Is there a perfect time to plan for a disaster?
Its never too late to start planning for business continuity.
Even if you are in the middle of disaster response. You will be learning from your experience, and this will inform your recovery.
Don’t wait for the perfect time to prepare for the unexpected. Use what you know now, and start writing down what you would change from that experience.
If you’re in the middle of disaster recovery, look at what would be making a difference to you right now and make notes about it as you take photos of your cleanup.
Document your recovery. Inform your future preparation.
If you’re starting from the beginning, here are my top tips.
Identify the risks.
- What could cause an impact to the business?
- How serious would that impact be to the business?
- What is the likelihood of this occurring?
- Can it be reduced, mitigated (managed) or eliminated?
Analyse the impact
- What are the critical business activities?
- ·What would the impact be to the business in the event of a disruption?
- ·how long could the business survive without performing this activity?
Ask yourself questions to understand the impact.
Things like – how long could you go without revenue coming in before things got stressful, and before they became critical.
Try to understand that better:
- How will you manage this?
- Do you have insurance to cover this risk?
- What about savings until the insurance kicks in?
Once you understand the potential risks and impact, plan for response:
Ask yourself questions like:
- If your business doesn’t have internet, can it operate?
- What about telco? If you can’t contact your clients, do you have a business?
- What are your contingency plans for this?
Now you’ve got a better understanding of what you need to know to respond to disaster and the impact upon your business, weigh it up. How likely is this to happen?
How can you use this knowledge to recover?
- What can you do for back-up communications? Can you hot-spot a data connection?
- What if you lose your phone, how do you access everything?
- Do you have secondary access somewhere?
- What if something happens to you? Will others be able to step in while you’re incapacitated?
Think about how you can return to business as usual. How are you going to recover your business activities in the quickest possible time?
- Identify resources required to recover the operations
- Document recovery time objectives (RTO)
- Detail the people with responsibility for each task and the expected completion timeframe.
Creating your plan is the first step. You also need to keep it alive.
If you’re not going to prioritise this as part of your regular health and safety checks, you’re wasting your time.
For this to work, your team need to understand the process and the steps you’re putting in place.
Otherwise it’s like writing down a fire escape plan for your home and never telling your family what that plan is. It wouldn’t work.
Why do it?
Business continuity planning helps you to identify potential weak points in your business (the risk), and supports you to put steps in place to manage, reduce or remove those risks.
It’s also a great tool to use to support you with your insurance and financial planning.
When you’re aware of your risks, you are less vulnerable. Insurers and financial supporters like this.
There is never a perfect time to prepare and you never know exactly what lies ahead. But we can learn from what we have experienced, and use the power of that knowledge.