Determining if your business continuity plan needs updating

Business continuity management refers to making plans to mitigate and respond to disruptive incidents such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, data loss, financial downturn, and market shifts. It involves identifying potential threats that might impact core business operations and designing the appropriate counteractive solutions.

Every business, big or small, should have a continuity strategy. A BCP (business continuity plan) is a sort of business insurance — a safety net for minimizing damage during an emergency. According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster. So, a continuity plan not only cushions your company from the brunt of a crisis but also reinforces resilience.

Drafting a continuity strategy is one thing. But for the plan to remain relevant and useful, it has to be regularly revised and updated. Business continuity planning is not a one-off task but rather a continuous process. Several volatile factors about every business and its environment require entrepreneurs to reconfigure their disaster preparedness systems frequently.

Here are a few pointers on when and why you should update your continuity plan.

When experiencing business growth

Business growth can mean different things, depending on the enterprise model. But it comes down to any progress that improves measures of success. In some cases, business growth is indicated by a boosted bottom line, facilities and systems expansions, and a thriving customer base.

Growth is a good thing, but it often introduces new logistical and security challenges. For instance, an expanding enterprise means you may have to process a larger volume of data. In such a case, you will need to readjust your IT systems to handle the extra load.

After that, you have to update your business continuity plan to establish more robust data protection, backup, and recovery measures. Setting up an off-site automated backup system provides an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks, data loss incidents, and natural disasters.

When coping with emerging vulnerabilities

Cybercrime and data loss topped a recently compiled list of the 10 most devastating threats today. More and more businesses fall victim to sophisticated cyberattacks such as phishing and ransomware, incurring untold losses. And that’s not all — modern businesses are also highly susceptible to social, political, and economic turmoils.

It is crucial to frequently run thorough risk assessments to identify unknown vulnerabilities before they become a problem. Once you have spotted new threats, you must then update your preparedness and response strategy.

When adapting to changing business landscapes

Change is inevitable. Popular culture, world issues, and key developments such as pandemics, environmental sustainability, and emerging tech greatly influence market preferences. Most enterprises respond promptly to shifting landscapes by adjusting their deliverables and business operations.

Regularly updating your business continuity plan puts you in a better position to predict disruptive trends and prepare well in advance. For instance, automated backups can effectively protect your data from easily foreseeable risks.

Develop a continuity review schedule

When did you last test or update your continuity plan? If it’s been a few years since you did so, or you can’t even remember, your continuity strategy is in dire need of a remodel.

Ensure that you review and upgrade your BCP at least every six months. Identify and analyze all the critical functions and determine their dependencies and vulnerabilities. Then come up with practical new approaches to safeguard your business from various threats. Ingrain continuity checking and revamping in the organization’s culture and make it part of your decision-making process.

Regularly reviewing your business continuity plan ensures that your company stays up to date with current security measures and is adequately prepared for any disaster. A robust BCP that includes reliable data backup and recovery measures and other proactive cybersecurity systems gives you peace of mind knowing that your most valuable digital assets are safe.