What if your company were hit with a data breach, struck by a flood or other natural disaster or affected by another crisis? Have you made sure your business has the people, processes and technologies in place to recover from an unexpected event?
The consequences of not planning for unexpected events can be dire. It’s estimated as many as 40 percent of businesses do not reopen their doors following a major disaster. The goal is to make sure your company can operate even when it’s thrown into turmoil.
Business continuity management is a holistic way of thinking about potential threats and providing a framework for responding so that the interests of key stakeholders, reputation, and your brand are safeguarded. It also works to ensure that service and product delivery continue. IBM consultant Brian Evans, writing for the website securityintelligence.com, suggests your business continuity plan cover these main bases:
Location. Where will you and your team meet if your main office is off-limits? Will you have an alternate storage site for records, supplies, inventory?
Teams. Who will be on what teams to do what? You’ll need a team assigned to each essential business function.
Vendors and local agencies. Identify alternate suppliers of products or services you’ll need to continue working. And don’t forget to exchange contact information with local emergency responders such as fire departments and police.
Utilities. Plan for what you’ll do if you don’t have electricity, heat or air conditioning.
Train and drill. You can’t say you’re prepared unless you’ve trained your employees on what to do in an emergency. Drill, drill and drill again.
Many businesses are underinsured or uninsured for major threats. Separate policies, for example, can be purchased if your business is located in an area at risk for floods or earthquakes. Damage from those two types of disasters are not included in standard commercial insurance policies. Some types of insurance can help businesses survive in the event of a data breach, the loss of a key employee or other major setback.
The motto applies in business as well scouting: Be prepared!