Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes
Written by Aaron Nolan
As the Covid-19 virus epidemic continues to spread across the globe, the number of organisations and institutions forced to close their doors continues to rise daily. The long-term impact of the Coronavirus on businesses and the economy is yet unknown, but your organisation should do everything possible to mitigate the risk and ensure business continuity.
The key priority here is to contain or eradicate the spread of the virus so, therefore, protecting your staff, your most valuable asset. To this end, it may be necessary for your organisation to close the premises and require that employees work from home.
The goal of Business Continuity is the ongoing operational uptime of the business in a time of disaster until normal business conditions are back in place. Planning for business continuity is vital to maintain the continuous operation of the organisation in the event of an emergency.
Moreover, a robust business continuity plan will consist of much more than simply telling people to work from home. There are multiple factors that need to be considered and discussed beforehand. Most businesses are not ready to request that from their staff, as there is no structure in place to allow them to be productive remotely.
The Covid-19 virus pandemic brings business continuity into sharp focus. Now is a perfect time to build and test the resilience and the Business Continuity Process for your organisation.
How much would one hour of downtime cost you? Discover with our Downtime Calculator
Mature and risk-averse organisations should already have these contingencies in place to limit downtime and to mitigate potential financial loss. If your company has not got controls in place, consider the following controls as efficient preparation wins to prepare in the event of an emergency closure.
It may be too late for most, but a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is one of the first steps your company should consider. A Business Impact Analysis is a review of all Business-Critical Operations, risk assessing them in the event of a worst-case scenario.
A Business Impact Analysis should be implemented by the Management Structure within an organisation and should include senior management and representatives from all departments of the business.
The easiest way to assess the risk to your business is to identify critical functions and supporting assets in your organisation. Once a company has identified its business-critical assets, the next step is to ensure their availability and continued ability to run.
If you haven’t yet identified your critical assets and risks, read:
Building your Asset and Risk Register
A Business Continuity Coordinator should be nominated, and all employees should be trained or at least made aware of the Business Continuity Process. It is the responsibility of senior management within the organisation to ensure the training and education of all employees is complete.
In the event of your organisation having to close due to an emergency, there should be procedures and guidelines available to all staff to let them know what to do. Documentation such as an Incident Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan and a Continuity of Operations Plan should be available for all staff in the event of the organisation closing.
Your employees should know where these documents are located whether that be on a local file server or hosted in the cloud. We call this a disaster recovery war chest.
The first thing to consider is, does every employee have access to a laptop or home PC? If so, does each computer comply with the company’s network access policy? And finally, does the device have a VPN set up in order to gain access to business applications and data remotely?
It is also highly advisable to consider moving critical files to cloud-based storage, such as Egnyte or SharePoint. This will allow access to these files from anywhere, and on any device without the need for complex VPNs.
Having a robust Business Continuity Plan in place will allow you to be prepared not only for the Coronavirus outbreak but every major risk factor that could potentially affect your organisation. A Business Continuity Plan should be able to address situations like fire, floods, physical invasions and the vast number of Cyber Security risks – which although seemingly less dangerous, could be just as disastrous for a company.
One of any such disasters could cause anything from financial damage to a vital failure leading to business closure. Having contingencies in place could determine the difference between your business shutting its doors or thriving.
Now that you are aware of the importance of these procedures, you can prepare your plan and avoid the incoming damage poised by external threats. Should you need assistance and professional advice, feel free to Book a Call with us.