(Originally published in the May 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - "Emergency Preparedness Week" special advertising feature)
Have you ever wondered what your business would do in the event of a disaster or emergency?
In this age of climate change, political uncertainty, globalization, compromised food and water sources and pandemics, having a business continuity management (BCM) plan is key.
A BCM program consists of the following stages:
• Getting the necessary management, human, and financial support
• Understanding what your organization does and its urgently required services
• Developing and implementing mitigation strategies to protect your organization
• Building response plans to resume urgently required services
• Enacting plan maintenance, exercise, and auditing processes
• Creating an organization-wide culture of business continuity management
Below are some of the questions to consider when quantifying the resources your organization will need to maintain its critical activities:
• What is the optimum number of staff your organization requires to carry out its critical activities?
• What is the minimum staffing level with which it could provide some sort of service?
• What skills/level of expertise is required to undertake these activities?
• Where are your organization’s critical activities conducted?
• What alternative premises do you have?
• What plants, machinery, and other facilities are essential to carry out your critical activities?
• What information technology (IT) is essential to carry out your organization’s critical activities?
• What systems and means of voice and data communication are required to carry out critical activities?
• What information is essential to carry out your organization’s critical activities?
• How is this information stored?
SUPPLIERS AND PARTNERS
• Who are the priority suppliers or partners you depend on when carrying out your critical activities?
• Do you tender out key services to another organization? What services? To which organization?
• Do you have any reciprocal arrangements with other organizations?
Courtesy of the Emergency Management Office of Nova Scotia. For further information, check out: http://emo.gov.ns.ca
Embedding BCM in your organizational culture
Successful business continuity management (BCM) must become part of the culture of your organization. This can be achieved by developing awareness inside your organization and beyond.
Staff and critical stakeholders should know why BCM is important to your organization, should be familiar with the plan, and should have a clear understanding of their roles.
Mechanisms for raising awareness include:
• involving staff in the development of your organization’s strategy
• giving written and oral briefings
• learning from internal and external incidents
• conducting discussion-based exercises
New staff should be made aware of the organization’s BCM arrangements and BCM should form an integral part of your process for inducting staff.
Source: EMO Nova Scotia