There’s no getting around it; the coronavirus is having a significant impact on businesses across the globe. One way organizations can mitigate the effects of this pandemic is to develop a comprehensive business continuity plan. According to a study based on Mercer’s Business Responses to the COVID-19 Outbreak Survey, 51 percent of organizations around the world do not have a business continuity plan in the case of emergencies or disasters, such as the current outbreak of coronavirus. To that end, we’ve put together a list of tactics that will help you avoid downtime and maintain business continuity during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
Map Out Your Business Continuity Risk Profile
It behooves you to have an awareness of your organization’s risk profile. In knowing the possible threats to your business, such as the coronavirus, you will be able to better plan for a potential disaster. In addition to this, it’s helpful to have an idea of how long your business can withstand system downtime. An understanding of external and internal threats can also assist in determining which systems are the most critical to your organization. Consider using this information to identify which data and systems should be recovered first in the event of a disaster. Divide the systems and data into tiers based on the priority of recovery.
Equip Your Team with Tools to Combat Coronavirus
Cloud solutions and VPNs make it easier for teams to access the information necessary to do their jobs remotely, but a comprehensive business continuity plan must also include where employees will work. This means that if your teams plan to work from home, your plan must include provisions to equip staff with the laptops, devices, and other tools they may need. Additionally, think of the alternate locations where employees will work and consider how you can ensure those sites are equipped to accommodate your staff and their workload.
Establish Communication Guidelines
Your business continuity plan should eliminate the need to scramble when an emergency such as the coronavirus arises. A pressing issue that can result from remote work is lack of communications. Within your business continuity plan, establish how your staff will communicate in the event that phone or internet service is disrupted, and put the necessary guidelines and infrastructure in place. During the coronavirus outbreak, it’s also important to develop a plan for external communication, namely staying in touch with partners and customers. In doing so, you can assure them that business will continue as usual, and inform them of any changes occurring.
Outline Responsibility During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Determining who will be responsible for updating and executing the business continuity plan is essential, particularly during an event such as the coronavirus outbreak. Six months ago, no one was worried about COVID- 19, but now it’s at the front of everyone’s minds. Now, it is someone’s responsibility to update an organization’s continuity plan and address how to maintain day-to-day operations while areas are subject to quarantine and a large number of employees are taking time off to recover from this illness. It’s also important to establish who will be in charge of funding in the event that a business needs to lease an alternative location, replace damaged equipment, or hire temporary workers.
The importance of a business continuity plan has never been clearer than it is right now. In an effort to reduce the amount of time spent scrambling during an emergency, use the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to examine your business continuity plan. Take the time to update and test it in order to ensure that the next time disaster strikes, you and your business will be prepared.
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