Business continuity management is the process through which businesses and organisations aim to continue the delivery of their key services and products during and after a significant disruption to normal activity. Effective business continuity planning is the first line of defence for any business or organisation to ensure that they are able to maintain their core services and (in the long run), to assure their survival.
Organisations should consider a wide range of potentially disruptive events, both internal (for example computer system failure) and external (for example severe weather).
Prepare your business
If you own or are responsible for a business or organisation, have you considered the impact of an emergency on your business?
How would your organisation cope with...
- A sudden and significant reduction in staff?
- Denial of access to your building, one of your sites or a whole geographical area?
- Unexpected loss of mains electricity, gas or water?
- Significant disruption to transport?
- Disruption to the availability of fuel?
- Loss of telecommunications or internet?
- Loss or disruption to your computer systems?
- Disruption which affects your key suppliers or partners? What if they go into liquidation?
Business continuity manages the processes, procedures and plans that you put in place to help your business cope with the impact of an emergency on your business.
Know the risks
Emergencies are unlikely but if you have an understanding of the risks you can take a few small steps to prepare your family, your home, your community and your business for the unexpected things that can cause disruption to your daily lives.
To help you think about your risks either at home or at work, read through the following list of questions and see how many you can answer. Do you....
- Live in a flood risk area?
- Know what severe weather warnings mean?
- Know how to contact your provider if your electricity or gas supply fails?
- Live close to a large-scale industrial site?
- Have a working smoke detector and know what to do in case of a fire?
Further information on risks can be found at Know Your Risks or by downloading the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies - 2017 Edition document.
You could also use this Risk Assessment Tool to assess those risks that might impact your business.
Once you have identified the risks, you need to think about how you might prepare yourself. You may find the following documents helpful to develop a plan to manage the risks and therefore the continuity of your business:
Business Continuity for Dummies Chapter 3 - Achieving Rapid Results and Quick Wins - an essential 'survival' guide for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Expecting the Unexpected: Business Continuity in an Uncertain World
HM Government - Business Continuity Management Toolkit
Further information on risks can be found at:
Maldon District Council has also developed, in partnership with Chelmsford Borough Council, a simple guide to business continuity planning.