• 27 May 2024, 07:36 AM

Category Archives: Business Continuity

Applying Business Continuity in Your Business: Expert Guidance from John Morton for Industry Professionals

In observance of Business Continuity Awareness Week, the spotlight on effective continuity planning has never been more intense. This focus is essential as businesses face an increasingly unpredictable global landscape. Leveraging the deep expertise of John Morton, a seasoned business continuity consultant, this article is designed for industry professionals committed to building resilient organisations. Here, we provide a detailed exploration of how to integrate robust business continuity strategies into your company’s operational blueprint.

Defining Business Continuity in Modern Enterprises

At its core, business continuity planning (BCP) prepares an organisation to maintain essential functions during and after a crisis. John Morton articulates that “true business continuity encompasses preemptive actions and strategies that ensure continued operations, irrespective of external disruptions.” Such a proactive approach is vital for protecting stakeholder interests, sustaining customer trust, and maintaining a competitive edge.

Strategic Implementation of Business Continuity

1. Comprehensive Risk Assessment and Impact Analysis

Starting with a robust risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) is essential, according to John Morton. “Each business must identify specific threats that could significantly impact its operations, including digital, physical, and logistical vulnerabilities,” he advises. The BIA aims to quantify the effects of various threats on operational aspects, financial performance, and corporate reputation, thereby prioritising critical areas for intervention.

2. Developing Tailored Mitigation Strategies

Once risks are identified, Morton recommends developing bespoke strategies to mitigate these effectively. Strategies might include enhancing IT infrastructure for cyber resilience, restructuring physical assets for disaster readiness, or diversifying suppliers to mitigate dependency risks. He emphasises that each strategy should align with the company’s risk profile and long-term strategic objectives.

3. Detailed Continuity Plan Development

Creating detailed business continuity plans involves outlining response procedures for various scenarios. These plans should clearly define roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, and recovery time objectives (RTOs). Morton highlights the necessity of these plans being meticulously documented and easily accessible to ensure swift and efficient responses when required.

4. Training, Testing, and Employee Engagement

Morton states, “Effective implementation of continuity plans hinges on thorough training and regular testing.” It’s crucial that all relevant personnel are not only aware of the plans but also proficient in executing their roles under different crisis scenarios. Regular drills and simulations assess the robustness of the plans and identify areas for improvement.

5. Continuous Review and Adaptation

Business continuity is a dynamic component of business strategy that requires regular updates and reviews as business environments and threats evolve. Morton advocates for a structured review process that incorporates feedback from drills, real incidents, and shifts in business operations or strategy.

John Morton’s insights provide industry professionals with a comprehensive framework for embedding resilience into their organisations. By prioritising detailed risk assessment, strategic planning, and continuous improvement, businesses are better positioned to not only withstand unexpected disruptions but also thrive amidst them. As Morton succinctly puts it, “In today’s volatile business landscape, preparedness is synonymous with success.” Through such preparedness, businesses can ensure continuity, safeguard their interests, and secure a sustainable future.

Author: John Morton

Business Continuity Awareness – Why is it important?

Business Continuity Awareness Week began this Monday, 13 May. Are you currently developing or updating a business continuity awareness programme, or brainstorming ideas for one? In this post, we will discuss how to create and deploy an effective business continuity awareness initiative and provide ideas for an engaging campaign during the week.

Business Continuity Awareness – Why is it important?

Understanding business continuity awareness is crucial. Before developing any training, it’s important to address several key questions:

  • What are our goals with business continuity awareness?
  • Who is our target audience within the organisation?
  • Which topics should we cover to ensure our audience is well-informed, and how should we deliver this content?

Often, business continuity training focuses on the need for plans and their contents. While this is appropriate for those creating the plans, it may not resonate with others in the organisation who will be impacted by the activation of these plans. Thus, training should also emphasise why business continuity is vital to the organisation, avoiding the appearance of merely promoting the business continuity function.

Key Objectives of Business Continuity Awareness The primary aim is to ensure the entire organisation is informed and prepared for the invocation of the business continuity plan. We want to guarantee that everyone knows how to stay safe and what actions to take under specific scenarios like evacuation, relocation, or building lockdown. To achieve this, we might simulate different scenarios to demonstrate the established arrangements.

Who Should Be “Business Continuity Aware”? Our programme targets the broader organisation beyond the small group managing initial incident responses. We aim to engage those who haven’t participated in the planning but will be affected by its implementation. Essentially, this programme is for non-specialists who need to understand what happens when a plan is activated and what resources are available.

What Topics Should We Cover? The success of a business continuity awareness programme hinges on content relevance. Ensure the material is pertinent by:

  • Explaining likely scenarios under specific conditions based on the organisation’s type and the plans in place.
  • Detailing how notifications of major incidents will be communicated, whether through SMS, apps, calls, etc., and using visual aids where possible.
  • Outlining expected actions upon receiving a notification, such as confirming receipt or monitoring information sources.
  • Informing where and how updates on the situation can be accessed, identifying primary contacts for updates.
  • Featuring senior management in introductions to emphasise the plan’s importance and everyone’s roles.
  • Using familiarisation elements like images or videos of recovery facilities or simulated event notifications to make the content engaging and lively.

These elements tend to drive engagement, enhance understanding of the organisation’s investment in business continuity, and improve overall preparedness.

We have developed several highly effective Business Continuity Awareness Campaigns for organisations of all sizes. Feel free to get in touch to discuss your needs with us.

Author Steve Dance

Reality remains in the office

Working from home – the new normal or the new risk?

So, working from home is the new normal – right? We’ll never go to the office again – really?  The kitchen worktop or the chest of drawers in the spare bedroom makes for a great office – yes?  The kids screaming– isn’t an issue, the cat/dog pawing at your leg doesn’t intrude on your train of thought or interrupt the flow of the important client meeting on Zoom or Teams?  All is sweet then – carry on!

If you’re fortunate to have an office at home you may be spared some of these intrusions….  but note….. it’s an ‘office’.  For most, the home ‘office’ is a ‘make do’.  ‘Make do’s are either a pain or a novelty that eventually become a pain.  ‘Make do’ spaces are often a borrowed resource with such borrowing sometimes lasting only minutes.

The current crisis is sure to bring about some changes but, is going to the ‘real’ office a thing of the past?  For many reasons, we think it unlikely – although for sure, on the back of the novelty factor, the ‘we-can-work-from-home’ brigade , which range from those counting the pennies (believing it will save a fortune) to those with imaginations of a paradise, will strive to prove it is the new normal.

So why do we think the ‘real’ office is still here for a while longer……

Well for one, the majority of businesses are technically not ready.  Cyber criminals, though, are very ready!  The ‘real office’ may be well firewalled but, the likelihood of this extending to the home office, is small.  Wrapped within pages of GDPR legislation, businesses have many legal obligations for securing  data – especially that which is personal.  Aside the possibility of all company data being encrypted and ransoms demanded, those that flout the regulations can be heavily fined and Directors held accountable.    Home working – is it the new normal or is it the new  risk – a very big risk!

 

 

 

 

 

How confident are you that your business can survive the Covid-19 infection?

So, we are now faced with unprecedented circumstances. A global pandemic is affecting almost every aspect of our lives – including our businesses.

As a DR and BC recovery supplier DSM Group has been inundated with calls regarding anything from team splitting to working from home but is it too late to be considering this? Should your BC plan have been tested and operational by now?

Our advice would be it’s never too late and you certainly shouldn’t bury your head in the sand. You’re not alone. In our experience even those who have the most refined plans are finding themselves in unknown territory at this time.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Keep up to date with the advice from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
  2. Reduce none essential travel to business critical only.
  3. Consider splitting your team and working at an alternative site.
  4. Consider working from home where possible (this is not suitable for all businesses).
  5. Ensure effective communications with staff, clients and suppliers.
  6. Cross train employees, especially in essential functions.
  7. Begin creating or amending your Business Continuity Plan to include pandemic responsewhile always considering the 4 main points; Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery.

Developing a plan is not a fast or simple process but will pay dividends in the future. Once created it should be tested regularly. Allocate responsibility to keeping the plan up to date to key personnel.

Lastly, businesses should consider this an opportunity. While we cannot underestimate the impact this Pandemic can have on businesses, consideration of alternative revenue sources to ensure business survival is always positive.

If you need any help and guidance or would like to consider possible recovery options please feel free to contact us direct support@dsmgroup.co.uk

8 Steps to Business Continuity

The why and how of introducing a Business Continuity Management strategy

Business Continuity involves building resilience in your organisation by identifying its key products and services and the critical activities that underpin them, then devising strategies so that you can trade through a disruption and recover afterwards.
Most organisations recognise that they should have a Business Continuity plan in place but see it as too expensive and time consuming to address, however this doesn’t have to be the case.

The benefits of introducing continuity awareness within the company far outweigh the risks associated with just hoping bad things won’t happen (although statistically they will!). Companies are looking ever more carefully at their supply chain to identify potential weaknesses and are asking for evidence of a documented and tested strategy to prove service level agreements can be maintained in any event.

The biggest mistake is trying to do the whole process in one fell swoop which, if ever completed, is likely to be a huge document that is put on a shelf and ignored for a few years. By breaking the process down into simple manageable phases where you can tick off the “quick wins” and demonstrate progress you introduce a culture of ongoing review; it is vitally important to constantly update your recovery plans in line with business growth and operational changes.

Steps for Business Continuity Management:

  1. Carry out regular risk assessments and take steps to eliminate, or at least minimise, potential threats to the operation of your business.
  1. Consider possible scenarios and analyse their impact on your business – forewarned is forearmed.
  1. Compile an action plan of what should be done in order to maintain Business As Usual in any event. Put formal contracts in place which will enable fast recovery of vital operations.
  1. Document key business processes and ensure no critical activities can be done only by a single individual.
  1. Review the resilience of your suppliers and their capability to meet Service Level Agreements. Consider multiple sourcing to reduce reliance on a single supplier.
  1. Protect your company information and ensure it can be accessed or rapidly restored in any event without compromising on security.
  1. Carry out regular tests to prove you can continue to function should you lose access to your premises or vital services, or in the worst case, your entire business environment.
  1. Encourage all employees to get involved with the preparation and testing of Business Continuity plans so they buy in to the importance of keeping your business alive.

To discuss your Business Continuity strategy further please contact us.