Different business continuity plan scenarios
A business continuity plan requires you to consider the impact that different threats could have on your business. This is known as a business impact analysis.
The specific nature of your business will determine which threats are most serious for you.
You should rank the likelihood and potential severity of different scenarios to determine which ones should be the focus of your business continuity management.
Determining risks, processes, and impact
Before you can strategise regarding your response to an emergency, you first have to define both your business and what constitutes an emergency. That means you have to produce a detailed overview of exactly how your company functions on a day-to-day basis.
Once you know the operations that are essential to your company’s survival, you can start working out which risks would put your business in grave danger. Could your entire business activities be jeopardised by a simple power outage? If so, this part of the process will make that fact clear.
With an overview of your operations and a list of potential threats, it’s easier to forecast the impact that a crisis could have on your company.
Understanding company threats
Every potential threat wouldn’t affect every company equally. Your business continuity plan should focus on the disasters that would most disrupt your particular business.
To figure this out, consider the main threats that are considered to impact business continuity. These include biological hazards, epidemic illnesses, natural disasters, power cuts, and internet attacks.
Assess each threat individually based on what you know about your business. This will help you rank the magnitude of these threats and create a plan that reflects your company’s reality.
You’ll undoubtedly realise that some threats are relatively low risk for your particular business. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them entirely, but it makes sense to focus on those that pose the most danger to your company’s survival.
Determining your key resources
Every company relies on specific resources. Business continuity management requires you to write a list of everything your business needs to survive. Then, you can consider how different disasters might impact your access to these resources.
You’ll have to ask yourself some important questions. What could be used as an alternative if this wasn’t available through the regular channels? Are there other methods of obtaining equivalent items that could be explored?
Remember, these resources may extend beyond the business itself. Maybe your work relies on key contacts, rented items, or regular deliveries. The scope of your business continuity plan should extend to how you’d replace these resources to survive in the aftermath of different disasters.
Of course, every member of your team plays an important role in your business. However, to plan for an emergency, you need to consider which staff members your business couldn’t survive without. This will help you organise a skeleton staff team that can take over in the event of a crisis.
Who could be considered most essential? Those who know the business best as well as the regulations it needs to follow. Those who lead your sales services or manage important client accounts. Those who lead your production processes. It really depends on the specific nature of your business.
This part of the plan isn’t about invalidating the contributions of your team. It’s about imagining a worst-case scenario and determining the minimum support that your business would require to survive.
Key external contacts
Until you’ve developed a full overview of your business operations, you may not realise just how many external contacts your company depends upon. How would these relationships and interactions be affected in the event of a crisis? This is important information that will inform your plan.
Think about the contractors your company uses as well as suppliers and distributors that work on your behalf. Your financial department probably uses the services of banks and lawyers, so include them in the plan. If your business couldn’t function without certain utilities, then these utility companies should be considered key external contacts.
Your plan should include contact information so you can reach these necessary people in an emergency.
Key data, equipment, and supplies
During an assessment of the most important resources to your business, you may realise that you haven’t backed up your data. This is one way in which a business continuity plan can help you make improvements to your operations right now!
Your company undoubtedly uses all kinds of equipment, technology, and supplies. Part of your planning needs to consider how these resources would be affected in different emergency situations. Then, you can develop solutions that can ensure your company’s survival.
Key business documents
There are certain documents that your company needs to continue operating. What would happen if you lost access to your banking information or your employee contracts? By considering this in advance, you can take preemptive, protective measures.
Many companies store all of their documents at one location. This increases the risk of an emergency situation becoming devastating for their business. A fire or adverse weather conditions could be enough to cause debilitating levels of damage.