A recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that many business owners in the UK are not sufficiently prepared to handle unexpected disruption to their business.
A business continuity plan can help to safeguard your business against both internal and external disasters. By considering the points below, you can help to ensure that your business continuity plan covers some of the major areas of risk.
Cybercrime, such as phishing emails and malware, can cause a great deal of disruption to a business, especially if you rely on the use of computers and other devices for a significant part of your work.
In order to protect your business against the risks, you need to ensure that you download and install the latest software updates on all company devices, and that you are using a suitable firewall and anti-virus system, which is also updated regularly.
Implementing a robust password policy for work devices is key to protecting against cybercrime. It is also advisable to create a company policy on how to identify potential cybercrime issues, which can be circulated to all staff members. Ensuring that your policies and procedures cover mobile workers is key.
Finally, make sure that you back up data from all computers onto an external drive or a cloud storage system on a regular basis.
Loss of key staff members
If your business relies on key individuals, you need to consider how it would be affected if anything happened to them. A key staff member could be yourself, another director or an employee who is essential to the successful running of your business.
Key person insurance will protect your company against any potential financial loss. Keeping up-to-date notes on each key person’s responsibilities, and ensuring that another person can act as a back-up when required, is crucial to enable your business to continue to run smoothly.
Severe weather and unexpected incidents
Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, could mean that staff are unable to come in to the office. In addition, fire or flooding and thefts or accidents can happen at any time and could cause severe disruption to your business.
It is essential to have in place an appropriate and up-to-date buildings and contents insurance policy. If you have records saved on an external drive, you should ensure that a copy is kept in a secure location off-site. Where relevant, ensure prototypes of your products or services are kept off-site too.
Transport disruptions can also affect businesses financially. Staff delays or no-shows often mean that production is halted or deadlines are not met.
In both scenarios, offering staff the option to work from home or at an alternative location may help to reduce the impact and allow your business to continue operating.
Creating a disaster recovery team
Creating a dedicated disaster recovery team could help your business to plan for any potential catastrophes. Your disaster recovery team should analyse potential areas of risk and have responsibility for overseeing the running of the business until normal service can resume.
Your business continuity plan
A robust business continuity plan should ideally include:
- the names and emergency contact details of your disaster recovery team
- your insurance policy details
- step-by-step instructions on how to recover from some of the main scenarios which could affect your business
- procedures for testing the plan, to ensure that it is effective and to iron out any issues
- a timeframe for regular reviews, to make sure that your plan remains up-to-date and reflects any changes to your business.
We can advise on a range of strategies to help with the smooth running of your business.