How to review your business continuity plan

Getting your business continuity planning right can be challenging, particularly if your business changes regularly. Many SMEs find it hard enough to establish a working plan, let alone give time to review or test it. But, if your business is part of a supply chain or in a regulated industry, it’s more important than ever to know that your business continuity plan is as watertight as it can be. As we move forward into 2020, here’s how – and how often – to review your plans:

Deciding factors

How often you schedule in a business continuity review will depend on:

  • The size of your business – larger businesses inevitably have more complex plans, involving more sites, systems and employees. The good news for small businesses is that means they need less frequent review.
  • The type of business – the work you do dictates the need for regular reviewing. For instance, if you’re working in a complex supply chain, or are spread out across borders, you probably need more frequent business continuity management. The greater the risk, the more time you’ll need to devote to keeping your plans relevant.
  • The business continuity systems you already have in place – dedicated business continuity resources (like ‘crisis’ apps) are usually reserved for big enterprises. But again, the bigger the risk and the more complex your working setup, the more often you should review business continuity.

Creating a review schedule

Bearing all the above in mind, it’s time to come up with some calendar entries for reviewing your business continuity planning. As a rule of thumb, we recommend working through a checklist at least twice a year, ticking off that your objectives are still being met. Once a year, we’d also suggest having some sort of emergency drill to test out whether your staff and suppliers know what to do before, during and after a crisis situation. It should essentially check whether you’re communicating your business continuity plan well enough to those who need to know it.

Every other year, you should also consider a more in-depth review. Get everyone round the table – the key people who enact or agree your business continuity plans – and do a verbal walk-through of your plan. It shouldn’t take too much time out of everyone’s day, but can be seriously useful in highlighting fundamental flaws, gaps, inconsistencies or outdated information. You should also take some time to update your plan with any changes to company structure, business, location or operational processes.

All these measures might mean asking key staff to take time out of their busy workloads, but a few hours of thought could prevent a serious headache if your business is ever the victim of a disaster scenario in reality. It could save your business money and reputation – well worth the investment in the here and now.

We’ve been working with London’s small businesses for over a decade, helping them to get their security, disaster recovery and business continuity planning right. We can help make this process as painless and effective as possible, as well as doing a thorough review of your plans and systems to make sure you’ve got the right mix for your business. Contact us to find out more about business continuity planning.

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