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6 Tips To Ensure BCP in for your Business

DCS does Business Continuity Planing
DCS does Business Continuity Planing

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Business Continuity planning is a crucial business process many companies have been adopting in increasing numbers. This is the strategy and action of preparing your business for disaster and ensuring that essential business functions are still available to stakeholders when disaster strikes. While these contingency plans are vital, many companies struggle to create a strategy that will work effectively.

Here are six tips to help ensure that your business continuity efforts will work.

1. Know your risks: When creating a business continuity plan or updating existing operations, it is a good idea to step back and identify all possible risks to your organization as a group - with crucial staff. It's essential to focus on risks from within and outside the organization. No risk is too small, even if it is an issue that could only affect one person or department.

It would be best to try to detail the consequences and what could happen should these defined risks come to fruition. This will give you a better idea of areas that need to be improved and potential problematic systems or positions. From here, you can also better develop a more solid plan with a higher chance of succeeding.

2. Ensure your plan matches your business: Because business continuity planning can be complex, many small companies prefer to use ready-made plans and templates. The problem with these is that they may not provide precisely what you need - most of these templates are pretty general. While we aren't saying you shouldn't use a template, and they can save time and money, you need to be sure that you either find a template that covers your business or adapt it to fit your business needs.

Pay close attention to where the plan fits in with your company, the scale of your company compared to the plan, available resources, where you work, and how your employees work (remotely, onsite, both, etc.). If these differ from the template or current plan, you should modify or update your strategy to ensure it meets your needs.

3. Be sure that all staff buy-in: It is usually pretty easy to get the staff under your command to buy into a business continuity plan - after all, they may have helped modify or come up with it. You must ensure that all upper management and stakeholders know the plan, how it will work, when it will be activated, and support it.

One way to do this is to have a signoff sheet where all managers and key employees sign their names to ensure they understand and support the plan. If you have holdouts, you should work with them to figure out what aspects of the plan they disagree with and work out if they have better or alternative solutions to bring to the table.

4. Keep your plan current: A common mistake many businesses make is developing an excellent continuity plan but not updating it. Companies and the climate around them are constantly changing. Having a workable plan five years ago will likely not meet your exact needs today.

To ensure that your business continuity plan is viable, it is recommended that you update it every year or, indeed, when you undergo a significant change in your business. Be sure to pay attention to who has changed roles, any new systems introduced or retired, and any changes to the core business

5. Communication is vital: Communication is crucial to any business. To have a continuity plan that works, you must ensure that you communicate with all staff and that they know their roles, who to report to, and what to do if they cannot reach the office, for example.

It is also a good idea to communicate with those outside the business who could be affected by a disaster that impacts your company. Generally, all parties involved should know and have access to the plan and be informed of updates or changes. Employees should also see how disasters might affect the company, their roles, and people outside the organization.

6. Practice: Think of any professional athlete. They didn't get to where they are today by sitting around and not doing anything. They practiced their sport and took note of what needed to be improved upon, then went and worked on their game. The idea here is that you should practice implementing your plan regularly. The timing depends on your business and propensity to danger. If you have defined a high risk to your organization, it is a good idea to practice implementing the plan once every two to three months. Most organizations should be fine with twice a year.

After each practice, teams should get together for experience sharing to talk about what they noticed worked well and what needs to be improved on. Then, changes can be implemented, and the plan can evolve.

If you want to integrate a business continuity plan into your business or improve on an existing one, contact us today to see how we can create a viable, workable solution to minimize the negative impact on your business.