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Keeping continuity plans a continuing concern

Mon 29th Jun 20

Business continuity plans have certainly been tested over the last couple of months. But as businesses we need to ensure they’re updated and fit for purpose at all times. In his latest article, Executive Chairman, Tim Ryan, considers what we need to keep in mind for our reviews.

We probably all got our business continuity plans out as we hurtled toward lockdown in March 2020. With many businesses needing to scramble its workers to work from home, or even to furlough or lay off staff and halt operations, the plans we all hoped we’d never have to rely on will have stood us in good stead.

As we slowly move back into the ‘new normal’, continuity will again be tested, this time as we put our people back in place and encourage customers back into our businesses.

So why is business continuity so important?

When you consider that it’s said that over forty per cent of the organisations directly affected by the 1996 Manchester bombing went out of business, it’s a good idea to plan for the unexpected. Of course, the global pandemic that Covid-19 has become is a good example of this and now a financial downturn is another.

Business continuity planning, put simply, is about protecting the assets – facilities, equipment and, most importantly, people – of a business to make sure it can continue to operate when it’s interrupted by disaster. And it’s about much more than having the IT and telephony systems in place to cope.

A business continuity plan will include the arrangements you would put in place, and the processes and resources you’d need, to enable your business to respond to an event and to carry on with all critical functions as quickly as possible.

The Coronavirus lockdown will have enabled us to test our continuity plans, finding out the effects of disruption and allowing us to identify which functions and resources are the most critical. It’s also tested our people and may even have brought new leaders to light.

This new information allows us to review our business continuity plans and to fine tune them for the future. Recording the effects of lockdown now, and adding the last minute efforts you made to keep your business running through the impossible, could have big business benefits for the future.