Is Your Business Continuity And Response Plan Enough To Keep You Covered

If your answer is Yes, then you’re probably in a minority. Many firms have realised, to their detriment, how woefully unprepared they were in keeping the business running in the face of the pandemic. Most businesses took a hit, and many have shuttered permanently. Others are still struggling, holding on until the promised ‘Next Normal’ manifests. But nobody knows how or when this will happen, or indeed, what it will look like. At best, there will be speculation, and scores of experts, analysts and observers will weigh in with opinions that make for engaging reading. If businesses are astute enough, they will find a way to make pragmatic sense of it, and carry on.

But what about the rest? Regardless of the gloom and doom, and continued recurrences of infections globally, businesses which are a little less confident about how to deal with the situation because of uncertainty and disruption, may be able to apply some measures to strengthen their processes and procedures during this ‘down time.’ It is not too late to review plans and rework responses. In fact, this may be the best time to make changes where necessary – with the benefit of hindsight, but without the pressure to immediately produce a workable strategy. By hitting fast, hard and indiscriminately, the pandemic has actually created space for businesses to pause and rethink.

This is a good time, therefore, to check and see if your plan should be adjusted to take some additional crucial elements into consideration. Business continuity planning is, after all, a proactive business process that increases a firm’s understanding of its potential threats and weaknesses. Creating or reviewing a plan indicates that the company is preparing to respond quickly and efficiently to the challenges that confront it. This may also be a good time to ask questions and seek out honest responses – it will help you identify where shortfalls lie, and decide how to mitigate these risks. But what questions should be asked? Perhaps the process should start with identifying possible scenarios.

Imagine what could happen, then identify the resources in the firm which will enable it to deal with these events. In the process of reviewing your plan for business continuity, you may want to take a critical look at your disaster recovery plan as well. For both a business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan, you will need the appropriate risk controls and risk management systems to be in place.
Business continuity planning covers all phases of recovery and has a wider scope But both business continuity and recovery plans also need another critical component: the right people.

This may well be your firm’s biggest stumbling block; even the best-laid plans will go awry if they aren’t operationalised by people who know what they’re doing. One factor which must be considered when applying business continuity and disaster recovery plans is the environment in which they will need to be operationalised. Disaster recovery, especially, will inevitably be chaotic; even long-term business continuity planning may get scrambled and give rise to confusion. But can this be avoided? It is possible, with the appropriate training, documentation and constant watchfulness, that your plan will not let you down.

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