Business continuity management is critical to all businesses of any size. It enables your business to remain operational during a disastrous event and ensures minimal downtime to your business processes. A good business continuity and risk management system must establish an efficient response to theoretical events that can lead to disruption in your business activity. This allows you to maintain business functions in case the event does happen.
What is Business Continuity and Risk Management?
Business continuity and risk management is a type of advanced planning for an organisation. The ability to anticipate events that could lead to disruption in business activities allows you to create the most efficient plan of action to lower the risk or the downtime. It is vitally important to identify the type of threats or risks to your business so that the necessary preparation can be made for them.
The ability to address crises even before they happen is the secret to a successful organisation. Organisations and business leaders must be able to evaluate out different strategies and procedures in response to various threats to identify the ones that can cause the least impact to the entire organisation. Testing is done to not only ensure that the responses outlined work, but also to ensure that they are relevant to the evolving challenges and opportunities that present themselves to your business.
In addition, there should be distinct levels of disruptions in an organisation. It is important to prepare for these varying levels as it is critical to the resumption of business activities to keep the revenue flowing.
Best Practices in Business Continuity Management
A good business continuity management plan should identify your business priorities and explore solutions in the presence of certain risks. It should consider several factors such as your budget, resources, and manpower, especially following a crisis. The goal is to be efficient in the use of these resources to minimize disruptions.
The International Standards Organisation has outlined the guidelines that all organisations must observe to ensure business continuity. Here are some of the best practices that you can implement in your organisation.
Identify and Analyse Potential Threats
The core of any business continuity and risk management system is to identify and analyse threats. There are a number of reasons that could disrupt your business operations – from natural disasters to a data breach. Make sure you consider all possible sources of threats so you can anticipate where the disruption will take place.
You should not leave any stones unturned in this part of business continuity planning. Small to major threats must be accounted for, even the most unlikely ones. The more you can anticipate threats, the better you will be able to address them if and when they occur. You need to analyse the possibility and severity of certain threats and the impact they will have on your organisation.
Know The Business Impact
With the potential threats identified, the next step is to assess how it is going to impact your organisation. For this, you need a business impact analysis. It is aimed at looking into how the threat will derail your business operations and finances.
It will require you to break down the individual aspects of your business so you can fully understand the extent of the impact for each. For example, you need to assess the potential impacts of a threat to your supply chain management, access to manpower, accessibility of cash flow, and more.
When analysing every element of your business operations, be honest. Even if the outcome might seem harsh, you need to make sense of that reality in order for you to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. By knowing the worst-case-scenario, you can prepare for it with a suitable action plan.
Flexibility is a crucial characteristic that your organisation should possess during times of disaster and unforeseen threats. You need to be flexible enough in your business continuity plan by providing as many workable solutions as possible.
No matter how well you can predict how a disaster or crisis could impact your business, you will never know the full extent of its impact until you face that actual challenge. Keeping an open mind allows you to choose the best route possible towards recovery. Having multiple plans of attack is the only guarantee that any disastrous events will not cripple your organisation.
Why is Business Continuity and Risk Management So Important?
Now that you know the definition and best practices for a business continuity and risk management system, is it absolutely necessary for your organisation to have one?
Here are some of the benefits of building a business continuity and risk management plan for your organisation.
- Protect your reputation. The ability to respond quickly in the event of a disaster and to maintain operations (as well as the quality of your goods and services) is going to leave a good impression on your target customers. Your company’s ability to mitigate risks without loss of productivity shows a lot about your resilience as an organisation.
- Keep your employee morale high. Your ability to maintain business functions in a time of crisis is a fantastic way to build confidence in your employees. This will, in turn, encourage them to deliver their best work in order to help the organisation recover fully.
- Reinforce your business relationships with suppliers, vendors, and partners. The ability to ensure business continuity not only gives confidence to your employees, but it is also a form of reassurance to your business partners. It is a wonderful way to show them that they have made a smart choice in partnering with your organisation.
- It guarantees that you can satisfy regulatory requirements. There are organisations out there that are designed to regulate and monitor the business continuity arrangements of certain companies. This is a great way to show them that you have the ability to maintain your business functions even in the midst of a crisis.
An effective business continuity and risk management plan could be what ends up saving your organisation from its full demise. Make sure you know how to navigate challenges and turn them into opportunities by planning ahead.