Business Continuity. It sounds important, doesn't it? It seems like a no-brainer essential and if you agree, you're not wrong. Business Continuity is important, it is a no-brainer essential element to a successful business but...what is it exactly and how do you "do it"? In this blog, we will learn the ins and out of the Business Continuity Plan: what it is, why you need it, and, most importantly, how to create your own. Let's start!
While the name Business Continuity certainly paints a picture, I can't say I was totally certain what it entailed. So, I went to our Director of Customer Services, Carol Bubar to learn more. In short, Carol explained that "Business Continuity is the plan you have if there's any sort of disruption from your facility or your processes." Without adding too much doom and gloom to your day, hurricanes, power outages, fires, viruses, and other such disasters have certainly plagued us as of late.
Obviously, disruptions are an unavoidable part of business. OK, so they are unavoidable. Now what? Carol continued:
"So, say there's a fire in your building, or there's an earthquake. Whatever the disruption might be, the Business Continuity plan is defining your next steps when something like that happens. So, it's really important to know who is leading the effort after a disruption and what the different roles are."
Business Continuity planning steps
So...who should lead? "A lot of times the Leadership Team will have roles. There might be a Business Continuity lead. And so defining the people that are addressing the disruption is an important aspect." said Carol.
Contacting Your Team
"Having a way to text or call down your employees is important. If something happens, you want to know that your employees are safe. You want to be able to reach out to your employees and let them know what the status is. So, the notification I'd say is one of the one aspects of a good plan." says Carol. Employees in the know are happy employees, see?
At BEMO, we use EasyTexting as a way to make sure that all of our employees are on the same page, even when we are thousands of miles away. This leads me to the next step...
Location, location, location
If these past two years have taught us anything, it's that flexibility is key. Thankfully, most companies have figured out how to conduct business even when employees aren't in the same office. But, if you are all in the same office and disaster strikes? Location is essential. Carol tells us: "Figuring out an alternate location if, for example, there is a fire in your building, you're obviously not going to be able to do business there for some time. So, having an alternate location or an alternate plan is essential. We've seen a lot of times, especially with all the remote work going on that a lot of companies are realizing that alternate locations might just be everyone working from home. But what does that look like? And then when do you transition back to a more normal business mode?"
While we may have figured out how to work from home, it's essential to have a plan for returning to the office, if applicable. And, if your company hasn't created a plan for WFH, it's always a good idea to have that in your back pocket.
To watch the whole interview (5 minutes total), click on the video below:
Business Continuity Plan sample PDF
Ok, now you're starting to get your ducks in a row! You've created your Disaster Leadership Team. You've created a plan for contacting your employees and you've decided where work will take place when the office isn't an option and when to return to it (if applicable). Of course, there are many, many aspects to a Business Continuity plan. It's a detailed document meant to save your business when things go haywire so...what else do you need to know? Download our Business Continuity Template to go through each and every detail.
Business Continuity and Emergency Planning Review
So, now that you've created your plan, it's smooth sailing, right? Well...pretty much. But if you've ever been sailing, you know that there's a certain amount of maintenance that goes into keeping a smooth pace. Luckily, sailing is higher maintenance than a review. At BEMO, we go over our customer's plans annually. Carol explains: "It's good from any sort of plan to do a review, just to make sure that if any of the roles or the people have changed that you have a chance to reflect that. Also, different companies have different ways of rolling it out to their employees as well. So, making sure that not only is the plan well-documented and the people that are on the Business Continuity team know about it, but all your employees know about it is essential. It [the review] gives you a chance just to refresh all of that documentation and make sure it's communicated."
We all know the game of Telephone, right? You tell me something, I tell the next person and suddenly, what started as "Our plan is to meet at the Starbucks on Main Street" becomes "Stan is looking for bucks on Blaine Street" once it's passed through ten retellings. Continuity is key, not just in planning but in execution. Make sure to review your plan annually, or, have us do it for you as part of our comprehensive Cybersecurity plans.
Why is Business Continuity Planning So Important?
To finish out our interview, I asked Carol why Business Continuity planning is so important. I mean, yes, we know disaster can strike and we should be prepared but...still, most of us don't. The example she gave was one I hadn't even thought of. Here I was thinking fire, flood...never theft.
Here's the story.
Julia: "So, can you give us an example of how business continuity has helped customers in the past?"
Carol: "Yeah. One example I could give that happened a couple of months ago, was the laptop that got stolen from one of our users. So again, it's something you don't plan on happening. But it was great that they knew who to notify, how quickly to notify. And they were super pleased with the efficiency of the process to make sure that the information was secure on the stolen laptop and that we were able to recover the data and get them back up and functional in a quick and easy way.
Julia: "Awesome. So new laptop, no problems."
Business Continuity doesn't just mean continuing to be able to do business (and do business well) when a disaster strikes all, it's when anything happens to anyone on your team and, as humans, things just do happen. I once left my prized possession, my film camera, on an airplane because I was in such a rush to catch my connection. We are human. We forget, we lose things, things are stolen from us. It's life. Business Continuity makes sure that when life strikes, you're prepared, your data is safe and your team is able to continue their work. It keeps things on an even keel so, yea, I'd say it's pretty important 😉
Want to learn more about how your company might create a Business Continuity Plan? Reach out via chat or click below to schedule a short (free!) consultation with Josh.
Leave us a comment!