At some point, your business may be faced with a huge challenge, one that may even threaten its very existence. How well prepared are you? Have you thought through a business continuity plan? Have you contemplated disaster recovery?
Assessing the risks to your business
Let’s look at a few of the scenarios an owner-managed business might plan for:
1. Physical disruption or destruction. What would be the consequence of a serious fire or flood at the office? If you suffered a significant break-in, how long would it be before your teams were productive again? Could key team members work from home or do you need fully fitted-out facilities on standby for you to move into?
2. Cyberattack or significant IT failure. Today’s businesses are so dependent on IT that any disruption quickly moves beyond inconvenient into critical. Last year’s NHS cyberattack was ample evidence of the disruptive potential of malevolent hackers. Are your IT infrastructure and applications fully protected? Is your data securely backed up and accessible in a recovery situation? Expert IT advice is a must here.
3. Loss of key team members. Are critical processes and relationships dependent on just one person? If so, what happens if that person is suddenly away from the business? This applies to you as the owner-manager, too. If you were unexpectedly absent, would your team know what to do and who is in charge?
4. Reputational damage. A malicious ex-employee, a disgruntled client, a partnering company that taints your business with its bad behaviour. The fallout from Facebook allowing Cambridge Analytica to abuse its data is just one example of the disruption reputational damage can cause. How would you handle such damage?
5. Supply chain failure. If one of the above risks hits a key supplier or major customer, how would your business be impacted? How would your other customers (and your cash flow) be affected? Is there a way to spread your risk?
It’s not an exhaustive list; there will be other risks that are specific to your business and industry. The extent of your business continuity and disaster recovery planning for these (and other) scenarios will depend on how high the risks are, the degree of disruption they might cause – and, of course, the time and money it will cost to put those plans in place.
Why you need both business continuity and disaster recovery planning
Think of business continuity and disaster recovery as two sides of the same coin. The first identifies potential risks and helps you prevent, manage and mitigate those risks. The second makes sure you get back on your feet quickly should something go wrong. Both plans should be simple, realistic and easy to access by those who might need them (say, if you’re not around).
Thankfully, there are plenty of pragmatic, common-sense ways to protect your business – including regularly assessing your insurance cover. Identifying these opportunities and potential risks is something Henchards can assist with. For example, we have been working with a creative agency to assess the different threats their business may face, what they could do to prevent and recover, and which options are right for them.
Knowing what you might face and how you’ll respond ensures you can get your company into the recovery position that much quicker. Discover how Henchards can help.