Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Natural Disaster Preparedness Essentials for Record Information Management
Do you have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place for your company?
If you have any doubts or believe you merely need to give your BCP a fast once-over to ensure it is up to date, now is the time to do so. As we have seen over the past few years, La Niña and El Niño has been exhibiting an increasing degree of above-normal weather activity across Australia. Emergencies frequently bring to light weaknesses in an organization’s capacity to operate under pressure.
Here are some things to consider if you have not given your BCP any thought recently. We will examine the fundamentals of a BCP, including what it is, why it is significant, how information governance underpins the procedure, and some particulars of storm preparedness.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is what, exactly?
A business continuity plan, or BCP, outlines the procedures your company should follow in the event of an emergency or natural disaster like a bushfire or storm. It includes backup plans for your organization’s technology, business procedures, human resources, and other resources.
You should think about natural disaster preparations and make as much preparation in advance as you can because catastrophic situations can result in harm, downtime, lost income, and earnings. In fact, companies (particularly SMBs) that are unable to bounce back fast after such an incident run the danger of losing clients to other organisations. It’s crucial to have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place if you want to avoid experiencing this.
The Importance of Natural Disaster Preparedness
Obviously, any sort of disaster should be covered by your business continuity plan, but for the purposes of this piece, let’s concentrate on natural disaster preparedness.
According to IBISWorld, costs of natural disasters soar to over $5 billion in 2022. Large businesses are not immune to harm. If a bushfire or storm strikes your local offices that store physical records where staff members routinely need to access, you may quickly find yourself in an unpleasant situation.
Let’s first discuss company continuity in general before we get into setting up your records program for your natural disaster preparedness plan.
Building blocks of BCP
According to IBM, business continuity planning (BCP) is “a document that describes how a company will carry on in the event of an unanticipated interruption in service “. BCP plans need to include people, processes, and technology in great detail. Here are five different perspectives you may use to make sure your foundation is strong.
Rules and Regulations
The BCP’s skeleton is undoubtedly made up of policies and procedures, but what’s more crucial is that they are documented. Institutional knowledge is one thing, but putting the strategy in writing is essential so that it may be adjusted over time to match the changing needs of the company now and in the future.
Monitoring and Assistance
The most frequent mistake is this step. No ongoing program should miss this step. Once the plan is in place, you must continuously check for compliance and spot any holes.
Information Systems and Technology
Technology investment is yet another crucial area of focus. Making sure IT and records management work closely together and have geographically redundant contingency planning is crucial.
Communication and Instruction
Training for business continuity is ongoing. Everyone should receive initial training, followed by additional case studies and drills. Make sure your staff is informed of any changes and understands what has changed and why.
Information governance is closely tied to a business’ ability to survive in the event of a disaster; in fact, we’ll talk about it more below.
Planning for business continuity and information governance
It’s crucial to have a robust information governance program in place before developing a business continuity strategy.
Because of this, you must be aware of the following in order to ensure that your information is safe but still accessible in an emergency:
- What records you have
- Where it is kept
- How it is stored
- How to retrieve it
- Who has access
A sound information governance program would cover all of these topics.
We advise you to start with our previous reading, What is Information Governance and Why Does It Matter, if you want to ensure the sustainability of your information governance program.
What Natural Disaster Preparedness Steps Should Your Business Take?
Most states have excellent resources for constructing a comprehensive BCP that safeguards your personnel, locations, and organisation from natural disasters if you are starting from scratch and have no plan in place. See resources below:
- Business continuity plan – Business Victoria
- Build a Business Continuity Plan – NSW Government
- Business continuity planning – Business Queensland
One point in particular needs to be addressed in your BCP when it comes to handling your records: How can we guarantee that our records and important information are available to the appropriate people at the right time, from anywhere?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many firms discovered the hard way that paper is not always available, especially in more hybrid workplaces. Access to information must be made available to everyone who need it inside an organisation. A sensible first step in records management for natural disaster preparedness is to convert active files to digital formats.
Keep in mind that careful recordkeeping and information management exist to minimise interruption and maintain a transparent information flow. These are things that we can influence.