Unforeseen business disruptions, whether caused by acts of nature, equipment malfunctions, human error, or malicious intent, can be very costly for an organization. Some examples include:
- Weather-related, such as blizzards, earthquakes, and hurricane
- Power Outages: Blackouts, power shortages or other power-related issues happen more frequently that perceived and could render significant downtime for a company.
- Hardware failures: According to a recent report from a data protection firm, 99% of companies surveyed experienced operational disruptions due to hard drive malfunctions.
- Software Corruption: If you’re a business, your data is gold. This type of disruption can cause your company significant downtime.
- Cyber-attacks: Cybercriminals are on top of their game. Their primary goal is to corrupt business operations by injecting viruses into systems causing critical issues.
A prompt, efficient response based on a planned course of action is the best way to reduce cost should a disruption occur.
Appoint a senior management committee to oversee and monitor the following process. Maintain a revolving team membership. “Fresh eyes” often detect gaps or lapses of information.
Step 1: Business Impact Analysis
Your first step is to complete an extensive analysis of how a business disruption can impact your company. Factors to consider are:
- Delays in or lost income and sales
- Elevation of expenses due to overtime labor and associated costs
- Regulator fines
- Contract penalties
- Dissatisfied customers
- Stagnation or at best, delay of business plans and goals
Step 2: Business Continuity and Recovery
Determine which functions are most critical and how you will operate during a crisis. During this process, management must estimate the required resources in each targeted category, including:
- Your employees
- Your physical office space, equipment, and furniture
- Computers and other technology
- Vital records in hard copy and electronic form
- Inventory in all types (raw materials, finished products, and products in production)
- Your utilities (gas, water, electric, sewer, telephone, wireless and internet services
Step 3: Training
Outline each of your teams’ responsibilities during crises and offer regular live training exercises. If you fail to train for and test your plans, you may very well fail when it’s time to put them in action. Consider running a test 2-4 times per year.
- Table-top exercises: This involves a thorough review of a hard copy of the plan. Ensure that a representative of each business unit/department participates in the discussion. Look for gaps, potential discrepancies or problems, etc. If it doesn’t work on paper, it isn’t likely to work in action.
- Active walk-through: Each person involved in a leadership role within the plan performs a detailed walk-through of his/her elements of the program. They need to watch for and identify potential weaknesses disruptions from multiple angles. For example, a response to a significant data breach would be pointedly different than a reaction to a ‘shooter on the premises’ or a tornado strike
- Specific across the company practice drills and disaster role-playing: There’s a reason you had fire drills in school. It increased the chances of a prompt, well-orchestrated response should a fire occur. The same applies to our adult world of business.
- Disaster simulation testing: This annual or bi-annual event can be quite involved. It involves creating an environment that simulates an actual disaster, with all the equipment, supplies and personnel (including business partners and vendors) who would be needed. The purpose of a simulation is to determine if you can carry out critical business functions during the event.
In conclusion, every business should formulate a business continuity plan to protect themselves and their employees from unplanned disruptions. Planning can lessen the losses a company experiences when a disaster hits. Gather your management team, assess your entire operation, delegate team responsibilities and build your recovery strategy.
Business continuity is always more successful when you have a solid core of employees, as well as access to temporary support staff. Partner with Springborn Staffing and be ready. There is a reason we are Maine’s leading Staffing Agency. We do more than promise excellence. We stand behind our employees’ performance – 100% guaranteed. Temporary staffing services, temp-to-hire staffing services, consulting – our services are 100% guaranteed. Don’t hesitate a moment more – contact us today.