Nobody hopes for a business catastrophe, but the best entrepreneurs will plan for one.
Whether it’s flooding after a natural disaster which damages stock and premises, or a server outage which prevents online orders, “unforeseen circumstances” can wreak a wide scope of havoc on your business.
How long could your business survive if your everyday business processes were disrupted?
That’s the point of an Incident Response Plan (IRP), which details your primary business functions, and lists the impact that disruption to this function would have on your service and finances after certain intervals of time.
You should list what resources would be required to reduce each potential threat, and cope with the problem – Extra staff? New suppliers? Relocation? What files and data would you need to take with you?
The IRP should also detail the names, roles and contact details of your Incident Response Team (IRT).
In the event of a problem, the Incident Response Team will be in charge of deploying this plan.
So who should be on that team?
Incident Response Manager – Someone needs to be in charge of overseeing the detection, containment and analysis of any incident. They should be the first person contacted on the scene.
Deputy Manager – On the topic of preparing for the worst, assume your IRM can’t be contacted. Assign a deputy manager to provide assistance and step in if needed.
Public Relations expert – Larger businesses in particular may benefit from involving a communications expert, who will ensure a consistent message is communicated to team leaders, stakeholders and the press, while managing any reputational damage.
Cross-functional support – The skills you are likely to need vary depending on the main function of your business, and the sector in which you operate. For example, some industries are more at risk of a physical problem, such as machinery malfunction, while organisations which work with vulnerable people may worry more about human error, and businesses which primarily operate online will be more vulnerable to cyber attacks or security breaches.
Make sure key areas of your business are represented. For example, manufacturers should have a voice from the factory floor, who has technical knowledge of the equipment being used and any limitations or factors which might hinder a relocation plan.
Think about the most likely threats to your business in particular – are you likely to need an IT analyst, or a Human Resources manager?
Commercial Insurance is there to provide peace of mind if your business is interrupted. Make sure you have the correct arrangements in place, with a consultation from Edwards Insurance Brokers.