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How a business continuity plan can help protect your firm

When was the last time you thought about cybersecurity? Chances are, it’s not the first thing on your radar. But, unfortunately, that could be a costly mistake. SMEs are more vulnerable to cyberthreat than ever before. 

If some of the more popular buzzwords of the past two years were “flexible work” and “hybrid business”, 2022’s might be more along the lines of consistency and continuity.

Going into a third year of upheaval isn’t appealing and so smart businesses are creating plans to offer a less disrupted service and process, to clients and staff, if and when the unexpected happens.

But what is a business continuity plan? Does your business even need one? And if the answer is a categorical yes, how do you go about implementing something that will help your business thrive in the next 12 months and beyond, no matter what happens?

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategy outlining specific details and actions a business will take to keep essential operations functioning in the event of a disaster.

While the pandemic might spring to mind when we talk about disruptions to business, a disaster can be anything that threatens the ongoing running of your company, such as a fire, a severe weather event, or a cyberattack.

A BCP provides a step-by-step guide for actions different people and departments should take in a crisis. Specifically designed to keep your business functioning, it also aims to keep the shutdown to the shortest possible time period, and has a post-disaster recovery plan that outlines how to get everything back to normal.

How Does a BCP Benefit My Business?

As well as providing some peace of mind to all staffers who have lived through previous disruptions to operations, a BCP has other benefits.

Any type of enforced slowing or stoppage of operations can have serious consequences for companies, including loss of money, time, and reputation, which can lead to permanent loss of business.

Through the process of creating a comprehensive BCP companies, and departments within them, are able to identify areas of operational weakness and security limitations that might be leaving the business open to attack.

By pinpointing the most essential areas of a business to ongoing operations, there is an opportunity to rethink and redesign outdated processes that could be serving the business better every day, not only when there’s a crisis.

A BCP also encourages business leaders to ensure all regulations are up to date and security measures are where they need to be at all times.

What should a BCP include?

Although the outcomes will be different for all businesses and will be affected by things like type of industry, service and even location, a basic BCP should always include the following:

  • Summary, including clear objectives, key-point people and distribution list
  • Risk management plan, including highlighting the most essential and/or vulnerable areas to protect
  • Disaster plan, including clear guidelines on what must be done, in what order, to keep primary operations running. These should include named people and their responsibilities and contact details
  • Recovery plan; what happens after the disaster plan has been evoked, and next steps
  • “Live fire” testing schedule, i.e., specific dates and times your business will test the BCP and troubleshoot the process.

It can take time to create a comprehensive BCP, but you and your business will never regret it. We can help you create a BCP that is specific to your business needs and ensure your company and staff can keep working even if disaster strikes.