Your business strategy may be clear and robust - but how do you plan for unexpected events? The collapse of a key supplier, employees off sick in a pandemic, the failure of a critical system shutting down services to clients or customers. Is your organisation resilient enough to withstand the disruption?
If you cannot recover in time then you're in trouble. Which is why Business Continuity Management (BCM) is about more than keeping you up and running. It's a vital part of safe-guarding your brand and maintaining the reputation of your business.
Types of continuity risk
Business disruption can come in almost any form - from internal system failure to unforeseen natural disasters and political events. The consequences of excessive recovery times are more predictable and include:
Financial loss - from lost revenue to contractual penalties
Brand and reputational damage - including lost customers and negative publicity
Legal and regulatory threats - from breaches in compliance to civil litigation
Higher insurance costs - increased Business Interruption premiums or lack of access to capacity
Getting it right
One of the most potentially destabilising consequences of disruption is uncertainty. And this can affect an organisation even before disaster strikes. How resilient are you? How vulnerable are your critical activities and how long will it take to recover them?
Answering these questions is vital if you're going to stay in business when times are tough and fulfil the promises you have made to customers and stakeholders. So do you have a business continuity plan? How often are crisis management plans rehearsed? Have all aspects of BCM been addressed, from people and premises to suppliers, technology and information? Are all your employees aware of their roles and responsibilities in business continuity?
Addressing these issues is an essential part of business continuity. An independent review of your processes and controls can provide additional comfort - from offering a better understanding of time critical-business priorities to benchmarking capabilities against other sectors' best practice.
With more detailed scenario testing and more focused disaster planning you will be able to optimise your organisation's BCM programme. And that's the comfort your senior stakeholders need - and your clients and customers depend on.