The threat of a virus outbreak and other reasons to review your business continuity plan

Blogs 3 Mar 2020

Learn what, when and who can impact on the daily operation of your business and when to review your business continuity plan


Why should you review your business continuity plan?

Like various processes you should carry out in your business, such as risk assessments and your health and safety policy, it’s important to review your business continuity plan to make sure it is up to date, reliable and will work.

Risks to your business can change as it, your industry and the environment you operate in changes. This could be as a result of:

  • New factories built near to your company, posing risks like biological hazards and gas leaks
  • Local canals or rivers becoming more prone to flooding
  • An epidemic illness spreading across the region of your company
  • A pandemic illness spreading
  • Your business dealing with hazardous chemicals, like flammable liquids
  • A new computer virus, or global cyber threat, which starts to affect national businesses

Key times to review your plan

When it comes to reviewing your business continuity plan, the key times to do so are when key changes occur in your company or in the wider community – for example if, in the case of a threat from virus or terrorism the Government issues a new warning. Following these changes or changes to your company’s operation and people who are key to your business you will probably need to add new and important information to the plan.

Changes to your company operation

This may include:

  • When you have relocated, built a new office or acquired a new site, which contains new equipment, resources, or data
  • When you start to provide new products or services
  • When priority levels in your business change. For instance, a marketing agency that starts to focus on digital work rather than print.
  • When you use new equipment, upgrade your technology, or change your production processes

Changes to people in your business

This may include:

  • When you change key staff that your business can’t function without. This could include senior employees who lead your sales team or manage your company accountancy
  • When you appoint staff to manage a new site
  • When responsibilities of your staff change, such as junior employees being promoted to key senior roles
  • When you change your suppliers or extend your list of key external contacts
  • When key staff may need to work remotely on a temporary, permanent or flexible basis

Other times to review your business continuity plan

You should aim to review your plan at least once a year, or every six months, if possible. Setting time aside to do this can help you identify new risks. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and keep a date in your diary, so you’re prepared for when the time comes around to conduct your review.

You should also review your business continuity plan if processes in the plan, itself, change. For instance, the emergency site you plan to work from and recover your business is no longer accessible. Or a key member of your business continuity planning team leaves your company.

Things to do after each review

Once reviewed and updated, you should redistribute your plan to the key people in your company and make sure it’s given to those employees in your business continuity planning team. You should also make them aware of the changes you’ve made, so they’re prepared for when the plan has to be put into action.

You should save your updated plan in a secure location and make sure people in your business continuity team know where it is located. You should also discard any outdated versions of the plan you’ve saved.

FSB Insurance Service can help members with free templates and guidance on business continuity planning. Make it specific to a potential coronavirus-related situation – some of the issues you may need to think about are supply chains, employees, cashflow, travel, broadband speeds from different locations.

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