By Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson

Many people up and down the country were left reeling in the aftermath of the UK riots. The damage was horrendous, with high-street businesses bearing the brunt of the trouble.

For the many businesses affected — and even those that weren’t — it was a harsh reminder of the importance of business continuity planning. Analysing your business and prioritising your business needs, i.e. what business processes need to be up and running and by when, is vital when it comes to letting customers and key service providers know that it’s business as usual.

For all but the largest businesses, planning for unexpected events and interruptions can be challenging. Smaller businesses with one location cannot possibly cater for all eventualities, but there is always something that can be done. So here are some of the things to think about:

IT threats

Consider how your critical data is backed up and whether you need permanent alternatives to replace crucial IT services and communications? Also, might you need uninterruptible power supplies or generators to keep your business functioning? Identify and prioritise key risks, such as power interruption, physical and cyber or terrorist attacks. Then draw up plans to minimise or manage these risks.

People management

Consider who should do what when an emergency occurs. Look at your personnel requirements and involve non-IT staff, including facilities and HR people. It’s important to put together recovery teams with defined personnel, roles and functions.

Larger businesses with multiple locations should ensure that recovery teams don’t all work out of the same building, so that plans can be implemented and managed from different offices.

Spread the word

Review your communications strategy and check that you have access to contact information for your staff, key service providers, regulatory bodies, press agencies and other appropriate contacts. Put a communication cascade structure or ‘call tree’ in place so that the onus is not on one person or group to make the calls.

Test drive

Finally, once you have drawn up your plans, walk through them. You need to review your business needs and priorities regularly, and test both your IT recovery procedures and communications plan. Finally, make sure that you communicate your plans and preparedness to your staff. It will be too late to do this after the event.

If you need help developing your business continuity plans, contact Guy Rigby on 020 7131 8213 or email guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk

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Watch the video below featuring Guy Rigby of Smith & Williamson discussing how to develop a business strategy.


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