Integrating crisis and business continuity planning systems ensures a company can quickly respond to disruptive events of all levels, with better escalation, de-escalation and resolution capabilities.
Building a crisis plan involves several different skills and strategies, including understanding your organization’s risk profile. Establishing a BCP involves inventorying all processes used within your company as well as setting recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives.
Crisis and business continuity planning requires the identification of risks; these could range from natural disasters to cyber attacks and their possible impact on customers, production, revenue streams and reputation – among other areas.
Utilizing this list, the business continuity team can then assess what needs to be done, by whom and in how much time to ensure operations continue as normal. For instance, if there were an issue with raw material suppliers, for example, then steps might be taken by purchasing from two separate suppliers to reduce risks by spreading out vulnerabilities across both suppliers.
To implement their plan, many companies host tabletop tests, simulations and walkthrough drills periodically throughout the year in order to test their BCPs. This gives teams the chance to learn from past errors while identifying areas in which improvements need to be made and developing strategies to overcome any hurdles they encounter during testing sessions. Furthermore, this helps prepare their staff members for potential emergencies that they might face later.
Developing a Plan
Business continuity plans must be prepared in advance and be ready for deployment should a crisis strike. To create one, begin by identifying key areas and functions within each one; once identified, an acceptable amount of downtime should be determined as well as contingency plans to manage unexpected situations.
Key components of a business continuity plan include disaster recovery, IT security, human resources and public relations. Furthermore, an assessment should include risk and impact analysis in order to minimize damage and revenue loss during any crisis situation.
Planes must also be tested and practiced so the appropriate people become acquainted with it, with updates made at least annually or when business functions change significantly. Testing and practicing also help create muscle memory so it can be executed more rapidly during real crises.
Testing and Practicing
Many organizations approach Crisis Management and Business Continuity separately, which can become problematic during times of emergency when decisions must be made quickly. Therefore, the ideal practice would be for their respective representatives to collaborate more seamlessly during an incident response situation.
This can be accomplished by regularly testing and practicing their plans, such as running tabletop scenarios where employees read out potential emergency scenarios and describe how they would respond using their business continuity plan. This helps identify any gaps or weaknesses.
Along with testing and practicing the plan, it should also be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis to reflect changes within your organization or any new risks that have emerged. It is also crucial that monitoring mechanisms be established so as to identify any potential threats as this can help determine an optimal response in case of crisis or disruption.
Reviewing the Plan
Many organizations divide crisis management and business continuity planning as separate disciplines with distinct reporting lines, leading to miscommunication during an event that disrupts operations. Without proper coordination during such an event, an organization could miss opportunities to protect their reputation and continue operating effectively.
Experts advise businesses to regularly evaluate their business continuity plans in order to stay prepared in case of disaster, including assessing whether your organization can withstand interruptions that affect employees or suppliers.
Experts advise companies to revisit their plan when major changes occur in operations and infrastructure to better safeguard against disruptions. It is also crucial that business leaders promote awareness of the plan so their employees are informed on what steps should be taken if an emergency situation arises; an effective BCP should include training sessions for new hires as well as refresher courses for long-standing staff members.