COVID-19 may have been an extreme example of why you need a business continuity plan. There are, however, plenty of other ways your business might be disrupted from environmental disasters to cyberattacks. That’s exactly why you need an effective business continuity plan. Here are some of the key points it should cover.
Location and contact details for your staff
In any disruption, your number one priority should always be to protect your staff (and anyone else on your premises). This has two key implications:
First, you always need to know where your team members are when they are at work (at least fairly accurately).
Second, you always need to have up-to-date contact details for all staff and a means of getting in touch with them.
Your business continuity plan, therefore, needs to cover how you are going to locate and contact staff. It also needs to cover who is expected to go where during the disruption. For example, some people may be able to work from home while others may need to go to an alternative workplace (or the main workplace).
Inventory and location details of your physical assets
Most companies will probably have some physical assets even if it’s just standard technology such as laptops and cellphones. In some cases, this may be almost as valuable as your staff. In other cases, it may be easy to replace. Either way, you need to know what it is and where it is so you can account for it. If nothing else, you may want to file an insurance claim.
Your business continuity plan needs to cover how people are going to get access to the physical assets they need to do their jobs. If these assets are difficult to access, then you might want to consider keeping spares. If they’re easy to access, then still make sure that you have the contact details for at least one reputable supplier who can get them quickly in the quantities you need.
Inventory and location details of your digital assets
These days, for many companies, their digital assets will be far more important than their physical ones. They will also probably be much harder if not impossible to replace. You also need to think about how your staff will continue to get secure access to them during the period of the disruption.
Your business continuity plan, therefore, needs to cover IT infrastructure and services as well as the accessibility and security of your digital assets. You must have robust measures in place to restore both no matter what. This means finding key IT services in Cambridge in advance rather than having to rely on signing up with a random team out of desperation.
You will also need to make sure that you stay in compliance with all relevant data protection laws during the period of the disruption. What’s more, it’s often necessary (and always highly desirable) to be able to demonstrate your compliance. This means that your business continuity plan should have provision for maintaining clear and robust audit trails of all activity relating to protected data.