Many organisations have activated their business continuity plan in response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and are still operating under temporary measures many months later.
Are you prepared if another disruption occurs now?
Planning for Disruptions
Having a structured Business Continuity Management framework is an important part of an organisation’s resilience function and it is increasingly becoming a requirement in public sector tenders.
At Assent we are seeing many more ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Systems being implemented by companies of all types and, according to a recent ISO Survey, the number of ISO 22301 Certificates issued in the UK is increasing year-on-year.
Business Continuity Management is broader than just the plan itself. It involves a structured approach to Business Impact Analysis, Risk Management and the various other procedures required to maintain your ability to respond to a disruption before it happens, as well as when it does occur.
Impact on Business Continuity During a Disruption
Generally, those organisations who had already planned and tested their response to a disruption have found managing the pandemic easier than those who had not considered it.
However, many may have assumed this would be shorter-term, lasting only a matter of days or weeks, before returning to business-as-usual.
Of course the national restrictions and changes to how businesses operate have lasted many months, meaning that if you haven’t already, you should be reviewing your business continuity plans now to ensure you can effectively manage another disruption.
Prepare for Another Potential Disruption
While you may have managed the ‘pandemic threat’ effectively to-date, other threats have not necessarily subsided. In-fact some may even have increased in severity or likelihood due to the pandemic.
For example, supply chain issues including availability of stock or a supplier closing down could be more likely; while the threat of a technology outage or data breach remain a possibility.
Therefore your business continuity management programme should not be forgotten during this time and the on-going operation of the system should be maintained.
Five Things to Do Now!
If you feel your business continuity management system has lapsed recently, here are five things to do now!
- Horizon Scanning
Consider and identify potential threats across Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) aspects.
- Update Risk Register
Review your risk assessment, including any new threats/disruptions identified in your Horizon Scan above. Prevention is better than cure, so take mitigating steps now to reduce the risk of a threat occurring.
- Reconsider Your Strategies & Solutions
There are many ways to respond to a disruption, from full replications to falling back on an insurance solution. However some of these strategies may be affected by the current activation of your BCP.
- Check Your Resources
Your original business continuity plan might have been based on resources which have now been used, or are no longer available, so it’s a good time to review your resources in-line with the strategies and solutions you considered above.
- Test & Exercise
Probably the most important part of business continuity management is to test your plans and procedures as far as possible to give them the best chance of working when needed. You can still organise tests and exercises during a disruption – providing it doesn’t make things worse!
Business Continuity should be built into every decision you make in your business, and during a disruptive event such as a pandemic, the possibility of another disruption occurring should not be underestimated.
Business continuity remains a key business function and should be maintained during a crisis.
Assent Risk Management can help you review your current plans and procedures, assist with testing and, if required, support you through the ISO 22301 Certification Process.
Contact our consultants to see how we can help.
Managing a Disruption During a Disruption