company threats. The plan ensures that the business’s staff and assets are safeguarded during a disruption and operations can resume with little downtime.
BCP consists of identifying all potential risks that can hurt the company’s operations. This makes BCP a crucial factor in the company’s risk management strategy. Risks may involve natural disasters—flood, fire, or weather-related events—pandemics, human error, power outages, and cyberattacks. IT administrators usually create BCP, yet, the executive staff also joins the process of developing the plan, offering the needed knowledge about the company and oversight. They also ensure the BCP is constantly updated.
As BCP is vital, knowing its steps is ideal for your business to be more resilient in the event of a disruption, especially concerning natural disasters. Overall, read on as this article will outline those steps.
- Prepare A Business Continuity Management Team
It’s great to designate emergency preparedness and business continuity management tasks to a team. Choose a few managers or an existing committee to oversee the project and assign one person to lead the planning process. You must also ensure that this emergency manager has the capacity to get things done.
The arrangement of your team depends on your BCP goals and your company’s size. A good BCP should provide the steps your employees have to take whenever a disaster happens, the details on the type of communication method needed, and the duration in which critical IT services are required to be present.
In addition, as with other business aspects, the planning that your team will develop for a possible disruption depends on the following:
- Substantial research on the threats
- Awareness of organizational objectives
- Trustworthy decision-making process
- Clever alternatives to distinct challenges
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- Conduct Risk Assessment
Organize a risk assessment to determine the nature and likelihood of a natural disaster. This can include asking vital questions to assess the risks faced by the business. What are the potential business natural disasters that are most likely to happen? What is the most profitable operation of your company?
To identify natural disaster risks, you can collaborate with stakeholders to determine critical risks affecting their success and how the disaster can impact your partnership with these stakeholders.
In addition, it’s crucial to take into first place the key risks that can occur. You can prioritize the risks after listing your industry risks, rising trends, geographical area, target market, etc. This may depend on the level of impact, the possibility of a natural disaster occurring, or other established criteria. After this, prioritize activities that will assist in the mitigation of the damage in the event a natural disaster occurs.
Altogether, once the natural disaster risks have been determined and a response has been created, determine gaps in the BCP through extensive review. Encourage working together to determine the weakness in the plan to conduct the needed changes.
- Conduct A Business Impact Analysis
The next step consists of a detailed and in-depth assessment of your business processes to identify the susceptible areas in your company and the possible losses if those processes are threatened by disruption. This is known as business impact analysis. Likewise, it helps determine the essential elements of the business processes. For example, keeping a supply chain may be more critical during a disruption compared to public relations.
Know that business impact analysis is more effective if feedback from employees and managers is obtained. Take note of:
- Understanding various team structures and their tools.
- Meeting with managers and looking to have their feedback concerning how a potential disaster can have an impact on these processes.
- Creating questionnaires.
- Providing workshops to guide business function and process managers on how to finish the business impact analysis.
In addition, the steps to having a business impact analysis consist of:
- Gathering Information
- Report Preparation
- Report Presentation
- Business Continuity Plan Testing
If you’ve never acted on your BCP plan, it can be difficult to be assured that your plan will be enough. As such, testing your BCP assists in improving your company’s ability to recover well from disruptions such as natural disasters.
BCP testing assesses your employees’ level of preparedness in an emergency. It’s a risk-to-reality simulation in which the staff and BCP team must collaborate to ensure your organization will find solutions and that it will recover damaged properties after a natural disaster. At its core, it’s a drill for what will occur if a significant natural disaster risk happens to a company.
Different testing methods exist to test the efficacy of the BCP, such as:
- Walk Through: In walk-through testing, the team members will enact their role in the plan during an event of a possible natural disaster. Simulated response, drills, and disaster-role playing are included in this.
- Disaster Simulation Testing: A true-to-life setting that copies a disaster is done here. This is the nearest simulation to an actual event and offers the best-case scenario concerning the plan’s effectiveness.
- Tabletop Test: In a tabletop test, the executives will discuss the plan in-depth to assess whether it will succeed. Here, the response to a natural disaster is communicated extensively.
- Update Your Business Continuity Plan
Updating your BCP is almost as crucial as developing one. And businesses that do this are more likely to handle a disruption more successfully. If you’re not updating your BCP, your business will constantly have an issue. Your business updates as time pass, and you’re integrating new systems into your IT infrastructure. Thus, your BCP should also stay updated with time. Also, updating your BCP allows you to assess the lessons learned after a disruption or crisis.
On a side note, the number of BCP updates for your company will be based on your company’s objectives and industry. It will also be based on your risk profile. To provide a baseline, companies should reassess their plans every six months. This reassessment will help determine if you need to update your BCP.
Here are some areas that you can go on to have policy changes to adjust with the changes during and after a disruption.
- Timely Incident Response And Communication
- Workforce Health And Safety
- Internet Technology To Support The Workforce
- Workforce Protection And Scheduling
BCP is about having a recovery and prevention system from potential threats against a company. The plan ensures that the employees and the company assets are secured and can do their tasks quickly in the event of a disaster.
There are steps to having a BCP for natural disasters. These steps will help a company solidify its BCP. Applying these steps will ensure that the organization will maintain its activities and mitigate the financial risks that these natural disasters can entail.