As the world continues to be impacted by the Corona Virus pandemic and the uncertainty that the rapid spread of COVID–19 brings, many business priorities have shifted or been put on hold. During the pandemic many organisation’s have found that key parts of their Business Continuity Plans have not been fit for purpose and over 50% of businesses did not have a Business Continuity Plan to begin with (according to a recent Mercer report.).
We have put together a list of crucial elements that should be considered if you are ready to develop or revisit your Business Continuity Plan.
One of the most essentials tasks when you are writing or reviewing your Business Continuity Plan is to identify the most critical business processes or services.
When you are examining your business impact it may include the following:
Tip: A useful exercise would be to consider impact over time, from daily, to weekly, to monthly, to quarterly and over a six-month period.
Identifying which parts of your computer systems are business-critical is central to a Business Continuity Plan, as it lets you organise a list of priorities, and keep your business running even in difficult situations.
Many businesses lack the technical infrastructure to manage long-term their workforce remotely for extended periods of time. Companies are often concerned about having a lack of control, lower productivity or remote workers becoming distracted. But this can often be misguided. A practical challenge that IT departments need to overcome is how to support remote workers without visiting their desks.
There have been supply chain shortages of equipment such as laptops, monitors and headsets. Workarounds have included staff members home devices (BYO bring your own device) to facilitate access to company data either via remote desktop or web browser.
The pandemic is likely to cause a permanent shift towards remote working. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to review your cloud-based tools and examine how rapid deployment solutions can be implemented in the future. Setting up a softphone to support remote workers will enable them to answer queries as if they are in the office, enabling them to receive and make calls over the Internet from a computer or other smart device.
Criminals are opportunistic and we are already seeing huge spikes in activity linked to Coronavirus scams. This could take the form of phishing emails masquerading as official organisations such as CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or the WHO (World Health Organisation). There has also been a spike in fake emails from HR or IT departments.
As your plan develops and final decisions are made, it is essential that the business collates this into a formal document. This will function as a single point of reference key decision makers and list roles and responsibilities as well as essential contact details for staff, clients and customers.
This document should be centrally accessible or printed off and kept offsite – ideally at the homes of key staff where it can be accessed quickly if required. Developing the plan should include a timeline of events and a record of who does what ensures staff know what to do, and when to do it.
As organisations recover it seems many will go through a phased transition period.
Organisations must be adaptable and in a state of readiness to react to change.