Yesterday, we hosted a webinar on business continuity best practices, featuring Eze Castle Integration’s own business continuity experts: Lisa Smith, a Certified Business Continuity Planner and Manager of Business Continuity and Data Privacy, and Katharine Washburn, Business Continuity and Data Privacy Coordinator. The presentation covered everything from developing business continuity best practices to ensuring that a company’s employees are personally prepared. Read on for a quick recap of everything covered during the event.
Business Continuity Planning
Although many companies recognize the importance of crafting an effective business continuity plan, few actually feel that they have prepared one adequately. According to Continuity Compliance, while 70% of businesses have created a robust business continuity and emergency response plan, only 25% have also accounted for human resiliency. Furthermore, a recent survey commissioned by the Ad Council found that only 17% of the 60% of Americans that feel preparation for natural or manmade disasters is essential consider themselves to be very prepared for an emergency situation.
Business Impact Analysis
There are several areas companies should cover when developing a business continuity plan. The first step for putting together your plan is developing the Business Impact Analysis. This is the foundation of the business continuity plan and determines what the firm needs to focus on protecting. An essential component of the firm that needs to be protected is its employees. When looking at employees, consider:
How they are going to recover;
Where they are going to go; and
What resources they will need (applications, data, and what resources they can access at home).
The second step is to analyze the strategies used by the company and its employees in order to identify the company’s risks and exposures. The plan must examine potential scenarios and decide the most effective way to react to them.
The third step is to identify the most effective way to provide information about particular scenarios to employees, internally and externally.
In order to efficiently deal with a potential emergency incident, specific steps must be taken in order to ensure the safety of each employee. These include:
Ensuring employee specific documentation: Information contained in the business continuity plan is contained on Quick Reference Cards, Wallet Cards, or Regional Reference Guides.
Mapping out employee locations: It is essential to map out where employees are located in regards to the office, in order to recover most effectively during an emergency incident.
Developing manager guides: Develop manager guides in order to validate employee remote connectivity, redirect incoming calls, and secure contact information in case of an emergency.
One of the most important aspects of developing a successful business continuity plan is undergoing testing (we recommend at least twice per year). Every aspect of the plan needs to be tested, although it is not necessary for them all to be tested at once. Here are some tips to keep in mind when developing the plan:
Make the scenario real
Test it bi-annually
Ensure participation from all business units
Test on a slow day
Test each component of the plan
Document all issues, resolutions, and results
Preparing Your Employees
Critical Contacts: Ensure that critical contacts are available outside of the office. These include both critical people and businesses such as members of the household, insurance agents, schools, places of employment for family members, local hotels, and healthcare providers.
Build your Emergency Kit: Make sure that employees take care to build emergency kits and know where to access them inside and outside of the office. Suggested resources include a first aid kit, photo ID, cash, aspirin or tylenol, blankets, clothes, water, canned food, maps, battery-powered radio, pocket knife, flashlight, matches, and candles.
Considerations: Employees should take care to prepare for an emergecy if time allows, and consider if they have enough of the above resources to be prepared for an emergency. Preparing in advance will also alleviate stress during the incident. Other items to stock up on include gas for the car and fully charged electronic equipment. Employees may also want to consider investing in a Power Dome, which allows electronics to be charged even if there is a lack of power.
- Recommendations: Employees should make sure that they are aware of where they can receive vital information at the time of an incident. Some of these places include emergency management agencies, local news, local hospitals, emergency radio stations and social media outlets.
To watch the complete replay of our BCP Tips webinar, click here or click the video below.
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