Whilst businesses are slowly recovering from the effects of COVID-19, the pandemic highlighted a significant issue that needs to be addressed. Specifically, many small to medium sized businesses don’t have a business continuity plan which contains a plan and all the information you need to help keep your business running after an incident or crisis.
Amongst lockdowns, remote working, and absenteeism due to the latest flu season and wave of COVID-19, businesses continue to deal with supply chain issues, extreme weather events and cyber threats. Without a plan to quickly respond and deal with major incidents or crisis, many businesses had to close their doors.
To protect your business, you need an up-to-date Business Continuity plan. If you don’t have a plan or it needs updating then you can access government planning tools such as the business continuity plan template on the business.gov.au website. You can also speak to your local insurance adviser to help you identify potential risks to your business.
We’ve provided a brief overview of what’s involved in these plans, followed by four major risks that are common to all businesses at the moment, which we recommend be addressed in your continuity plan.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan is key to identifying potential risks to the business and then ranks the risks in order of priority. Plans are then agreed to manage the critical risks that will cause the most financial damage, including an Incident Response plan. The aim is to keep the lights on and your business operating, or get it back up and running again, after an incident or crisis. The priority of your plan is to help prepare your business for potential risks and minimise the financial, reputational or other types of damage. A disaster recovery plan Is the next step and focuses on getting the business back up and running as soon as possible. So, Business Continuity plans incorporate risk management, business impact analysis, incident and also recovery plans.
How to protect your business from external risks
To protect your business from external threats you need to identify and manage risks. The following four threats are common to most businesses, with two recently caused by Covid.
Rising cases of COVID-19
Since the beginning of Covid, we have been hoping that things would get back to normal. This hasn’t happened and we are facing yet another peak with no guaranteed end in sight, given the number of variants that keep mutating. This means that worker absenteeism, due to Covid-19 and compounded by the winter cold and flu season will continue, disrupting your business operations over the long term. Your Business Continuity planning has to be regularly updated to ensure your business can operate despite rising absenteeism, for the foreseeable future.
Supply chain issues
Australia’s supply chain issues will likely continue despite falling rates of COVID-19. China’s aggressive measures put into place to control Covid-19 has contributed to manufacturing and shipping disruption, worldwide. These challenges will continue for 2022, so risk and incident planning will have to be continually reviewed, including considering diversification.
Extreme weather events
Australia is no stranger to natural disasters, including bushfires, cyclones, droughts and floods. Jobs and livelihoods are lost, inventories unrecoverable, infrastructure destroyed and businesses closed down. Your plan needs to address these disasters to mitigate your losses.
The cost of cyber-attacks on small businesses can be calculated in lost jobs, lost customers and lost reputations. That’s on top of the losses in revenue and the costs of managing the attack (lawyers, security consultants, auditors, accountants and so on). Your plan needs to recognise the increasing risk of cyber-attacks to your business and provide a pathway to protect and keep your business going whilst the effects of this disaster are mitigated.
A business continuity plan is essential and will help you deal with incidents and crisis and minimise the impact to your business.
An insurance adviser can help you arrange and put into place a business continuity plan and can help tailor insurance solutions to fit your business’s needs. Find your local adviser today to protect your business tomorrow.
This communication including any weblinks or attachments is for information purposes only. It is not a recommendation or opinion, your personal or individual objectives, financial situation or needs have not been taken into account. This communication is not intended to constitute personal advice. This type of insurance product is designed for small and large businesses, that want to be covered against financial loss relating to accidents or personal injury involving contractors or sub-contractors.
We strongly recommend that you consider the suitability of this information, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. This document is also not a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or a policy wording, nor is it a summary of a particular product’s features or terms of any insurance product. If you are interested in discussing this information or acquiring an insurance product, you should contact your insurance adviser to obtain and carefully consider any relevant PDS or policy wording before deciding whether to purchase any insurance product.