What is Business Continuity
Business continuity is about making sure that you have prepared your business for the unexpected, so that when your business is affected by some form of disruption you can continue to operate and get it back to a normal level of operation as quickly as possible.
Your business can be affected by many forms of disruption, such as IT failure, power failure, flooding, fire, crime, loss of communication, supplier delivery issues, significant staff absence due to illness or a key member of staff leaving or being ill.
How to prepare your business
Have a simple plan and procedures in place that are known and understood by all those that work within your business. Putting together your business continuity plan does not have to be too time consuming or expensive to complete. The first step is to download and complete our Business Continuity Assessment Checklist form (PDF, 68 KB, 6 pages). Take time when answering the questions on the assessment and ensure that you document relevant details, information and procedures. At the end of the assessment you will have a business continuity plan. The larger and more complex your business, the more detailed your plan may need to be.
Keep developing your plan
For your plan to remain effective, it is important that it is periodically reviewed, to reflect staff turnover, updates in technology and changes in procedures. You may wish to delegate this task to someone within your business who will regularly brief you and other members of your organisation.
Rehearse your plan and train your staff
Once your plan has been developed, ensure that you test it periodically. You will never know if you have omitted something if you don’t test your plan. This process is a practical investment in your company, and should an incident happen for real, you will be better able to cope with it. Testing your plan can be achieved in various ways. For example:
- operating for a period of time without key personnel
- operating without IT for a couple of hours
- ringing suppliers and customers to check that you have the correct contact details
- holding a tabletop exercise with your managers, key staff and employees, thinking through various scenarios, such as:
- loss of your premises due to flooding
- a power cut
- loss of your phone system
- failure of a critical piece of equipment for a number of hours/days
- supplier delivery or service problems
- customers cannot pay you
- significant number of staff off due to illness
- consider the impact of a pandemic on your organisation
If you would like further advice regarding business continuity please contact the Isle of Wight Emergency Management Team via our contact tab above.
Below are links to other sites that deal with business continuity management:
- British Standards Institution – BS25999 Business Continuity overview
Business Continuity Management – Practical advice for businesses (PDF, 203 KB, 2 pages).