There have been many events and disasters over the last decade that have highlighted the need for business continuity and basic planning to assist in incident management and business recovery following events that have threatened to end business operations for good. Events and incidents like severe weather, natural disasters, terrorist attack or even just sickness, theft and vandalism can have devastating effects on business operations, making effective plans for dealing with their occurrence an essential consideration for every modern business.
The business world is networked and intertwined, with business being done across borders, time zones and currencies. Every business is in some way reliant upon the people it employs, the environment it operates within and the customers and partners it deals with. It’s imperative then that every business understands the impact of all manner of potential situations.
For many, business continuity is not regarded as a core business consideration. It’s seen as a subject that’s intrinsically linked to catastrophic events like floods or storm damage, fire damage or even terrorism, but business continuity needs to cover a much wider consideration. For many, their business insurance is what they believe they will fall back on if such events occur, but in practice this will only seek to pay out to a business that has already suffered and had to recover. Insurance is almost always of use after-the-fact and it provides little in the way of instant reaction to restore business operations.
While it’s important to have a plan around how you would recommence or restore operations if your business was attacked, flooded or burned down, you also need to be able to consider the impact of such events on your business if they actually happened to another company or set of individuals.
How would your company cope with a crisis-hit key supplier or an outbreak of disease? What if your building became unsafe for any reason? Could you recover the situation and maintain normal operations? How would your business cope with a major power failure in the local area? Could you continue with operations if the telecoms and IT connection to the world was lost for any significant period of time? For most businesses, such events could spell disaster; such is the modern reliance on services like power, telecoms and IT. It’s therefore imperative that any business continuity planning your business undertakes is capable of providing a plan for each eventuality that your business believes could threaten it’s effectiveness or existence.
The importance of business continuity planning cannot be understated, especially in the modern age of interconnected business and IT. An event on the other side of the world could affect your business tomorrow and you need to be ready to react. Business continuity planning will never give you step by step instructions for every different risk that your business is exposed to, but it can help establish a broad set of preparatory steps and actions that you know will be effective in a number of situations allowing you to react to the particular event or situation much more quickly than if you had no plan at all.
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