The vast majority of responsible business owners are familiar with the importance of business continuity planning (BCP), and they have even implemented a set of protocols to safeguard the company in the event of a catastrophe. Unfortunately, there are few ways to determine the effectiveness of these BCPs other than actually applying them in practice. The good news is that by examining the main errors that render business continuity plans ineffective in emergency circumstances, you can plan for them ahead of time and therefore minimize the risks. Ergo, you are able to mitigate the impact of a disaster. Let’s find out what they are.
Lack of industry or interdepartmental customization
One of the most common practices among the management, and that promises to fail at a critical time, is to mirror the BCP of different organization, as is. The problem is that, while the general guidelines and structure of a business continuity plan are similar across the board, the distinct specific details of a company could make a competitor’s protocols ineffective.
Furthermore, it is recommended to tailor a set of disaster recovery protocols in accordance with the necessities of each department in your company. Applying the same principles for your IT and marketing staff, for example, will only lead to confusion and reduce the effectiveness of the BCP.
Overwhelmingly extensive details
Numerous business owners fail to see the need to store the business continuity strategy separately from the rest of their plans or documents. However, when a catastrophe occurs, the last thing you’ll want is to have your employees browsing a 2,000 page document searching for the appropriate course of action. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep the plans for each category of disaster in different folders – or hardcopy documents – for better accessibility.
Undefined BCP scope
Forgetting to establish the scope of your business continuity plan – on paper as well, not just in your head – will only lead to confusion in the implementation plan. In case your employees’ tasks and protocols aren’t clearly designated, or when the extent of these protocols isn’t clarified, coordination is likely to be impossible.
Ambiguous or incomplete action plan
Ambiguity in phrasing the BCP is yet another reason why the implementation could fail in the most inappropriate moments, along with the absence of a logical layout of the steps that must be followed in the disaster recovery phase. In other words, it’s the management job to warrant that every single member of the staff clearly understands his duty roster the first time he reads it.
Completeness is also necessary. For example, while your BCP clearly might state how an evacuation should take place in the event of a fire, you also have to plan the course of action after all employees have made it outside safely.
Untested and unverified BCP
Finally, safety experts advise that testing the effectiveness of the BCP and evaluating the results in an objective manner should be done on a biannual basis, at the very least. Drills offer valuable insight regarding the things that could go wrong and provide you with the chance to address them before an actual emergency.
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