And how security management consultants can help you prepare for the unexpected
Businesses have been through a lot in recent years. A global pandemic that’s still ongoing. Increasingly intense natural disasters. Economic downturns and inflation upswings.
From unexpected supply chain issues to utilities outages to cyber attacks, business owners and managers face unprecedented risks that will keep impacting business and operations.
But every challenge is an opportunity. All businesses that have adapted or are willing to invest in the correct methods to protect their business through the trying times are always going to be in a stronger position.
How? Through effective business continuity planning.
In this article, we’re going to run through the business continuity services and planning techniques that keep companies open for business no matter what comes along.
What is business continuity planning?
First, we need to define business continuity. We borrowed this definition from the Business Continuity Institute:
“Business continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations, so your organisation can continue to function with as little disruption as possible.”
Put another way, business continuity (also called business resilience) is a measure of your company’s ability to operate at acceptable levels during and after a disruption.
Business continuity planning is the process of creating systems, processes and protocols to deal with disruptions.
What threats do businesses face?
A thorough business continuity plan considers the breadth of potential threats that could interrupt normal operations, such as:
- Lockdown events
- Supply chain failure
- Cyber attacks
- Natural disasters
- Civil unrest
- Sudden equipment loss, property damage or theft
- Loss of key staff
- Power outages
- Random failure of critical systems
Most savvy business owners and managers are already aware of these risks, at least peripherally. As security management consultants, it’s our job to analyse the risks in depth and structure a response that minimises disruption.
How a business continuity plan comes together
Business continuity planning aims to bolster a company’s resilience in view of its unique risk profile. Our business continuity services come together in five broad phases.
1. Goal setting
A good business continuity plan keeps employees safe and operations running (in that order) no matter what happens.
We’ll work with executives and managers to:
- Analyse the risks
- Identify key business impacts
- Establish loss tolerance levels
- Develop key objectives and priorities
2. Assembling the team
Business continuity planning spans every part of the organisation. Everyone is involved in some way.
We recommend assigning a team lead capable of overseeing the business continuity plan, communicating its importance, disseminating information, and working with teams to embed continuity protocols.
3. Gathering information
This is the most intensive phase of our business continuity services, where we comb through the company’s data to document:
- Roles: Which employees or teams are critical to business continuity?
- Suppliers: The vendors and contractors the company uses, and the fallback options in case of disruption.
- Equipment: Mapping the active machinery and equipment, including off-site hardware like data servers, plus any recovery plans or failsafe systems already in place.
- Process: Existing protocols and processes to deal with disruption; for example, QR code check-ins for social distancing, work-from-home policies, emergency management plans, and crisis management and communication plans.
Is your business behind on emergency preparedness planning? Read our recent crisis management guide.
4. Documenting the business continuity plan
By now, we should understand your operations inside and out. It’s time to bring the pieces together in a holistic business continuity plan that outlines your action plan in case of unexpected events.
In most cases, we focus on the significant risks that could cause large-scale or long-term disruption.
5. Testing and refining
Before rolling out the plan, we work with managers and teams to test various aspects of the plan.
From emergency evacuation drills to data backup tests, and emergency response simulation to hands-on training, Lockforce can help your team prepare for any eventuality.