Business continuity planning: Are you ready?

It’s hard to predict what could go wrong when disaster strikes. Whether you’re dealing with a natural disaster, human-caused hazard, technology disruption or health emergency, an effective business continuity plan could help you respond quickly. Without a plan, the magnitude of what can go wrong could be overwhelming, and your business could be at risk. (Video: Ready.gov business continuity suite.)

WHAT IS A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN?

A business continuity plan is a process for creating systems of prevention and recovery to address potential threats to a company. In addition to risk prevention, the goal is to enable ongoing operations and get the business back up and running quickly.

Without a plan, a business could suffer:

  • Diminished reputation
  • Financial loss
  • Decreased stability
  • Potential closure

These risks exclude any potential liability costs – which could be significant.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 25% of businesses do not open again after a disaster. The SBA urges business owners to identify risks relevant to their locations and develop plans to address them.

HOW CAN BUSINESSES PREPARE FOR DISASTERS?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes tools and checklists for business impact analysis and business continuity planning on its website at Ready.gov.

The agency encourages businesses to consider the risks from a variety of disruptions:

  • Physical damage to buildings
  • Damage to or breakdown of machinery, systems or equipment
  • Restricted access to a site or building
  • Interruption of the supply chain including failure of a supplier or disruption of transportation of goods from the supplier
  • Utility outage (for example, electrical power or natural gas supply)
  • Damage to, loss or corruption of information technology including voice and data communications, servers, computers, operating systems, applications and data
  • Absence of essential employees
WHERE CAN CINCINNATI INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS LOOK FOR HELP?

To help businesses with their business continuity risks, Cincinnati‘s loss control specialists — Associate Business Continuity Planners — provide consulting services on business continuity planning.

Services included at no cost with a commercial liability policy:

  • Review of existing business continuity plans
  • Consultation on plan development and other resources
  • Gap analysis and business impact reviews
  • Guidelines on supply chain issues

Please contact your agent, who will put you in touch with a local loss control consultant.

This loss control information is advisory only. The authors assume no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

 

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