The year 2020 brought a rough start for the world. While the healthcare systems across the globe are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, things are equally challenging for businesses. They have been forced to switch to the remote working model because of the mandatory lockdowns across the globe. And as if that is not enough, there are risks like data loss and cybersecurity they have to combat with their employees working from home. During such unanticipated situations, only a contingency plan to continue business operations can keep them going.
Do you have a business continuity plan for your organization? Have you thought about getting out of the fix if a disaster strikes? Are you confident enough about your readiness to deal with any kind of emergencies in the current scenario? If the answers to these questions are yes, you are safe. But if not, you should start working to formulate a business continuity plan to ensure that your company continues to operate at the same level regardless of the crisis. Here are the key elements that you must integrate into this plan.
Start with risk assessment
First things first, you will need a comprehensive risk assessment for your business. This is done with a Business Impact Analysis (BIA), which anticipates the critical business functions and related resources that are likely to be influenced. Further, it reveals the extent to which these operations could be affected by the disruption. Simply speaking, BIA refers to the assessment of potential loss that a business may sustain during a disaster. After BIA, you will be able to shortlist the mission-critical aspects and also decide an optimal recovery time for your organization.
Move ahead with risk mitigation
The next step is about risk mitigation, chiefly cyber risks because these are the ones that matter the most with the switch to a remote working model. The main focus should be on eliminating the loopholes that are a risk to the safety of business assets and operations. The risk mitigation strategy needs to be a comprehensive one, covering detailed IT backups, cutting the points of dependency, checking third-party readiness, and building preventive maintenance and testing programs. Additionally, you need to maintain adequate stock of hardware, critical equipment, or tools to repair or replace when needed.
Implement business continuity strategies
Essentially, business continuity is about identifying the alternative practices to continue the daily operations, which every business has done by letting people work from home. It is best to hire third-party service providers for IT support because they will have you covered while your in-house team looks after the other aspects. Look for a provider that offers IT support with guaranteed response times because quick troubleshooting can make all the difference to the productivity and morale of remote workers. Apart from switching to remote operations, make sure that your business is always available to the customers.
The success of business continuity strategies greatly depends on how well every team member fits in their roles and fulfills their responsibilities. Assigning clear roles and responsibilities is, therefore, an essential aspect of continuity of operations. Start by determining an individual or team that would be responsible for maintaining and executing the business continuity plan for your organization. Don’t just assign responsibilities but delegate authority as well. Sharing the responsibility with other team members is a great idea because it makes them feel empowered and boosts their morale during the tough phase.
Look for potential issues
It is easy to be overenthusiastic and feels that you have the best plan in place but things seldom go as planned, particularly in an emergency. Finding the potential threats or issues in your plan makes sense so that you can have a plan B for every failure or glitch. This will also cut down the need to realign and modify, which can ultimately save you a lot of time and money. Document the issues that could possibly arise and create a viable action plan to combat each of them. List the responsibilities of the designated people so that everyone knows what they have to do in an emergency.
When it comes to business continuity in a crisis like this one, you cannot overlook the role of people to keep your organization surviving and running smoothly. You can never be prepared enough, so the best approach is to choose professionals you would want to spearhead the company during disasters. Regular training sessions can be a good measure for preparing experts to handle the roles, while trust and transparency are equally valuable.