By Jennifer Goetz
From April 24-26, business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) professionals gathered in Minneapolis for the 21st Annual Continuity Insights Management Conference to learn about how to ensure their organization’s operational resilience. At this successful show, seasoned professionals exchanged ideas, actively engaged with speakers, and made valuable new connections.
Now, facility executives and managers have to consider safety, security, risk management, emergency preparedness, succession planning—all areas that fall under business continuity or organization resilience. Businesses were tested during the pandemic, and now the need to think outside the box and plan for worst-case scenarios can no longer be ignored. Taking business continuity into account will be critical to ensure your building or buildings future success.
To learn more about how to effectively plan for business continuity, here are noteworthy takeaways for facility management professionals from Continuity Insights 2023.
Assume A Threat To Business Continuity Will Happen
Now is a perfect time to consider your businesses vulnerabilities. Take a look at the most recent bank failure. First Republic took on too much risk, and regulators didn’t catch on until the bank had to default and be bought-out by JP Morgan Chase.
Whatever industry you may be in, know your risks and your vulnerabilities and have a plan. Keep it up to date. Run exercises that get your entire company involved, from top leadership to your newest hires.
Vendors are also an important consideration—if they go down, how will that impact your business? Ask if they have a business continuity plan; if their product plays a critical role in your business operations, you need to know.
Prioritizing People And The Process Vs. Technology
Yes, technology is important. Having the right technology in place can set up your business for success. But at the heart of the matter—it’s about people and processes first. That’s how you’re going to ensure your building is set up for success. As Mary Herbst of the YMCA of the North put it during her session, “Do your people know what they’re supposed to do in a crisis? Have they been tested?”
At face value, business continuity is all-encompassing. It falls under many umbrellas: safety and security, supply chain management, human resources, communications, etc. Companies today cannot afford to breeze over risk management, and business continuity professionals need to ensure that everyone is engaged in the discussion, and not complacent with processes.
Having A Supportive Network Is Key
Conferences like this one allow professionals to get new ideas, and return to work with a renewed focus. Insight from others allows you to see how other facility executives may have handled situations with their business continuity teams, or how they’re preparing for the potential.
Something as simple as running fake phishing emails to test employees on whether or not they could recognize them, and then putting employees in a $50 raffle if they were able to avoid clicking on any “bad” emails is a great way to get employees excited and interested in business continuity. Hearing about one company’s experience being hacked and how they managed to recover after the situation will help facility executives consider what moves they would make in the same situation. Would you make the decision to shut down operations completely instead of operating at a limited capacity? In a business continuity plan, you can face this question before having to answer it during the stress of a real-life crisis.
One thing is for certain: the myriad of threats businesses face will not go away anytime soon—from continued active shooter threats to the new frontier of AI. It’s up to facility executives and their business continuity teams to stay alert and monitor for potential threats as they come. Standards and practices are too often reactionary in nature—and won’t be able to shield you from future threats.
To continue learning about ways to protect your business and ensure its continued success, visit next year’s Continuity Insights Management Conference on May-6-8, 2024 at the Sheraton Hotel in Charlotte NC.
Read the full article "Continuity Insights 2023: The Urgent Need For Business Continuity Plans" on Facility Executive Magazine.