Organisations today face a lot more risks than they did even 5 years ago. Research into risk management has suggested organisations will continue to face the risk of significant disruptions to normal activities.
Similarly, a recent survey by PwC indicates that organisations identify common risk areas, with the most severe being disruptions to established business systems and infrastructure such as email.
Recently publicised breaches of large corporate bodies has demonstrate the true impact a cyber breach can have to normal operations. Sony email servers were down for approximately six months forcing employees to utilise their personal emails to communicate with clients and stakeholders.
The examples are abundant, of not just cyber breaches, but environmental, force majeure, technical outages and terrorism attacks affecting business operations. So it makes sense why you would need a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place to highlight your key risk services, the length that various business departments can survive a disruption to that service, and what solutions are in place should a disruption permanently take those systems offline.
When a comprehensive BCP is in place, you will have the capacity to mitigate the adverse effects of unpredictable events on your business. It will also help you maintain the operations of your business after such an event. Here are some of the ways in which a BCP will save your business.
- Help Your Business Avoid Operational Disruptions
Disruption in the operational capacity of an enterprise is one of the most common effects of a disaster on a business. Often, major incidents cause organisation to cease operations while responding to the crisis.
However, the importance of business operations cannot be overemphasised, even if efforts in maintain operations are contained to 20-50%. A sound Business Continuity Plan will enable your organisation to continue fulfilling its obligations to its stakeholders even after a disaster has occurred.
- Minimise Financial Losses
Often, disasters arising from natural disasters or internal/external crises can cause financial losses to organisations. The financial loss arises from disruptions to the normal operations of the business, or potentially the failure to meet obligations with clients or investors. It is also possible to incur financial loss through the destruction of assets.
A Business Continuity Plan will help you mitigate the financial losses arising from disasters by outlining the course of action for various ‘what if’ scenarios. It will require you to ensure the relevant insurances are in place and current. An effective BCP will also outline a secondary headquarters for business operations including post evacuation procedures and incident response plans.
- To Safeguard The Reputation Of The Organisation
Any business that is caught up in a crisis of any type has to communicate with its stakeholders carefully as a way of safeguarding its reputation. In practice, organisational crisis communication means crafting the most appropriate messages for the various stakeholders of a business and communicating the message effectively.
However, crisis communication should supplement solid steps that the management should be taking to mitigate the situation. In this case, your organisation stands to save its reputation if it has a BCP that helps it to continue operating even after a disaster. In such a case, crisis communication supplements the implementation of the Business Continuity Plan.
- Tips to Improve Your Business Continuity Plan
Finally, some tips to help you improve your Business Continuity Plan.
- Ensure there is Board oversight into the BCP
- It is updated regularly
- It includes a summary flowchart of the crisis response team
- Includes all key information of internal and external stakeholders including updated contact numbers
- Provides an escalation process
- Contains a communications protocol for dealing with the press and media
- Includes other relevant and important documentation to supplement the BCP.
 Paul Kleindorder and Germaine Saad. 2015. Managing Disruption Risks in Supply Chains. London: Production and Operations Management Society.