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Nine areas to think about when creating a business continuity plan

We wanted to give you a few pointers about things to think about if you’re working on your business continuity plan, perhaps using your CertiKit ISO22301 Toolkit. In no particular order, here they are.

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 2010 ash cloud over Europe grounded over 100,000 flights and left over 10 million people stranded. This had a massive effect on businesses as many staff were stranded and unable to get into work.

3. Access to your premises

What would happen if you and your staff were unable to access the building. e.g fire, roads closed, protest, riots? Have you got a work at home policy and procedure in place or an outsourcing company you could use? The UK Riots of 2011 caused huge costs to local businesses. Many owners and employees were unable to access their premises or had to close early. Buildings were burned down and supplies to other businesses effected. 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 1985 the Buncefield oil storage depot fire in Hertfordshire UK affected over 400 businesses as they could not access their premises as the result of the fire which resulted in 25,000 people being unable to reach their primary work location.

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

What would happen if there was a flu pandemic and 50% of your staff were unable to work? Do you have an agency you could use or an outsourcing company? Pandemics are a reality and many businesses were effected in Asia in 2003 by the Sars virus, and more recently in other countries by Bird Flu. Who knows when the next one could be 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?

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