Be Prepared by Getting Back to BCP Basics

Are you truly prepared to help steer your business through a major disruption?

Consider the range of threats that can affect your business continuity:

  • Power loss
  • Natural disaster such as a hurricane, wildfire or major blizzard
  • Cyberthreat
  • Active shooter scenario
  • Pandemic

Any one of these threats – and others – can disrupt your business. And then what? You need a business continuity plan (BCP) that helps get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible. You cannot afford to waste time determining how to react during and after a threat, because ceasing operations can be catastrophic.

Your business continuity plan should help protect your company against threats and help you recover from them. Be sure your BCP is effective by signing up for our free upcoming webinar, 30 Business Continuity Best Practices in 30 Minutes. This quick presentation provides you dozens of best practices to help navigate a major business disruption.

Disruptions Can Destroy Businesses

As you know, recovering quickly from a disruption is serious stuff. Any degree of disruption costs your business money and can destroy customer relations. In fact, 75 percent of companies without a continuity plan fail within three years after facing a disaster. Those companies unable to get back up and running in 10 days post-emergency generally do not survive at all.

Don’t add your business to such sobering statistics. Register for the webinar now.

Test and Retest Your Business Continuity Plan

Let’s look more closely at best practices, starting with testing. Once it’s in place, a BCP must be continuously monitored or tested for gaps or obstacles. Doing so provides training and practice to verify that the plan is effective in case of an actual disruption.

The Department of Homeland Security says that four groups should be involved in testing your BCP — not every company has these teams, so test according to your company’s circumstances:

  • All your employees
  • Your emergency response team
  • Your business continuity team
  • Your crisis communications group

Each group has a different role in BCP testing and keeping them involved helps ensure that your BCP is up to the challenge. Testing also opens the discussion for other potential threats and risks that your company needs to protect against.

For example, you may be confident about how your BCP supports a power outage. But you may not be ready for the consequences of a pandemic. What do you do if your absenteeism rate soars to 100 percent, which is entirely possible during a pandemic? Testing ensures that your plan is updated and ready to activate in any scenario.

Test in Multiple Locations

Another best practice involves BCP testing locations. Testing typically includes a variety of tabletop scenarios and full-scale exercises. You can effectively conduct tabletop scenarios in a conference room. During a tabletop session, participants read through potential emergency situations and describe how they would respond based on the BCP.

Full-scale simulations include a dry run with a walk-through scenario on premises. During a cyberthreat, this most likely focuses on the IT department and company data centers. Be sure you include the implications for IT in any scenario to help ensure your cyber-resiliency. For instance, you must prepare for outages, downtime and equipment failure.

You should schedule testing regularly, alongside your other corporate meetings. It cannot be an afterthought.

Keep Everyone on Board

Another critical aspect of your BCP is including people who may be indirectly affected by an incident. For instance, say your business has remote workers who are out of the path of a hurricane and perhaps in a different country altogether. What is your plan to keep them in the loop?

Activate Your Plan Before a Crisis

Successful business continuity plans are put into action before a crisis. A mass notification system is the best way to manage communications in a high-stakes situation. If your company currently has a notification system, consider auditing your platform with questions like these:

  • When is the last time you tested your system?
  • How often do you update your employee contact data?
  • Do employees know you have an alerting program in place and how to use it?

Taking a proactive approach with your system can make all the difference in how effectively your plan works in a true emergency.

Be Sure You’re Prepared: Join Us for 30 in 30

Learn more about these BCP basics and more. Join us for our free upcoming webinar, 30 Best Continuity Best Practices in 30 Minutes, Wednesday, August 15, with Bob Mellinger, founder and president of Attainium Corp.

Remember, if you have to think about what to do in a crisis, you’re too late. Register today.

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