Although critical events are on the rise around the world, 60 percent of CEOs have no plan to address the biggest physical threats to their business, according to the 2023 OnSolve Global Risk Impact Report.*
This is unsettling news, considering crises such as hurricanes, wildfires, cyber attacks and active shooters are likely to become even more prevalent in coming years. To stay ahead and ensure business continuity, organizations can create resilient practices – scalable and repeatable people, processes and technology – that give them the ability to bend and not break during a crisis.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is a strategy that outlines how an organization will continue operating during a crisis or any sort of disruption. To be effective, it must detail the ins and outs of your specific operations and their vulnerabilities. It should outline the particular actions you’ll take to reduce the risk itself, as well as the potential harm. An effective plan will include contingencies for all essential business functions, such as manufacturing and supply chains, IT, finance, human resources and public relations.
How Does a Business Continuity Plan Promote Organizational Resilience?
Organizational resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulty or disaster, which is precisely what a business continuity plan is built to do. With an effective plan, your organization should be able to sustain operations during a crisis and quickly return to business as usual.
It’s not just about what to anticipate. It’s also about how to adapt when a risk becomes reality. While no organization anticipated the pandemic, those with a vigorous business continuity plan were better prepared to adjust supply chains, shift to remote work and modify their business models. Continuity planning involves considering a variety of scenarios and forming strategies for how your organization will continue functioning in each situation.
As the hybrid model continues to be the employment norm, organizations must ensure their systems and technology enable employees to work remotely without risking cybersecurity or network delays. If a critical event (such as the ongoing supply chain crisis) causes a change in demand for your product, do you have risk intelligence in place to quickly adjust your operations? And if you need to get urgent public health information to all stakeholders, do you have a system for critical communications that lets you alert everyone instantly and keep them updated? Business continuity software that delivers these capabilities is essential to increasing organizational resilience.
Find out how to proactively prepare for threats to your organization and build resilience with business continuity planning.
If You’re Small – Think Big
Small businesses are arguably more vulnerable when crisis hits because their resources are often limited. To stay in business, they have to quickly get back to business. As of April 2022, 21.6 percent of small businesses in the U.S. reported a large negative effect due to COVID-19.
Those that survived have successfully pivoted. Perhaps they revamped their website, streamlined their online ordering capabilities or expanded their outdoor seating. Technology plays a key role. Even small businesses can benefit from a communications system that enables them to make sure employees are safe and healthy, as well as fill shifts when people are sick or injured.
If You’re Big – Maintain Focus
Large businesses typically have more stakeholders, and therefore they have to answer to more people. They need a way to organize and prioritize everything from their response teams to their critical communications.
Without an effective business continuity plan, large businesses face large scale risk. This can mean lost lives, livelihoods and major reputational damage. While large enterprises may have more resources, if they botch their response to one crisis, a secondary one could quickly result. Avoid these negative outcomes by planning in advance.
Business Continuity Planning is Never Done
Regardless of size or location, organizations of all types can streamline their business continuity efforts with a platform for critical event management. With this technology, you can get the right information to the right people at the right time.
In addition to utilizing modern technology, organizations should regularly test, evaluate and update their business continuity plans. Features like an audit trail and accessible reporting will help leaders conduct effective after-actions reviews to make continuous improvements.
Make the re-evaluation of potential threats a regular part of your scheduled review process. Conduct scenario planning and consider both likely and unlikely circumstances, as well as cascading damages. Think about how every aspect of your organization could be impacted and develop strategies for each situation. Have your team simulate a critical event to make sure everyone knows their role, and send test messages via your emergency mass notification system to ensure everyone is receiving the alerts.
Invest in Business Continuity Software
The time to shop for a critical event management platform is before a crisis strikes. To keep up with the rapid pace of change, it should include AI-powered risk intelligence, industry-leading critical communications and mobile incident management. These capabilities will enable your organization to:
- Rapidly detect relevant critical events.
- Alert all stakeholders as the situation unfolds.
- Maintain accountability and fill shifts.
- Activate and manage response teams.
- Sustain operations throughout recovery.
By implementing these tips, organizations can fine tune their business continuity plan and accelerate the discovery and recovery of uncontrollable risks to business operations.
Ready to learn more? Contact OnSolve to see our platform for critical event management in action.
*The 2023 OnSolve Global Risk Impact Report outlines the top risks that have occurred as a percentage of all events OnSolve detected from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022, that had the potential to impact its customers worldwide. The data in this report was gathered using OnSolve Risk Intelligence, an AI-powered technology that monitors over 50 risk categories of physical threats across 159 countries in real time. OnSolve Risk Intelligence detected more than nine million global events, or physical threats, from 2021 to 2022, using AI and analyst-vetted information pulled from data sources that include local fire, police and emergency medical services departments; weather reports and alerts from government and non-government, verified sources; federal government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and other crisis management entities; local, national and international news; and critical event reports from verified social media feeds. OnSolve Risk Intelligence monitors global physical threats that have an impact on its 30,000 customer base, which consists of more than half of the Fortune 100, nearly half of the Fortune 500 and 10,000 communities in the U.S., including state, regional, local and federal entities. OnSolve programmatically maps events to locations worldwide, determining which part of an organization might be at risk. This report aggregates to a country-level view year over year of the physical threats specific to our customers’ people and operations across their offices, plants, warehouses and office locations, and while traveling worldwide. It highlights the most significant risks impacting businesses and governments when 2022 is compared to 2021.