Gaining peace of mind when running a business is all about preparing for the worst. Anyone can enjoy the good times, but the savviest business owners will have a contingency plan in place for when times get rough too.

And rightly so. Cybercrime damages are expected to hit $6bn by 2021, and there are a number of other situations that could cause serious downtime for businesses. This is where business continuity planning comes in. 

Take a look at our 5 tips and make sure you and your business stay protected.

Tip #1: Remember the aims of business continuity planning

When many business owners think of continuity planning, they automatically think of disaster recovery. this is understandable — after all, both concepts relate to the ways in which businesses bounce back after a catastrophe or an attack. Yet it is important to differentiate between the two.

While disaster recovery plans relate to minimizing damage and mitigating the negative effects of a disaster, business continuity is more positive. It is about absorbing the shock so that your customers and clients barely notice and your market reputation remains undamaged

So, no reduction in service, no operating at half-capacity, no disruption whatsoever. Your business continuity plan should be geared towards achieving this.

Tip #2: Risk assess and prioritize

You are dealing with danger and risk, and therefore risk assessments should be a big part of your planning procedure. 

Approach this like an audit. What are the key risks you are working against? And what are you going to do to keep your business up and running should the worst happen?

Remember that you will need to allocate resources in the right way. Particularly, you will need to prioritize your risk management.

Tip #3: Decide on responsibilities

A degree of delegation is required if you are to implement a successful business continuity plan. This way, no matter when, where, or how, the situation goes bad, your teams will be able to seamlessly roll out the plan. And your company’s reputation will be secured.

So, who will be responsible for what? Larger-scale organizations will be able to allocate responsibility at the department level. Smaller companies will likely have individuals looking after key areas. However you decide to partition your response, make sure all areas are covered, and there are no weak links in the chain.

Tip #4: Be specific

Deciding on who is responsible for what gives you a degree of structure. But you need to go further than this if you want your clients and customers to be fully protected even when the worst happens.

To achieve this, you need to get specific. Design a diagram covering the key duties of different teams and staff members. Make sure that each of these items is supporting a specific outcome

Refer back to your risk assessments, consider what your clients need, and map out the specific details in order to make that happen. 

Tip #5: Understand the emergency action plan

With the nuts and bolts in place, your plan is almost complete. However, many organizations fail to recognize that the business continuity plan will only be deployed in an emergency situation. This means high stress, high stakes, and no margin for error.

To make this emergency situation a little easier on your team, you need put an emergency action plan in place. This way, everyone will know exactly what they need to do, and in what order. 

Of course, a degree of flexibility is important. But having a rigid action plan in place will make it easier for your staff to quickly take control of the situation.

To learn more about business continuity planning and how to protect the reputation of your business even in a disaster, get in touch with the ISG technology team.