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Business continuity

Find out how your business can plan and prepare for potentially harmful incidents, including loss of IT systems, facilities and utilities.
 
Nearly one in five businesses suffer a major disruption every year. Any incident, large or small, whether natural, accidental or deliberate, can have a significant impact on your organisation.

Be prepared

Business continuity management (BCM) starts with identifying those parts of your business that you cannot afford to lose, such as information, stock, premises and staff. Once you’ve identified these parts, you can then plan how to maintain them if an incident occurs.
 
If you plan now, rather than waiting for something to happen, you’ll be able to get back to business in the quickest possible time.
 
BCM can also give your business a competitive advantage. Many companies will not use suppliers unless they have effective BCM arrangements in place.

How prepared are you?

BCM is for everyone

Whether you’re a market trader, voluntary organisation or a global organisation, you need to be able to continue with your essential activities, whatever happens.
 
You also need to make sure that your key suppliers and partners have effective BCM arrangements in place.

Winter preparedness

Businesses should be aware of the impact a loss of electricity could have on their business. Loss of electricity can be caused by a number of factors such as: winter weather and storms, powerlines being cut through accidentally when road works are taking place, planned power outages for maintenance, or to support the national infrastructure.

Businesses can prepare for these circumstances by ensuring they have robust business continuity plans and these are reviewed with a range of loss of utilities in mind (for example, electricity, gas, water or a combination of these).

Read our guidance on writing, updating and testing business continuity arrangements.

Key considerations

  • think about home working and the impact loss of internet connectivity might have, whether colleagues can go to work instead and whether it is safe to do so
  • investigate the resilience of IT servers and systems
  • consult employees to raise awareness and understand concerns they may have
  • consider how to communicate as an organisation to your consumers and internally to staff
  • think about whether it is necessary to have standby generators to maintain power supply for critical equipment or facilities
  • employers should make sure that they consider any health and safety risks for their workforce (including those working from home) as part of their contingency planning for loss of electricity.  Employers have a duty to safeguard their employees’ health, safety and welfare at work, as far as is reasonably practicable, including providing a safe working environment and systems of work.

Practical suggestions for employees

  • educate employees on how to use their mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot (assuming they have available data, and the mobile phone network isn’t affected by the power cut)
  • investigate whether employees can download or print out key documents in advance to work on without access to the internet
  • encourage employees to look at their contingency plans for their families and home
  • explore adjusting working times, shift patterns or opening hours to accommodate a localised power cut (subject to contract terms and health and safety)
  • encourage employees to keep their devices fully charged while working in the office or from home, particularly if they have received prior notification of a power cut.

Further information

BCM information is available in the business continuity guidance for businesses and voluntary organisations, by BCP Council and Dorset Council with support from the Dorset Local Resilience Forum. This basic plan template will help you get started with your training.

Further information can also be found on The Business Continuity Insitute's website.

For further advice, please email emergency.planning@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

Cyber attacks

Following Russia’s further violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the National Cyber Security Centre has called on organisations in the UK to bolster their online defences. 

The NCSC, a part of GCHQ, has urged organisations to follow its guidance on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened.

While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, there has been an historical pattern of cyber attacks on Ukraine with international consequences.

The guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.

We would also encourage you to follow the NCSC’s social media channels for further alerts and updates:

Information on cyber security

Below are some useful starting points to help protect your business.

CNI, large orgs and public sector

Actions to take when organisations might face a greater threat, and the steps to take to improve security.

SMEs

How to improve your cyber security; affordable, practical advice for small businesses.

Microbusinesses and sole traders

Stay protected online with a Cyber Action Plan.

Citizens

Cyber Aware is the government’s advice on how to stay secure online.