Most common misconceptions about business continuity

With the recent number of major disruptions like COVID-19, businesses are starting to become more aware of the need for business continuity. But at the same time, there are also several misconceptions about business continuity that keep many of these businesses from initiating and enacting a business continuity plan, or from implementing an effective one. When pitching business continuity to executive management, it can also be difficult to rally support when these misconceptions are present.

 

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about business continuity that could get in your way.

 

“We’ve been fine so far. We can continue to just wing it.”

Although this may be true so far for your business, that doesn’t mean that you should continue on without business continuity. It just means your business has been lucky. This is similar to driving a car without insurance. Sure, you may have been fine driving all this time without insurance, but you’ve just been lucky enough to not have had a wreck.

COVID-19 has shown the importance of business continuity. Without a clear idea of the potential risks that could disrupt your business, and a way to combat them, you’re leaving the safety and longevity of your business to chance. Risks can come up in many shapes: natural disasters, cyberattacks, and more. With so many potential risks, it’s important to know what you’re up against and have a plan to survive the situation while still operating smoothly.

 

“We’re too busy to take time out to create a business continuity plan.”

Rather than viewing the creation of a business continuity plan as something separate from operations, think of it is an integral part of operations. Without a business continuity plan in place, any number of risks and disasters can severely impact the business, potentially stopping operations. And if business operations stop, pause, or slow down, that means your business is less profitable and may need to be closed for good.

 

An investment in business continuity is an investment in the longevity of your company. You can also break the creation of your plan down into manageable steps that your team can take over a period of time to make the time commitment more manageable.

 

“Our employees already know what to do in an emergency.”

There are multiple red flags with this statement that are important to address individually.

Emergency situations bring chaos that often can’t be replicated during a drill or test. Even some of the smartest individuals freeze during an emergency event. That’s why it’s important to have a repeatable, documented process that gives each person a specific set of actions to take in the event of an emergency.

 

There are a series of emergency events that could occur. For that reason, it’s important that your employees are prepared to handle a spectrum of issues—not just a fire or a tornado. Do your people know what to do in the event of a cyberattack? What about civil emergencies like a riot? Or a pipe bursting and flooding the technology/control room?

It’s not enough to prepare for the most likely scenarios (ask the majority of businesses that weren’t prepared for COVID-19). You also want to ensure that all of these processes are documented for easy and fast reference should an event occur—don’t rely on the notoriously flawed memory of people.

 

“Our business is strong enough to withstand a disaster.”

Many businesses believe that because their financials are strong, they have a strong team, and they are in a stable industry that they won’t be affected by a disaster. But the data says otherwise.

 

Twenty-five percent of businesses permanently shut down after a major event. Even a compilation of minor events can create a major event that gets out of control and causes significant damage to the business.

 

It’s important not to leave business continuity to a “feeling” or anything subjective. Having a business continuity plan also provides you with metrics your team can monitor to ensure the business is on track and to detect when a shift may need to be made to prevent impact from an event. By bringing in a process and data, you will strengthen your business’s response system for disruptive and disastrous events and ensure that you can keep running—even after the event is over.

 

Even with the clear importance and value of business continuity, Travelers Insurance reported in 2012 that forty-eight percent of business owners stated that they do not have a continuity plan in place.

Start putting your plan in place before the next disaster disrupts your business.

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