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30 August 2019

Understanding Business Continuity Planning

Forward Thinking Business Blog –

These days it’s not uncommon for high profile events like the recent ransomware attacks to generate debate about the need for businesses to improve their security. But it’s not just cybercrime or technology failings that disrupt business operations. Every day, fires, floods, accidents, theft, malicious destruction, illness, loss of key personnel have potentially devastating consequences for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. While it’s not always possible to prevent a disaster from happening, it is possible to limit the impact through effective business continuity planning.

In these times of increased risk, business continuity planning has never been more important writes Feargal McCormack.

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Where to start

Business continuity planning begins by identifying the potential crises that could affect your business. These could include natural disasters, a major customer going out of business, loss or damage to stock or business premises, loss of key personnel, cyber attacks or loss of customer data and so on.

It is useful to grade these risks according to the likelihood that they could occur and the impact they would have on your business, staff and customers.

Once you have identified and categorised potential threats as low, medium or high risk in terms of likelihood and impact, you can then focus on how to minimise the risk of a crisis occurring and limiting the impact if it does occur.

For example, in a manufacturing scenario, your business continuity plan might require arrangements for alternative warehousing and distribution or assistance from third party manufacturers whereas in an owner-managed family business, the risks to consider might include the impact on the business and family if the owner was suddenly unavailable through serious illness or death. One way to mitigate this risk would be to have a well-thought through succession plan in place.

You will need to document your business processes and it is important that this documentation is well written, Keep in mind that the person who has to rely on the document to get your business back up and running might not be the person who created or documented a particular process.

It is also important that your plan is a living document as otherwise it is likely to be out of date when it’s most needed.

Other BCP advantages

Working with a wide variety of clients across many different business sectors North and South, PKF-FPM has found that as well as minimising the risk and impact of crises, business continuity planning has other important advantages. These include:

  • Minimising losses
  • Improving management’s understanding of business operations
  • Highlighting risks and areas where improvements are needed
  • Reassuring customers and investors
  • Protecting reputation and brand

To find out more about business continuity planning and how PKF-FPM can help…

Contact Feargal

Feargal McCormack / Managing Director

f.mccormack@pkffpm.com

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