November 16, 2012

Expect the unexpected: Implementing a business continuity plan

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Mark Madar, Director of Risk Management and Quality Assurance at CBIZ Risk & Advisory Services. Mark can be reached at RASinfo@cbiz.com or www.cbiz.com/ras.

Hurricane Sandy is a reminder that businesses can face long-term interruptions because of catastrophes and other events beyond their control. Weeks after the storm hit many business still report not having power or other infrastructure needed to fully operate. (Note: Our NYC office has offered help and support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy -- please reach out if this describes your situation).

In order to handle issues created by emergencies, businesses need to proactively develop what’s known as a business continuity plan. A business continuity plan is a coordinated strategy involving plans and procedures that assures clients that a business has the ability to continually meet their needs following an unplanned business disruption.

Unfortunately, most businesses don’t think about continuity planning until they face a major interruption. Effective risk management requires a business or individual to plan for a future event that may never occur. Therefore, it’s often easier to delay the plan and address it another time.

The first hurdle to starting a business continuity plan is simply beginning the process of evaluating risk in the event of loss of people, facility, technology, and services. We've narrowed the implementation process to six primary steps as outlined in the graphic below.
We encourage you to start identifying potential threats to your organization and how they may impact your business operations. This can help determine the necessary steps to ensure continued survival and prosperity before, during, and after an emergency.

If you would like more information on business continuity planning, please join a webinar I am co-hosting at 2 p.m. ET on Wed., Nov. 28. You can register here.

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