Business Continuity Planning – Business as usual
Category : News
Unfortunately in this fast-paced world that we operate in; one of the most important areas that can often be overlooked is that of Business Continuity Planning. It is more important than ever that businesses begin to establish a strong connection between security providers and the role that they can play in establishing business continuity.
Business Continuity Planning – Overview
Although the threats that many businesses face are forever changing; it is more important than ever that a system for protecting the running state of your business is in place. When carrying out robust Business Continuity Planning there are four main aspects that need to be addressed; these are:
Things to Consider
The main categories or areas in which a business continuity plan will cover are natural hazards, diseases, major accidents, societal risks and malicious attacks. It is a good idea to take time to review the current UK National Risk Register and assess which areas are likely to impact your business. This process should give you the baseline for the development of a tailored made Business Continuity Plan suited to your needs.
When looking at a robust BCP there are many variables that can play a part in the process; however, for ease, we will address the major principles of Terror, Fire, Flooding and Power Faults. Before we take a look at each of these, in turn; I must ask that you keep an open mind as the following information is written in very general terms and of course, will need some adaptation to fit into your business requirements.
Pre-Event – Measures that should be implemented prior to any incident. These may reduce risk or just stand as a trigger marker to initiate a Response from the BCP.
Response – Actions and steps to be carried out following the required trigger activation.
There are many sub-categories that make up the subject of a terror threat; be it infrastructure, crowded places or even transportation attacks. The initial step is to monitor the current threat level for both International and Northern Ireland terrorism. These can both be found on the MI5 website.
- Monitoring – All personnel should be extra vigilant during heightened threat periods and report any information to the BCP or security lead. During these times anything that could be out of the normal should be reported including unknown persons, suspicious vehicles, even suspicious packages should always be taken into account.
- Vetting – All staff should undergo even the most basic of vetting procedure, BPSS Is a goodness benchmark.
- Assesment of Measures – The best form of prevention is preparation and this should include your current security measures. If you read our ‘Operational Requirements‘ article then you should be well on your way to having this aspect watertight. For those who have not read the article then consider measures such as search levels, security manning levels, physical barriers for traffic and pedestrian control.
Once you have established pre-event measures; then it is only a matter of approaching the next step; the Response strategy. In many cases, the corrective response will be to increase the level of pre-event measures. In the case of terror; often the response can be triggered by a threat level as opposed to an actual targeted incident to your business.
- Manning Levels – Increased levels to allow for more patrols, searches and a general increase in security duties as a whole.
- Policies – Engagement of Emergency Preparedness Plan and also Bomb Threat Policy.
- Physical Barriers – Even if only temporary fixings, physical barriers can be deployed and reduce the risk from vehicle-based attacks for example.
The risk of fire can be greatly increased depending on the nature of the industry that the business is operating in; however, there are a few standard points that we can include.
- Knowledge – Train all personnel on building layout and carry out regular fire drills, including full evacuation
- Practices – Operate clean work area policies and take time to train key staff on fire awareness
- Equipment – Ensure all fire based equipment is well maintained; from extinguishers through to detectors and sprinklers.
In the event of a fire; the priority control must always remain with the emergency services; however, some steps can be taken to assist them and the business.
- Security Levels – raise manning levels to assist in evac control, hydrant assistance and access/egress control.
- Restoration Plan – Have a plan in place with specialist businesses of which to restore function as soon as possible both clean up and construction.
Flooding (Weather Related)
Becoming more common in the UK; flooding can be both devastating for business and life threating, even in small measures. With the growing reliance on IT and digital infrastructure, even the smallest amount of flooding can be fatal for our businesses. As part of business awareness; weather reports should form part of daily monitoring.
- Drainage Maintenance – This is the front line of your defence and must not be overlooked in maintenance plans
- Flood Boards – Installation of flood boards on doors most at risk. These will also need to be maintained and correct SOP’s put in place for their deployment.
- Design – When installing new IT and other vulnerable assets, placement should be in flood-proof areas (above ground level etc).
- EPP – Ensure an evacuation procedure is in place for the evacuation and lockdown of the premises
- Evacuate – Carry out staff evacuations before areas become flooded and minimise risk to personnel
- Lockdown – If the site is to be fully evacuated; then a full lockdown procedure must be initiated, this must also include last man searches.
- Cleanup – Ensure that a cleanup plan is set out in brief during EPP design and then discuss in full (off-site if needed) to return the business to normal.
Flooding is one of the only scenarios in which extra manning is not a viable option as safety concerns cannot be reduced enough to allow for deployment.
No matter the reason; be it an onsite or offsite fault, a power outage can affect your security more than anything. Simply by loosing CCTV, Barrier controls, door controls or even lights; the security of a site can be reduced to near zero.
- EPP – On larger sites or sites that are of multiple levels; placement of emergency boxes is a good step. These boxes should contain some form of communication and torches. Access to the boxes should be kept to a minimum to reduce miss use but to also ensure that equipment is in working order for security to evac people.
- Lighting – Maintenance of emergency lighting should be carried out at regular intervals.
- Manual Backup – Any form of physical barrier (road barriers, mag-lock doors) must have manual backup overrides for both opening and also securing.
- Manning Levels – This is probably one of the most important, extra security will be needed to make up for the drop in security measures and also to carry out building sweeps during the evac stage.
- Monitoring – If the fault is based off-site; contact with the national grid must be made and regular updates received.
- Lighting – Generators and temporary floodlighting should be deployed if the outage is to cross over a ‘night’ period.
- Lockdown – Full lockdown should be carried out once a full evacuation has been carried out.
Although this article starts to address the subject of Business Continuity Planning; it is only as a general guide and should stand as an informational reminder that businesses do face threats. If planning is carried out in a methodical manner, then the impact on your business can be minimal.
PGS ensure that we provide as much Business Continuity Planning as possible for our clients at the start of our contracts and make it a personal objective to minimise the risks to your business.
Did you read our article on Escort Solutions?
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