Assess your risks and be aware of your vulnerabilities. Conduct a risk analysis on your critical business assets. This includes your information assets as well as your physical kit. Knowing what you have helps you to identify potential threats, vulnerabilities, and the potential impact of various disaster scenarios.
Develop continuity plans. Based on your risk assessment, find ways to mitigate risks and reduce downtime. This could be as simple as buying a backup power supply, mixing up your suppliers, hardening your IT infrastructure, or enabling your team to work remotely. You should review this assessment at least once a year.
Document it. Your Business Continuity Plan is a key business document. It should detail all the steps for responding to and recovering from various types of disruptions. At a minimum consider three scenarios that could occur, and detail the specific actions you would need to take, like restoring from backup, moving to rented offices, communicating with stakeholders, and conducting damage assessments. And review the whole process at least once a year.
Test it and keep your team informed. Conduct a desktop exercise at least once a year, where you talk through a scenario and how you would respond. What are the implications and what can you change to reduce the impact on your business. And keep your team informed of any continuity plan updates.
Back up critical business data. A secure offsite and/or in the cloud backup is key. And test it regularly.
Build organisational resilience. Promote a culture focused on resilience, flexibility, and continuous improvement. Empower teams to rapidly adapt and respond to disruptions. A change in mindset and culture can take time, so start now.
Proactively planning for the unexpected will enable your business to navigate disruptions with minimal impact. Regularly test and update plans to account for emerging risks and changes within the business. With a robust continuity plan in place, you can ensure your operations can weather any storm.