With COVID-19 pressuring employees worldwide to work from home, organizations are quickly shifting to a remote work model and refining their emergency protocols. Unfortunately, not all businesses are prepared to adopt flexible work policies. Due to a lack of resources and insufficient knowledge on disaster preparedness, many organizations are left to suffer from the devastating effects of this global pandemic.
So how can a business like yours minimize the potential impacts of crises? With proper planning.
Prepare for possible crises
Events such as natural disasters, key staff falling ill, and unexpected IT system failures can make it difficult or even impossible to carry out day-to-day business activities. That’s why thorough planning is crucial in reducing business disruptions and quickly resuming operations after an unforeseen event.
When planning for possible crises, you should:
- Identify events that can potentially affect your business
- Determine how you can prevent or minimize the risks of these disasters
- Develop a plan for action for each event
- Create regular testing schedules
Creating a comprehensive plan in response to unexpected events is one of the best ways to ensure prompt and effective action in times of crisis.
Create a business continuity plan
A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make it easier for your company to prevent and recover from potential threats. It outlines the steps you need to take before, during, and after an emergency or disaster. You can do it in the form of checklists, so you can easily keep track of and ensure you’re following key steps.
To create a sound business continuity plan, specify the important business functions that need to be fully operational straight away, as well as the resources required to do so. It’s also crucial to establish the roles of individuals in the event of a crisis.
The response during the first hour after a crisis is the most critical in minimizing potential damages. As such, your plan needs to clearly and thoroughly explain the immediate actions you and your employees need to take. Additionally, ensure that all staff are aware of what they must do, and consider giving them specific training to make sure they properly fulfill their responsibilities.
Your plan should include the contact information of people or entities you must notify in case of an emergency. These could be emergency services, utility companies, clients, suppliers, insurers, and even neighboring businesses. It's also worth including details on service providers such as locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, and IT specialists such as Prosum.
You can also include maps of your office to help emergency services navigate the space quickly, should they need to. Mark fire escapes, sprinklers, and other safety equipment, as well as rooms that hold the most critical information or equipment.
Finally, make sure that you and key personnel have both soft and hard copies of your business continuity plan. It’s recommended to store these in safe and easily accessible spaces, like in your home, while soft copies should be kept on secure mobile devices.
Regularly test your plan and keep it updated
You’ll also need to test how well your business continuity strategy is likely to perform in an actual crisis. Emergencies can be difficult to emulate, so it’s best to assess your plan against a number of possible scenarios through paper-based exercises.
Make sure that your plan covers each of the risks of various disaster scenarios by asking the following questions.
- Does my plan indicate each employee's role in different crisis events?
- Are the courses of action arranged in order of priority (to ensure quick and appropriate responses to particular situations)?
- Are the key steps and supplementary information up to date?
You must regularly update your plan, taking into consideration even the slightest business changes. For instance, if you move offices, make sure to update the map in your plan and amend related information. You should also ensure that the contact information included in your plan are accurate, as having to find the right number in a crisis could use up valuable time.
Having a business plan will help avoid panic and uncertainty, and prove to clients, insurers, and investors that your business is sturdy and flexible enough to withstand anything thrown at you. Count on Prosum to help you start your journey through business continuity and give you the edge over your competitors.
We’ll help you schedule regular backups, easily access data in the event of a disaster, provide cloud contingencies, minimize downtime in case of system failure, prevent disasters with proactive monitoring, and meet compliance regulations with ease. Call us now!