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Business Continuity Plan – One Question – Does it work?

Business continuity management and supply chain resilience has never been more important.

Business continuity planning should be regarded as a priority for any business. No matter the cause, the businesses that successfully recover from disruption are those that have assessed the likely impact of significant events on their business, planned their response in advance and tested the effectiveness of their plan and revised it where needed.

A well-developed plan can enable an organisation to identify and minimise the impact of these risks.

Top threats to businesses are:

  • Cyber attacks
  • Unplanned IT and communications outages
  • Data breach
  • Interruption to utility supply
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Security incidents
  • Adverse weather
  • Human illness
  • Fire
  • Acts of terrorism



Below is a simple step guide to get you thinking about your Business Continuity Plan (BCP):


Step 1

Set out the scope and intentions of your business continuity programme. It should be short, clear and concise and include roles and responsibilities. (The complexity of the policy will depend on the size and complexity of your organisation)


Step 2

You need to know what makes the business run effectively to rebuild it acceptably quickly, and equally, how and why it might be disrupted in the first place. Recognising the risks the business faces, understanding what the consequences of these risks occurring would be and putting protection and mitigation measures in place.

It is also useful to assess the supply chain for weaknesses at this stage. The assessment should clarify who the key suppliers are, and what the effect would be on the business should any supplier suffer a major incident and supply be interrupted. It may also involve arranging duplicate or alternative suppliers.


Step 3

Faced with a major incident, you need to know what to do both immediately and in the longer term to ensure the business continues to operate. Therefore you need an Emergency Action Plan for the immediate aftermath of any incident which deal with issues such as personnel, site security, invoking emergency arrangements such as IT, damage assessment.


Step 4

Prepare a business recovery procedure which would deal with issues such as:

  • Implementing alternative working practices, such as utilising available capacity within the group or subcontracting
  • Identifying and equipping temporary premises, perhaps using second-hand machinery so the business can relocate
  • Monitoring the progress of the reinstatement work at the damaged premises, ensuring it progresses as planned and that equipment is ordered at the appropriate time
  • Maintaining contact with customers and trying to win back any lost business as capacity improves
  • Keeping the disaster/incident recovery log up to date by recording details of actions, losses identified and expenses incurred


Step 5

Your plans must work in a real incident or all your effort will have been wasted. You need to ensure the BCP plan is tested to ensure it is robust and operates as planned.


It’s recommended that testing is undertaken at least annually, and whenever there are any changes to the organisation, such as amendments to operations, premises, machinery and processes, changes to key suppliers, mergers and acquisitions. Even small changes to the business can have a big impact on the business continuity plan’s and effectiveness.

By Sam Geddes Cert CIISenior Account Handler


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