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Nine areas to consider when creating a Business Continuity Plan

Every business has a certain amount of risk to account for, whether it be loss of power, a cyber threat, extreme weather, or of course, the recent global pandemic… A business continuity plan allows your organization to plan for such risks and prepare responses to minimise disruption.

ISO22301 provides a framework to plan, implement and maintain a Business Continuity Management System to protect against and respond quickly to disruptions.

Whether you’re working towards ISO22301 or just putting together a business continuity plan, we wanted to highlight nine key areas you may want to consider.

1. Communication

How will you communicate to your staff, customers and suppliers what has happened and how will you keep communication going until normal service is resumed?

2. Severe weather

Severe weather such as storms, flooding, snow, ash clouds can cause major disruption to a business – loss of power, burst water mains, staff unable to get into work, damage to the building. The floods in Europe in 2021 killed over 200 persons, disrupting thousands of businesses by destroying property and preventing staff getting into work.  Wildfires swept parts of France, Spain, Greece, and the Balkans destroying thousands of hectares of land, again affecting hundreds of businesses from farms to shops.

3. Access to your premises

What would happen if you and your staff were unable to access the building. e.g pandemic, fire, roads closed, protest? Have you got a work at home policy and procedure in place or an outsourcing company you could use? The start of the COVID pandemic in the UK in 2020 caused huge costs to local businesses. Many owners and employees were unable to access their premises due to government lockdowns and restrictions. Who could have predicted this would happen?

4. Your suppliers

What would happen if your suppliers had an interruption to their business or went out of business? Do you have alternative suppliers you could use?

5. Fire

Fire can not only destroy your premises, but it can cause smoke and water damage. Fire in the local area can also affect your business. In January 2020, a huge fire engulfed a petrochemical plant at Grangemouth Docks, Scotland.  Luckily, no one was injured, but the physical damage to the site was over £1m. A large fire in 2021, at an industrial estate in Wales destroyed one business’s complete stock of books, closing their shop for months and resulted in many customers getting refunds.

6. Fuel Strategy

Do you have an effective fuel strategy should there be a fuel crisis? Even if you think you are not directly affected by a fuel crisis, almost all businesses will be indirectly. What effect would this have on your company vehicles, staff getting to work and your suppliers delivering to you? Have you thought about what alternatives to travel there are, such as using video conferencing or audio conferencing instead of having a meeting? Have you thought about how you will let customers know if their orders cannot be fulfilled? These are all things that need to be planned for.

7. Theft

What effect would it have on your business if equipment or data was stolen in terms of the physical cost and the legal costs if it contained sensitive data?

8. Information Technology

Most businesses these days are dependent on IT. How well protected are you from system failure, hackers and viruses? The impact on a business can be huge as it is not only the cost of repair but also the potential cost of customer information and legal implications.

9. Staff illness

2020 saw the outbreak of COVID 19.  A pandemic that swept the world.  Governments imposed severe restrictions across all sectors of business. With 2 years of lockdowns and restrictions, many businesses have had to rethink their business strategy or close. Who knows when the next one could strike or what impact it may have on your business? Consider how you would cope if any of your key staff were ill or unable to return to work? Is someone else able to do their job? If you have a union, what would happen if staff went out on strike? How would you resume business?

If you have not prepared for any of these things, your business is at risk. You may be safe today but who knows what the future may bring?

How can CertiKit help with your Business Continuity Plan?

ISO22301 is recommended for businesses of any size and industry that want to put a business continuity plan in place. CertiKit’s ISO22301 toolkit is compliant to the 2019 version of the standard, and includes more than 70 template documents and guides, and unlimited email support with a qualified consultant.

Download a free 36-page guide to find out more about the standard, the implementation process and how a CertiKit toolkit can help!


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