Storm Emma highlights weaknesses in business continuity plans

Written by staff reporter

Storm Emma created some of the most testing weather conditions experienced in the UK for years, grinding many organisations to a halt and causing many to invoke business continuity plans to remain operational. It also exposed a number of shortfalls in plans, according to Databarracks. It says almost half of those organisations would have struggled due to their business continuity plan being outdated or recently untested. Its data suggests that just half of UK organisations are confident that their business continuity plan is up-to-date.

Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks says: “Storm Emma brought huge disruptions to the UK’s transport network, notably impacting how people were able to commute to and from work. Because of this, a lot of organisations would have been forced to invoke their business continuity plans to remain operational.

“Critically, an effective plan should include a BIA. This is where the bulk of good BC planning takes place. It determines and evaluates the potential effects of an interruption to critical business operations, resulting from an incident.”

“Once a firm has a plan in place you need to ensure that it can be executed. Testing your plan is critical but often the opportunity to actually do this is rare. Instead, firms should look to capitalise on known events to test their plans.”

Groucutt advises that organisations address the following during their BIA:

• The types of impact an incident might have on a business; whether that be financial, regulatory or legal impact, for example.
• The business functions and services that support these services.
• Assigning criticality to those services.
• From this a firm can then work out both the upstream and downstream dependencies that will affect an organisation’s ability to deliver these services and functions – for example, power needed to remain operational or suppliers needed to deliver goods.
• Finally, you can then outline your recovery objectives, including your justification for this.

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