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Prep Your Business Continuity Plan Before You Need It Featured

Prep Your Business Continuity Plan Before You Need It "Forest Fire in Saskatchewan"

If there is anything 2020 has taught us, perhaps emergency preparedness is the biggest lesson ever. The coronavirus pandemic has taught us the importance of having emergency preparedness and the need to have a plan that will keep the business running during and after a crisis. Emergency preparedness is not a one-day affair. It is a process that does not just involve a single drill once a year but entails planning how a business will run, before, during, and after a crisis. The process begins with identifying possible business threats or disruptors and developing plans to counter them. Here are some common business disruptors to watch:

  • Pandemics

As evident from the happenings of 2020, this is the most severe threat that can extremely affect any business. It can severely affect the delivery of services, as evident in the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced people to stay at home. Destruction of livelihoods reduces consumer power to purchase, while reduced demand affects companies' ability to pay their employees. Pandemics can also shut down or disrupt the supply chain. Organizations can prepare for this by having options in place just in case the supply chain is shut down or disrupted.

  • Natural disasters.

Natural disasters ranging from weather-related disasters, tornados, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes to others such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and wildfires can have far-reaching consequences to business operations. The bad thing about natural disasters is that it is hard to predict and can occur within a short time with so many adverse effects. Some natural disasters can have physical damage to structures and can also disrupt the supply chains. They can also make offices inaccessible to employees, led to the loss of life and loss of working hours. 

  • Cyberattacks and data breaches

Cyberattacks and data breaches have become frequent in the world today. Organizations should no longer talk about if they get hit by cyberattacks or data breaches but when. Small businesses with weak data protection mechanisms are likely to experience these challenges more than bigger, more established organizations with the expertise and resources to guard their systems. Organizations- mostly the small ones- will inevitably face more challenges and must prepare for cyberattacks at any time. They must identify risks associated with cyberattacks and countermeasures to ensure organizations run even after a successful breach.

  • Internal risks

Some business functions are risky, and some of the challenges include malpractices, employee health and safety, and other dangerous operations. Healthcare professionals and employees in chemical manufacturing plants, for example, engage in activities that can be risky every day. There should be an assessment of how organization can be impacted by the internal risks and the resilience plan in such organizations. The leadership levels should also be structured so that if there is a problem, a leadership vacuum cannot be left.  Doing so brings stability to the organization.

A business continuity plan is crucial for every business as it cushions against disruptions that can adversely affect operations. With the right business continuity plan, businesses can respond to various challenges caused by disasters such as cyberattacks, natural disasters, and internal risks. These are not the only areas that business continuity planning helps address. It also aids an organization to maintain operations, build customer confidence, protect the supply chain and gain a competitive advantage. It also helps a business mitigate financial risks, preserves brand, and creates a good reputation with the customer.

Building a business continuity plan begins with identifying the goals of the plan, establishing an emergency preparedness team, assessing risks, preparing a plan for each risk, and reviewing to make sure every business function has been covered in the plan. After this, staff must be trained, plan tested, revised, and updated regularly to address the emerging needs.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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