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Business continuity for the Olympics

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Andrew Bale, CEO at Resilient Networks, discusses the importance

of business continuity for small businesses during the Olympic Games.

There is less than 200 days to go to the kick off to the

Olympics, and being able to maintain business as usual during this event is

becoming an increasingly important area of focus – especially for SMEs who are

dependent on day-to-day operations to keep their doors open.

During London 2012, SMEs and businesses in general in the

UK will be facing an immense amount of added pressure from additional

infrastructure requirements, travel congestion, the sheer influx of visitors,

officials and competitors and possible service disruptions.

It’s for this reason that SMEs need to focus on putting

the right continuity solution in place to ensure smooth and uninterrupted

services to their customers, suppliers, partners, employees and the business

ecosystem as a whole. For SMEs that are more often than not on a shoe string

budget, the focus has to be on the most important aspects of business

continuity.

Top ten business continuity tips:

Know your business

Understanding your current business continuity

requirements involves going back to your business impact analysis and

revisiting the key objectives of your organisation.

Match plans to requirements

The second step in implementing an effective business

continuity plan is identifying all of the stakeholders that could impact upon

your business. To do this you need to consider your audience both internal and

external – suppliers, customers, staff.

Flag failure points

Pinpointing risks on and off premises is key. You need to

look for failure points in business networks – but not only single points – it

has to be wide ranging, from the loss of cable infrastructure to equipment. 

Develop a strategy

First look at your people infrastructure. How will you

move people (should the need arise) yet maintain access to supporting systems,

what message are you going to give in the first hours after an incident? By

figuring this out upfront you will be able to develop a comprehensive strategy.

Gain senior management buy-in

At some stage you will seek financial sign-off to

incorporate services and solutions into your business continuity strategy – and

they will hold the key to the vaults.

Inform and train staff

Build a communications plan that includes all the people

who are going to be involved in managing the business at the time of an

unforeseeable event making sure that they understand the role they have to

perform.

Rehearse it

You can have the best business continuity plan in the

world on paper but you still need to put it into practice to ensure it is as

effective as you think. You can do this by having walk through’s, engaging in

table top exercises or running real life ‘shut-downs’ department by department.

Have your plan readily available

Once your plan is ready you have to make sure it’s

available. Staff have to be able to access it offsite easily. Ideally you

should be able to invoke your business continuity plan from anywhere at any

time.

Update through change control

 Update the plan to fit in with the changing circumstances of

your business, it should be a living, breathing part of your on-going

operations.

Evaluate the importance of inbound and outbound communications

In business continuity planning the management of inbound

and outbound voice communications is often a much neglected area. This is

because people often don’t fully appreciate the complexities of the inherent

systems. To fully evaluate the importance of these telecoms systems you need to

identify and communicate with suppliers, figure out how calls are routed and

pinpoint risks.

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