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The Basics of a Business Continuity Plan

NH Division of Economic Development
NH Division of Economic Development
NH Division of Economic DevelopmentNH Division of Economic Development

Disaster planning doesn't have to be hard! This presentation centers around a 10-step overview process that leads to the creation of a living business continuity plan. It also covers traditional and emerging disaster threats (both natural and man-made), and draws a parallel between personal and business disaster preparation.

The Basics of a Business Continuity Plan

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Building Your Business Continuity Plan Jeannette McDonald, Cogent Solutions, LLC
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The Basics of a Business Continuity Plan

  • 1. Building Your Business Continuity Plan Jeannette McDonald, Cogent Solutions, LLC
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  • 8. New Risks Gaining Momentum
  • 9. Action Speaks Louder Than Words
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  • 11. Top Ten 6. Create a crisis communication plan 7. Assemble an emergency kit 8. Review your insurance coverage 9. Plan for an alternate location 10. Prepare, train, update & so on
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  • 14. It is better to be prepared for a disaster and not have one, than to have one and not be prepared. Thank you       “ It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared . ”       “ It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared . ”

Editor's Notes

  1. The agenda for the morning.
  2. How many of you have early warming detectors in your home for fire and smoke? What is the importance of fire detectors? It’s twofold – warning of the fire, but, earlier notification limits loss of property. A business continuity plan does the same thing – a process to avoid a disaster, and if faced with one, limits the financial loss as a result of the disruption.
  3. The whole purpose of having a continuity plan is to get essential business back up and running with as little down time as possible when disaster strikes. According to Chris Pope, New Hampshire Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Planning - there is a direct correlation between those businesses that have a BCP and those without a BCP as to who survived. An article in Financial Executive noted that smaller companies are probably the most vulnerable to interruption and, without a strong financial base, are unable to absorb the disruption for long periods of time. A business continuity plan provides an organized response to a chaotic event. Instead of thinking it will never happen to me – think when will it happen to me. A soup kitchen in Keene experienced a significant fire in one of their facilities, because of a well thought out plan they were back up and running within 2 hours serving meals. The longer you’re out of business, the likelihood increases that your business will not reopen if you are not prepared – if you do not have a business continuity plan. What event gave rise to BCP’s? Y2K in 1/1/2000 What came next: 9/11. 150 biz out of 350 affected Failed to survive the event. Disaster survival Statistics reports Fires permanently Close 44% of bus Affected.
  4. A BCP can benefit your business overall just by taking the time to look at how you do things. Sometimes there are inadequacies in your operation that aren’t identified, or worked on, until you take the time to examine how you conduct business. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council found that the planning process enables companies to identify vulnerabilities in its operations and processes. It presents an opportunity for a business to improve it’s procedures and practices, in addition to increasing its resilience to interruption.
  5. A BCP sounds a lot tougher than what it has to be. Don’t avoid working on a plan because you think it will take too many hours toiling over the who, what and where. I recently had a real life experience with lack of BCP. Florida client story. A BCP is a clear, logical and practical plan to support your business during interruption. If a crisis turns into an unplanned interruption – your continuity plan will guide you to the fastest recovery.
  6. In New England we face weather ranging from snow, ice and tropical storms yearly. It is these occurrences that give us historical information on what has occurred in the past that will likely happen again. If yearly you are impacted by trees falling on your building, flooding or utility outages, then consider what you can do differently to avoid the downtime. Question: Based on feedback from independent insurance agencies and the local fire departments – what is the number one risk in NH? Flooding. What types of flooding do you think of?
  7. However, weather related disasters are a little more than 50% of the interruptions that happen everyday. More likely it is isolated events that will be more apt to occur. Burst pipes, electrical shortages, human error, vehicle accidents, lightning, power surges, network failure, smoke damage, faulty sprinklers, theft and virus. STORY OF FORKLIFT HITTING SPRINKLER SYSTEM Agility Recovery reports three growing risks to businesses. Supply chain disruption, workplace violence and cyber security. Just this past month there was an article in Business NH Magazine that addressed “Preventing Violence at Work”. SHOW ARTICLE Cyber security breach can strike at any given moment knocking your business off line for days; would you be able to respond to this disaster?
  8. As adult learners we are more able to process information if we are engaged in the topic. So, let’s begin by getting you involved. I am handing out a business continuity planning worksheet that will get your mind thinking. There are 10 questions to consider when putting together your continuity plan. Please take notes …. jot down your thoughts. The process to creating your plan starts here and down. Don’t think if disaster strikes others will help me. There’s little money available from federal, state and your community. Your survival is up to you. If you walk away with a nugget of information that will be applied back in the workplace – then you’ve taken the first step in protecting your business. So, let’s get started.
  9. Where is your facility located ? What types of emergencies have happened in the past? What about the construction – what types of emergencies could result from the construction of the building? Is there an evacuation plan that is practiced regularly? Is there a tenant above/below – what if they have a fire? If disaster strikes – what business function needs to quickly start up first? What support will that department need – personnel, software, hardware? What business function comes after that & so on. This is an area that is becoming increasingly important. Who are your key vendors and suppliers? What happens if THEY go down? Do they have a BCP to protect YOU? Key area. Who is on your ER team? What decisions will you make today that will be followed when disaster strikes. Work the plan now so you’ll be prepared when chaos reins. I think we’re all pretty good at backing up data. But where is it stored? Have you tried accessing the restored data and able to rebuild it on a cold service. Do you have access to the data when you need it? Mitigation: efforts You take to lesson the impact of risk. 4 phases Mitigate Prepare Respond Recovery
  10. External communication will be covered in-depth in the next two sessions. Things to consider for internal communication relates to how you’ll communicate with employees and clients. Who will be overseeing the communication? When will communication occur? Will you use a phone tree, email alert, social media? When we think of emergency kit a first aid kit comes to mind. Think bigger. What would you put in your companies first aid kit? Insurance policies? Fixed asset inventory? Important contracts? Cash - it’s critical when you can’t access your bank accounts. Letterhead, office supplies, special credit cards When is the last time you met with your insurance representative and thoroughly went through your policy from the perspective “if a disaster strikes, what is my long term recovery coverage?” Unexpected costs can rapidly add up . Have you documented your assets (new)? Do you have photos of your building? Check out cost for cyber liability; flood ins not covered under standard – more likely to have flood than fire. If your building burned down – where would you conduct your business? Is there an alternate location that’s close to where you are now? Will there be add’l costs at alternate location? Do you have relationships with other business owners that could house your business during recovery? If it’s a regional event everyone will be scrambling for alternate space, what do you have in place to quickly reduce level of disruption? It’s quite self-explanatory. Make the review annual. Bring new employees up to par on your plan. Conduct fire drills; contact your fire dept with ER contact info; - primary & secondary names. STORY OF SPRINKLER TEST # 8 sewer pipe breaks, hot water Heater leaks. Building mat’ls change, coverage cld be outdated. When blding needs to be repaired, no longer grand- fathered – subject to new codes, will coverage reflect that? # 6 If crisis requires fire dept, be sure to talk with them after the disaster is under ctrl to unravel the response, Ffndings and plan moving forward.
  11. There are many, many options for preparing a plan – from self-directed to hiring a BCP company. Just goggle business continuity planning and see the tremendous options. These are three sites that I found most helpful. Don’t rely on financial support local, state or feds – everyone’s running out of money. Prepare to be self-reliant. Ready.gov has a document that is a tutorial along with success stories and next steps clearly built into the process. Read the success story of Aeneas Internet & Telephone of Jackson, TN. In minutes 400 businesses were devastated by a tornado that killed eleven people and more than $50 million in damage throughout the community. Because Aeneas had a BCP , in less than 72 hours they were back-up and fully serving their clients. SBA.gov as well has tools and information about building a continuity plan and digs into the financial impact of the disaster. Prepare my biz.org has a comprehensive outline that covers every aspect of creating a BCP as well. EXAMPLE OF A SIMPLE BUSINESS EMERGENCY PLAN FOR READY.GOV. (ON JUMP DRIVE) Lack of information cannot be a reason why you haven’t developed your business continuity plan.
  12. So now that you know, what are you going to do? I know what happens when we attend workshops, our best intentions get buried under the daily demands of running a business. So, to give you a nudge, a gentle reminder. Take your envelope and write your name, address on it. On the bottom left corner write the date one week for today. (wait several seconds) On the index card write one BCP commitment you will achieve one week from today. (wait several seconds). Put the card in the envelope, seal it and turn to your new friend on the left and hand them the envelope. New friend… your responsibility is to postage this envelope and mail it one week from today. Maybe even exchange telephone #’s and call one another to see how the process is going.
  13. Q&A? Clearly state, the saying. Thank you!