What Is Business Continuity and Why Is It Important?
A crisis can come from anywhere. A natural disaster, a cyberattack, a temporary disability and/or loss of a senior management member or a pandemic can cause a major upheaval to business operations.
For the security industry, the responsibilities during a time of disruption are often expanded and made more complex. Response plans become critical every minute and in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed how a company’s ability to manoeuvre spells the difference between sinking and swimming. It is therefore important in situations like these to have plans in place to ensure that your staff and operations can keep moving even in times of uncertainty.
Putting together viable strategies to mitigate the risks from unexpected events is at the core of business continuity management. In this article, we explore how security companies can rethink operations and develop a business continuity plan to better navigate any crisis.
Business continuity at a glance
The success of any business continuity plan hinges largely on a company’s ability to identify potential threats and plan pre-crisis. During a risk assessment, all possible scenarios that can disrupt operations, assets, vendors, data, and people are laid on the table.
Aside from common emergencies and site-related risks, it is advised to also consider external circumstances such as political instability and supply chain disruptions. What is vital in the assessment stage is recognising what your security company can control in any given situation so you can proceed to the next step, which is assessing the impact and response required.
Business impact analysis
During a disruption, a business can be affected in several ways‒ mainly financial loss, production delays, or reputational damage. Thus, a business impact analysis involves determining the processes and dependencies which will be affected by an event, quantifying the potential losses and indicating recovery objectives based on maximum tolerable downtime or data loss.
Once the initial information is identified and measured, your management team would then be able to classify these potential impacts based on the priority of response. Having a visual guide, like a chart, is helpful to prompt your response team to initiate the corresponding disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery plan
A good disaster recovery plan has to consider the following elements: your geographic location, the nature of your business, legal or regulatory frameworks, service level agreements, resource availability, and maximum recovery timeframe.
The intention is to have a predetermined set of actions to get your most critical systems up and running following a disaster. Ideally, your security company should have the capability to run multiple instances of services automatically as compared to manually activating each process, protocol or service.
Crisis management strategy
Having a crisis management strategy eases the way disaster response is rolled out in an organisation, especially during the critical 24-48 hours following a disaster. An equally important aspect of this strategy is a communication plan to ensure effective and timely delivery of strategic messages to employees, vendors, suppliers, clients, and other stakeholders. The point is to be able to expedite notification alerts to employees and reassure your clients and the general public while recovery and response efforts are still underway.
To ensure that your business continuity plan is comprehensive, test this out periodically to know whether the procedures are clear and actionable enough for your managers and supervisors to follow. Conducting tests or simulations allows you to validate whether the recovery time objectives are attainable. It is better to find gaps during the testing phase rather than be found lacking during an actual disaster.
Why you should not overlook a business continuity plan
Security companies are vital in times of crisis as security services are often called to be part of the response. Companies look up to you for best-case response scenarios so having your own business continuity plan increases your credibility and confidence to help more communities affected by the situation.
Meanwhile, the costs and consequences of disruption to many businesses worldwide are growing. We see climate change impacts ‒ the effect of extreme weather conditions upon infrastructure, raw materials and people’s lives ‒ causing the world’s biggest companies a staggering loss of $1 trillion USD.
While the frequency and magnitude of business disruption are rapidly evolving, our approach to address these threats has to evolve as well. Becoming a disaster-resilient security company entails an openness to adapt to new and innovative approaches to allow you to swiftly resume normal operations.
Sophisticated threats require a heightened level of vigilance and alertness. Having a commercial security system can reinforce your security measures and mitigation plans using CCTV surveillance and data reporting technology which is always on the move and constantly monitoring.
Top considerations when developing a business continuity plan
In today’s interconnected world, security companies should not underestimate how bad news can travel fast, especially when reporting suspended operations, temporary closures or breach of privacy issues. While speed and agility to respond are key, there are some crucial elements to consider to ensure efficient disaster recovery.
- Form a crisis management team
- Craft your messaging strategy
- Invest in the right technology
- When forming your crisis management team, seek the trust and guidance of key operational leaders in choosing a strategic mix of team members who can enforce decisions, provide expertise , design and coordinate, and get the right message across. With your new team, set key performance indicators and clear accountabilities. For instance, indicate the time and person/s responsible for completing a damage assessment or sending out a public statement.
- Your public reaction during a crisis will likely define your success. Hence, a messaging strategy is central in setting the tone you’ll use as a company. Set guidelines and a process of communicating updates both internally or externally so that your intended listeners can clearly grasp what is known, your planned and ongoing response, and what to expect next.
- Invest in the right technology to mitigate the crisis. For security companies, cloud-based smart security management solutions are essential to protect and store large volumes of critical data. Security Risk’s SRM-Portal acts as your 24/7 Control Room, providing you ease in tracking and authorising access rights to retrieve and relay information especially when relocation or remote setup is required. While companies tend to overlook sensitive data handling, having smart security management solutions in place provides the assurance that your firm is guarded against manual data tampering or inaccurate reporting as you tackle other tasks of recovery planning on your plate.
Is this a time for new opportunities?
Not every crisis is the same. The most successful organisations are resilient enough to take on new business opportunities or step up in providing authentic solutions to win public trust.
As security companies are called as first responders during times of crises, it is crucial to walk the talk by having a business continuity in place and serve as a reassuring force when demonstrating the value of preparedness and contingency planning.
Having a business continuity plan is part of a strategy to provide more value in the long term, not just during a pandemic.
Take steps to future-proof your business today. Learn how Security Risk’s smart security management solutions can bolster your business continuity plan and be better prepared for what’s next.