Attainium Blog on Bsiness Continuity 

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Is NOW a good time to update your business continuity plan?

COVID-19 has been a decisive test of your business continuity plan, and it may still be challenging you today as the pandemic rages. So why would now be an optimal time to develop or revise your plan? For one thing, you likely learned a lot about what worked, what you might have done differently, and what definitely wasn't covered in your plan. For another, especially since we may face similar challenges over the next few months, you need to review your assumptions and decisions and identify any required changes. In reality, COVID-19 may not be the only crisis we face in the year or years ahead.

How Can a Tabletop Exercise Improve Your Business Continuity Plan?

Disasters come in a wide variety of forms including natural weather events, workplace violence, and cyberattacks. These situations often occur unexpectedly and come with heavy tolls for victims. In fact, more than 40 percent of organizations don't reopen after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A large part of this could be due to inadequate recovery strategies and prolonged downtime costs.

To avoid this situation, organizations are increasingly implementing business continuity plans to detail response and recovery processes to navigate and overcome emergencies. However, simply establishing a Business Continuity Plan might not be enough. A Tabletop Exercise can improve your planning in a number of ways:

Human Capital and Emergency Succession Planning

The pandemic certainly has changed things - work, home life, school, socializing, etc. - in ways we would never have imagined. We work at home, school at home, socialize over Zoom, have our groceries delivered, and take all the precautions needed to keep ourselves and our families safe. At present, there is no real end in sight to COVID-19 and no view into what “normal” might look like in the future because the situation changes all the time. It’s hard to know if anyone has figured out the real impact of the pandemic on our home and work lives. For this reason, business continuity planning takes on even more importance since poor planning can hurt our ability to continue day-to-day operations. 

Need a Business Continuity Consultant?

Many of the organizations that contact us about business continuity planning already have a BCP that (i) has no life yet, (ii) is on life support, or (iii) is not likely to survive. They desperately want help developing their plan and/or updating and maintaining it. Still often, they don’t know where to begin. Over the years, we have worked with many organizations and have developed some insight to help companies figure out what they need and who can best provide it. 

What assumptions will guide your continuity planning going forward?

It's clear we have to rethink our business continuity planning assumptions in light of the pandemic, think beyond hurricanes, fires, cyber-attacks, and others, and figure out what else might challenge our resilience in the future. For one thing, I'll bet none of us assumed we needed to include preparations for a pandemic that would keep us all at home for weeks, nor did we choose a pandemic for one of our testing scenarios, even though H1N1 and SARS both occurred not too long ago.

Ready or Not: Hurricane Season Meets Pandemic and Protests

One can't help but think about the ongoing pandemic with its threat of a second surge, the coming hurricane season, and, in many areas, the recent protests. All of these have damaged, or have the potential to damage, or at the very least disrupt, business operations and cause a great deal of stress. It’s not a zombie apocalypse, but it might be close, depending on how the months ahead play out. 

Cancel, Postpone, or Go Virtual? How are you handling the pandemic meetings challenge?

Who knows when face-to-face meetings will again be possible? There are some large face-to-face meetings now being held in China and other Asia Pacific nations, but only under extremely strict guidelines and sanitary procedures. That also could be the case in the US, but nobody knows when the "all clear" might sound. We do have to start planning for such meetings in case they can happen, but we also have to decide what to do if they don't. 

Returning to Work after COVID-19: What to Know and Do

Reopening businesses and getting back to a more normal work situation will be different for everyone. The first thing is to realize that nobody will be returning to things the way they were. "Normal" will not be what we are used to. There are many things that will need to be done before you can welcome employees to the workplace again - and before they will feel comfortable returning to the workplace after this pandemic.