Plan for the worst: business continuity

Business continuity provider SunGard and Smallbusiness.co.uk offer advice on how to carry on with ‘business as usual’ when the unexpected happens.

It’s not always a big disaster like a flood or terrorist attack which disrupts a business. There are many potential causes of disruption to your business and you should think of strategies to counter any problem. For example, even something as relatively minor as a public transport strike can cause problems for your workers – so you may want to provide alternative travel for those facing a tricky commute.

Here are a few basic steps to consider:

  • Identify the critical business functions and determine how soon they need to be available following a disaster. You might be able to last for days without a HR function, but you would not be able to last as long without an accounts department.
  • Investigate the possibilities of staff working from home, if they are unable to access their normal workplace. Employers should be asking whether their employees have the internet and can work remotely if the need arises.
  • Remote workers should not be discounted. If staff work off-site there should be alternative continuity planning to ensure contact can be made with both the customers and the employees.
  • Check your suppliers have continuity plans in place too, as this will dramatically reduce the risk posed to your business by others in the supply chain.
  • Ensure all data is effectively backed up. Information considered relatively unimportant today could become critical tomorrow.

Finally, test your business continuity plan at least once a year. This will ensure that it is in line with any business and technology changes.

Related: Top tips for business continuity – Preparing for the unexpected

Related Topics

Business Continuity Plan

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