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8 key mistakes to avoid undermining your business continuity plans

If you want your business operations to continue in the case of unlikely calamities, it best to implement a well-thought-out business continuity plan – before the worst happens. But try to avoid several mistakes when developing your strategy.

Often your operations may seem efficient and failproof, in reality, obstacles may happen at any time. Whether you’ve lost a major client or can’t achieve good team dynamics, it’s essential to keep going.

This is where your business continuity plan (BCP) comes into effect.

The BCP outlines how your business will continue its operations during unplanned service disruptions. It’s more detailed than disaster recovery plans and features contingencies for human resources, processes, partners and assets. It can also include checklists for equipment and supplies, IT data backups, and information on emergency responders.

The contents will vary, but a BCP can help you overcome various issues and re-establish productivity to meet the critical needs of your enterprise. However, the only way to reap the benefits of your BCP is to avoid making mistakes in the development stage.

In this article, the team at Sound Networks IT Support in Melksham have tried to outline the eight biggest mistakes to try and avoid when creating your business continuity plan – we are all human after all.

The Eight mistakes

MISTAKE #1 – Not thinking about your employees

Organisations who want to get back on track after an unexpected incident should focus on the needs of their employees when devising a BCP. Otherwise, they could be exposed to serious safety risks.

Plan for every situation that can affect your employees during disruptions. The list includes emergency communication protocols, evacuation routes, and many other key details. In doing so, you’ll ensure your team has all they need to weather the storm.

Moreover, discuss the plan with your staff and elicit their input in critical safety matters. You can also tell them you’ll be there for support if a crisis takes place. This gives them peace of mind, knowing their leader cares about them.

MISTAKE #2 – Leaving out the small details

After creating a general BCP, many enterprises fail to think about specific details that ensure they can execute their plan. This is a huge mistake, as it can result in loss of data.

The minor points you should incorporate into your BCP include logistical considerations, such as technology and medical aid support.

For example, informing your medical providers about the plan is crucial because it enables them to make their arrangements on time. You should also tell your key personnel who to contact if they need medical assistance during accidents. Another great idea is to determine how your team can access data securely if they can’t make it to their office.

Taking the smallest details into account can protect your data and even save your staff’s lives. Therefore, don’t leave the development to chance – at Sound Networks IT Support in Wiltshire, we try go through the BCP regularly to make sure it’s effective and up to date.

MISTAKE #3 – Not showing your staff how the plan works

Often, company principals will focus on downtime but fail to demonstrate to their team members how to execute a plan and minimize any productivity decrease.

Your employees are integral to the efficacy of your BCP. And the only way to perform their roles correctly is to become well-versed in your company’s plan.

To make sure this happens, explain how your staff should respond during a crisis. Tell them how to handle their clients if your systems go down. Don’t forget about the location and schedules that will be effective while the main office is off-limits.

The final part is to have your team practice these tasks so they can complete them more easily when disasters strike. It’s really easy to forget this part once the plan is initially setup.

MISTAKE #4 – Putting operational continuity over team safety

When accidents occur, it’s understandable why business owners focus on assessing the effects on their business. Nevertheless, considering operational continuity only and neglecting your staff’s safety well-being can have dire consequences.

Your people are crucial to executing your BCP appropriately, so check on them first. Data plans that nobody can facilitate are useless, regardless of their effectiveness.

You have to make sure your staff are safe and reachable after a crisis, whether they are in Bristol, Wiltshire or further afield. The crisis management task force should be able to contact them easily and see if they can help them.

This will help guarantee your team can bounce back after an accident and go back to work quickly.

MISTAKE #5 – Not having the right tech solutions

Waiting for natural disasters to strike before establishing helplines for your employees is a huge mistake. Likewise, failure to set up efficient data backups might render your systems useless in case of data breaches.

If you have no proper technology to mitigate accidents, you could be exposing your business to higher risks, revenue loss, and prolonged downtime.

To avert this, consult technology specialists or your local IT support company to verify your system has all features and components that can keep your networks intact. Such a system should allow you to streamline communications, minimize downtime, and secure your workloads.

MISTAKE #6 – The plan is managed by just one person

Developing a BCP all by yourself is possible, but it’s also more prone to error as you may not have the complete picture at your fingertips. An improved approach is to gather people from across all your departments to account for all contingencies. Otherwise, you’ll restrict your team’s insight into all the processes and risks under your plan. Sometimes, a third-party sanity check can go a long way.

Forming a BCP management team that involves multiple functions and departments offers a broader company-wide perspective to your planning. This diversity can help resolve problems and streamline your strategy.

MISTAKE #7 – Making generalisations

Continuity plans with broad generalisations often lead to uncertainty and confusion. A BCP needs to be concise and, if possible, restrict explaining the detail in to short steps. Such forms enable anyone to understand the directions and visualize their roles.

MISTAKE #8 – Not completing a risk assessment

Risk assessments are a critical step that must take place before developing your BCP. As the name suggests, they can you help discover the potential risks in your area.

Depending on the size of your organization, location, and activities, your company faces different risks. For example, there’s no need to plan for disaster recovery after a hurricane if your region isn’t prone to them. It would only increase your costs and waste time. However, if you are heavily reliant on your data stored in electronic format, you need to make sure you have an efficient server backup, or if you use cloud services, a cloud to cloud backup.

Don't let your enterprise cease to function

A detailed BCP goes a long way in improving your response to disasters. Avoiding the above-mentioned mistakes will put you on the right track and help you and your staff cope with new conditions more easily.

If you need help in creating your BCP, give us a call today. Sound Networks are happy to have an obligation-free chat to determine how we can help you with developing your BCP.

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