Business Continuity Planning: Is your business prepared for the worst?
13th April 2016
As a business owner you are susceptible to a major emergency and how you prepare and plan for this could be the difference between your business prospering in adversity or closure.
It is of course important that you hope for the best but also prepare for the worst. Flooding, fire, terrorism, flu epidemics, industrial sabotage, blizzards and loss of power are just a few hazards that a prudent business needs to consider.
Whilst investing in new machinery, vehicles, IT may be business as usual it is as important that those assets remain safe, secure and protected. It is therefore important that your business is prepared for all eventualities with a clearly defined plan and an execution strategy. An up to date viable plan will reassure your customers and suppliers that you take the resilience and security of your business seriously.
We advise that you have a ‘Business Continuity Plan’ that describes the practical steps your business will follow if a particular problem arises. An effective plan will provide a clearly defined course of action should the worst happen. The overall aim is of course to minimise disruption to the business and your customers.
The first step is to identify the main risks that could affect your business and we would advise making a list of potential issues. From there start to sketch out some worst case scenarios i.e. what would happen if – your premises were destroyed by fire, all your computers went down, there was an explosion at a neighbouring unit, all your customer data was stolen, the access road to your property was closed, the local train station was closed, there was a power failure or even one of your major suppliers went out of business.
It is important where possible to form a disaster recovery team who will have responsibility for developing and implementing your Continuity Plan.
The plan should include:
The Plan should be in writing and kept securely. It can be retained on the premises but there should also be a copy kept away from the premises. Disaster Recovery Plans should be tested on a regular basis, which could involve a simple paper exercise, including a run-through by the people involved. A full test may involve a simulation of an emergency. Record the procedures and results of the plan and use this to review and fine tune the plan if necessary.
Minimising the risk:
There are several things you can do to prevent disasters occurring and minimising the risk in the first place, some steps are:
Why bother? Disasters have no boundaries and whether you are a small or large business you may be affected. Research has shown that around 80% of businesses that suffer a disaster such as loss of computer data, damage caused by flood, fire or a major incident, cease trading within 12 months of the disaster.
Without an effective continuity plan your business could suffer from:
With no recovery plan your business has less chance of survival therefore, the time spent in putting together a business continuity plan is good for your business, staff and reputation.
For a no obligation review of your business insurance please contact Horner Blakey Insurance Brokers on 020 7929 0108.