From natural disasters to cyber attacks, human error to supply chain failure, there are many threats confronting organisations today. Which is why building a Business Continuity Management Plan (BCM) is so important.
A good BCM Plan recognises potential threats, analyses the impact they would have on your day-to-day operations and, should disaster strike, puts a plan in place to help your company mitigate the impact of the threat and keep essential functions up and running, with as little disruption and downtime as possible.
No matter whether you're an SMB, enterprise business, public sector organisation or a charity you need to be sure your business will carry on under even the most trying of circumstances. Simply hoping that accidents won't happen, or don't require immediate action is the wrong approach to business continuity. Because in essence, you are gambling with your organisation's profitability, productivity and ability to function.
Here are 6 Steps you need to know when building a Business Continuity Management Plan.
Step 1: Role planning and ownership
It's important to identify who precisely in the organisation is responsible for essential tasks and plans after a disaster event. These people need to respond quickly and initiate the BCM Plan. They may also need to be involved in the creation of the plan.
Step 2: Produce a Risk Assessment
It isn't just about understanding how risks can impact your organisation during a severe event, it's also about how to plan and manage for them once they occur. Because they will. Your business needs to put a lot of thought into a risk assessment that identifies all potential risks that could arise. This can be difficult to produce but will be well worth the effort.
Step 3: Build a Business Impact Analysis
By creating a list of all identified risks and assessing impact and loss scenarios on each department, Risk Managers can prioritise company resources to reduce the disruption appropriately and avoid the loss of critical business services and functions.
Step 4: Create the plan
The BCM Plan should revolve around 4 key stages. The first is Emergency Response Procedures, which take into account the safety of staff and security of your business assets and data. Then there’s Crisis Response, which covers the first critical decisions around what the crisis is and how the organisation should respond. Next to consider is Business Recovery and the steps required to restore critical functions and services, and the last is Business Resumes.
Step 5: Develop training programs and testing environments
Test, test and test again is an age-old saying. That is no different when testing business continuity plans. As soon as your business continuity plan has been built, the next step is to ensure staff are trained and informed, so they are familiar with their roles, and responsibilities during these stressful periods. Training and test exercises enable companies to put real-world scenarios into practice so that when they do occur, your company and staff are ready and prepared.
Step 6: Continued optimisation and maintenance
Threats and disasters are ever changing. For example, your organisation could add new facilities, hire personnel, move to a different location or develop relationships with additional business vendors. Not to mention new external threats from ever more sophisticated hackers or natural disasters. So it's vital to continually develop the systems to match what is happening throughout the company. Especially when there is a change to core business functions, or new departments are added.
Overall, having a Business Continuity Management Plan in place enables companies to show consumers a 'Business as usual' face, even when you're under threat. This will save your organisation time and money and avoid any possible bad PR or loss of public face.
If you are looking to explore BCM Software that will enable your Business Continuity Management Plans, simply request a demo on our website at www.ReadiNow.com
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Read how one of Australia's largest financial institutions optimised their BCM processes.