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.
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.