A robust business continuity plan (BCP) documents how an organization prevents and recovers from potential threats. It is a lifeline for businesses of every size, helping safeguard their operations against unexpected disasters. It allows them to identify the risks, vulnerabilities, and critical processes of their company, as well as craft the appropriate backup measures to minimize downtime and financial losses. Additionally, having a BCP showcases their dedication to customers and stakeholders, fostering trust even in tumultuous times.
BCPs are particularly vital for small businesses, as 90% of SMBs unable to restore operations within five days of disaster are reported to close their doors within a year. Preparedness therefore isn’t an option — it’s a make-or-break necessity.
Below, we explore the top four mistakes to avoid when creating a BCP. By staying clear of these errors, your organization can stay resilient in the face of adversity.
Having a narrow focus
A common misstep in business continuity planning is fixating solely on securing IT systems. While protecting your technology infrastructure is crucial, a comprehensive plan should encompass all facets and vital functions of your organization. For instance, an eCommerce company may direct all their efforts toward securing their website servers, but if their warehousing and delivery functions are sidelined, disruptions could lead to unfulfilled orders and loss of customer trust and revenue.
Also, while IT backups are standard, remember to extend the principle of redundancy to other elements of your business, such as physical assets. Having a broad perspective on backups effectively lays the foundation for a robust BCP that protects every piece of your infrastructure.
Failing to involve and communicate properly with stakeholders
A BCP is only as effective as your employees’ investment in it. Lacking broad support can put vital parts of your plan at risk and potentially impede response during disruptions. Conduct regular training sessions and drills to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, allowing for swift recovery during crises. Additionally, avoid relying on a single individual to carry out certain responsibilities. This could pose significant risks if they’re absent during an emergency.
Additionally, ensure proper communication protocols are in place in times of crisis. Whether it’s through emergency contact lists, designated communication channels, or regular updates, be sure to inform the relevant individuals or entities about your company’s situation and the steps you will undertake to mitigate damage. Having clear communication strategies in place can help you navigate turbulent circumstances and ensures no one is left in the dark.
Furthermore, your BCP shouldn’t be confined to your organization alone. It should also encompass the broader network sustaining your operations. Consider involving suppliers and vendors when crafting your plan, as such collaboration can lead to effective joint continuity strategies.
Failing to test or revise your plan
A BCP may look fine in theory, but can prove fallible in real-life scenarios or in the face of new threats. Continual testing, such as performing regular drills or simulations, can help uncover any weaknesses or inefficiencies in your BCP and enable you to improve these areas as needed. Regular risk assessments can further strengthen your plan by analyzing potential hazards such as natural disasters, cybersecurity threats, and supply chain disruptions, allowing you to anticipate these dangers and implement preventive measures before they strike.
By regularly adjusting your BCP according to constant market and technological changes, you can help it stay adaptable and effective.
Having limited access to a copy of your BCP
Your BCP may be effective, but if there’s no way to retrieve a copy of it when disaster strikes, you may not be able to implement it and mitigate risks. This is why it’s critical to avoid relying solely on technology as your anchor to your BCP. This proves risky in certain situations, such as when electricity is unavailable. Always have physical copies of your BCP, store them in multiple locations, or use offline devices to retrieve them.
Don’t let these common mistakes jeopardize your BCP. Reach out to our experts at Spectrumwise today for further guidance on business continuity planning.