How to create a business continuity framework

A business continuity framework sets out guidance for how your company will respond to disruption, whether it’s a natural disaster, a global pandemic like COVID-19, or a cyberattack. It’s a tool you can use to keep your business moving during challenging times, and it’s something that no SMB should be without — here’s why. 

Why you need a business continuity framework

No matter which sector you operate in, or how big your company is, there are two main reasons you’ll benefit from a business continuity framework

Enhanced cyber protection

Around 39% of small businesses don’t have a plan for handling cyberattacks, data breaches, or other IT interruptions. However, a simple framework helps you secure your essential systems, protect your infrastructure, and reduce the impact of a cyberattack on your organization. 

Reduced costs

Every hour of downtime costs small businesses up to $10,000 in lost profits. With a business continuity framework, you can get your company up and running again in the shortest possible time. 

Efficiency is a key way to reduce the costs associated with downtime.

Your framework: what to include

Although every company is different, there are a few key elements that every business continuity framework should have. 

Threat analysis assessment

Assess the threats facing your business and rank them in order of priority.

Crisis management strategy

Designate emergency contacts and set up a crisis management team to field questions from employees and managers.

Backup strategy 

Plan for backing up key data at regular intervals and establish secure storage practices that meet your compliance requirements.

Alternative communications

Establish how employees will communicate with their colleagues, managers, and clients if they’re all working off-site. 

Cybersecurity planning

Identify how to keep key data safe, whether it’s on portable devices or stored in the cloud. 

Recovery details

Consider how you’ll get your business back to normal. Assess any reinstatement costs and plan for transitioning back to regular office work.

Creating a business continuity framework

We recommend that you get help from IT specialists before drafting a continuity plan, but to help you get started, here are the key steps to drafting your own business continuity framework.

Identify your business priorities

Since every company is unique, it’s crucial that you identify your specific operational priorities and establish how you’ll keep key processes running in times of crisis. 

Understand dependencies

Consider how different teams work together within your organization, and assess what impact downtime in one department could have across the company. 

Test your continuity plan 

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to test your business continuity strategy — test your framework at the earliest opportunity and address problems as they arise.

Consider training needs

Assess whether your executive staff or other employees could benefit from additional IT training. Always ensure every employee knows who to ask for help with continuity concerns.

Audit your framework regularly

Just as your company evolves over time, so should your continuity plan. Audit your framework at regular intervals to ensure that it’s still fit for purpose.

Build your business continuity framework now

Business continuity planning is the only way to keep your company moving during challenging times. For more information on how to build a successful business continuity framework, contact us now.