Business continuity planning can help make sure your company continues to operate successfully should disaster strike, whether that’s a fire, flood or cyber attack.
There’s a lot to think about when forming a plan, as we’ve explained in our blog, How to create a business continuity plan. But how much does putting one together actually cost? We explain the key costing factors to bear in mind.
When first thinking about costs for your business continuity plan, it’s worth mentioning that they can vary from business to business. This isn’t necessarily to do with size and it’s not necessarily the case that the bigger the business, the more the plan might cost. It’s more do with your type of business and the equipment you use.
For instance, a manufacturer that relies on expensive machinery is likely to have a costlier business continuity plan than an office-based accountancy company, which just relies mostly on computers.
Who you choose to develop your business continuity plan can have an impact on cost, and this should be considered when determining the development of the plan. For example, using staff in your company, who have to be taken out of their daily paid working roles, can impact costs.
A business continuity plan isn’t something you should do on your own, if your business has the resources that can help you. It’s important to have a business continuity team who can meet with you to discuss and finalise the plan. These could be key staff from across your company, who are crucial to your business’s operation, such as the finance and sales manager.
The time needed to put your business continuity plan together can also affect cost – hours that would otherwise be spend focusing on the day-to-day running of your business. This includes the time to research contingency resources, such as equipment and a suitable location from which to continue running your business. It also includes hours spent collating and copying all key information, such as HR documents, contracts and legal papers, tax returns and utility bills.
There is also the time spent meeting with your business continuity team, as well as time allocated for training those staff. This can be necessary for more complex plans, such as those for companies dealing with hazardous chemicals.
Time spent reviewing your plan can also affect costs. It’s a good idea to review it annually, or when any significant changes are made to your business. This could be when a new service, team or department is introduced into the company.
Equipment and documents are other areas that can add to business continuity planning costs, depending on your company. If you rely on IT communications and the web to run your company, for instance, it might be wise to invest in backup servers and remote devices, so your company is prepared in the event of a disaster. This includes laptops, tablets and smartphones. FSB offers specific cyber protection advice.
You might also decide to invest in a storage facility where key documents and confidential company information can be held to keep it safe and protected outside your business. This could be useful if you’re an accountancy company or financial adviser, for example.
Paying for expertise outside of your business, to help you put your business continuity plan together, will affect costs. This could be a professional who can help you make key decisionsor carry out some of the practical technical work involved.
For instance, you might want to speak to a disaster recovery specialist to streamline the structure of your plan, or choose to use an IT solutions provider to safely back up your company server. You could also use an accountant or solicitor to discuss the plan in line with legal matters, your business finances or insurance.
It can be difficult to predict when many disasters – a fire, flood, biological hazard or malicious internet attack – will strike. These types of incidents could disrupt or end your business. The question is, is it really worth the risk not being prepared should one occur?
When considering whether or not it’s worth investing in a business continuity plan, it’s a good idea to calculate the revenue your business could lose if its operation goes down. For instance, one week or one month of downtime, compared with just hours or days if you had a business continuity plan in place.
It’s worth mentioning that your business might have already done some of the legwork involved in putting together a business continuity plan, which can save on costs. An IT firm should have its key computer files backed up, while some business insurance companies request you have made certain decisions, regarding your business contingency, before providing you with cover.
But, all this aside, you can’t really put a price on your own business and what it means to you. When it comes to business continuity planning, the costliest approach can be not having a plan in place at all.
With our expert services in business continuity, we can help make sure you’re prepared should the worst happen. The service, which we offer to all our FSB members, includes:
To find out more about this service and how we can help you and your company, please visit our FSB Business Continuity page or speak to a member of our dedicated team.