Five steps to Protect your Business
1. Identify the potential risks to your business and understand the impact they could have. The Business Resilience Health Check Tool and the London Prepared Checklist may help.
2. Plan and prepare for the risks that are most likely to impact you. Planning and preparation is critical to surviving a disturbance and ensuring your business can continue to function. This can be achieved through prioritising your critical activities and implementing a series of relatively simple steps. The materials on London Prepared will assist.
3. Document key contacts using the templates provided on the London Prepared website. Document useful contacts or services (e.g. insurance company, landlord, local authority, staff, customers, suppliers, utility companies, security company and the emergency services). Having these contacts to hand will be essential should a disturbance arise.
4. Check that you’re fully insured and that all documentation is stored safely. Insurance is essential for all businesses. Make sure that your insurance is renewed and covers all the risks you may face. Are there limits to your cover/do you need further cover for specific risks? The Association of British Insurers offers downloadable guidance for smaller businesses.
5. Contact your Local Authority and register with business networks. Being connected is an important part of building resilience for your business and there are many professional networks that can be approached. Your local authority may be able to help you by:
· Providing information and suggesting appropriate networks or Business Continuity groups
· Offering presentations to staff and management on how to protect your business
· Supporting the development of plans and exercises where appropriate
Prepare your Business
The London Risk Register highlights some of the risks that London may face. As such, there are a range of risks that businesses may also face and should be prepared for. These include fires, floods, adverse weather and crime among others. There are, however, some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of any such eventuality and improve the resilience of your business.
Note: The steps provided below are not exhaustive and are only intended to offer a starting point for smaller businesses. A number of the steps are transferrable and may apply to multiple risks.
Protecting your people is at the centre of your business’ survival.
It is key that you make sure you have ways of doing so whilst mitigating the impacts of staff shortages on your main activities.
Five steps to prepare your business for a denial of access
Denial of Access may occur due to variety of causes, such as fire, flooding, road closures or a transport strike among others. Having contingency arrangements may be critical for your business.
1. Establish fall-back locations and remote working procedures if your premises are inaccessible.
2. Establish channels for communicating with staff, customers and suppliers in such an eventuality.
3. Consider the impacts on your supply-chains and how your business could continue. 4. Ensure management always have access to a set of spare keys. 5. Ask all staff to sign up to receive free TfL Travel Alerts. Five steps to prepare your business for adverse weather
Adverse weather includes storms and gales, snow and ice, heavy rainfall and heatwaves.
It can occur all year round and can have a substantial impact on businesses and service delivery.
1. Register for the free Met Office severe weather alerts.
2. Plan for supplier, logistical and delivery problems. Could opening hours be changed? Do you have reserve stocks? Do you have more than one supplier available? 3. Plan for staff shortages. Could staff work from an alternative location?
4. Know what to do in case adverse weather causes a power outage or water disruption.
5. Keep practical equipment available, for example a shovel and brush to clear your doorstep. Five steps to prepare your business for flooding
Many businesses are negatively affected by flooding every year, which poses a very real risk.
1. Check if your premises are in areas at risk of flooding via the Environment Agency website and, if so, sign up to their free 24 hour flood alerts service and view their live flood warnings map.
2. Consider options for flood proofing to try and prevent water from entering your building by following the National Flood Forum property protection advice.
3. Reduce the damage caused by water entering the building. Know how to turn off the power supply and consider raising electrical sockets as well as using flood resistant materials.
4. Store hazardous equipment and important records/information, such as your insurance details, in a safe place, preferably on an upper storey of the building.
5. Prepare a flood plan – look at some guidance produced by the Environment Agency on this. Five steps to prepare your business for fire
The cost and effect of a serious fire will be high and many businesses do not recover.
1. Complete a fire risk assessment as per the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and view the generic advice provided by London Fire Brigade. 2. Reduce, eliminate and control ignition sources and combustible items.
3. Ensure the appropriate PAT testing of electrical equipment and checks of wiring.
4. Consider installing fire safety equipment (e.g. sprinklers, fire doors, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and smoke alarms – which can be connected to remote care services). 5. Train staff in emergency procedures.
Five Steps to prepare your business against crime
1. Ensure your premises are fitted with security alarms and quality locks. 2. Fit a shutter that can be used at closing time or in lockdown situations. 3. Install CCTV cameras and keep valuables and money secured and out of sight.
4. Build good relationships with your neighbours and join local security networks. All businesses are encouraged to register for the free Cross-Sector Safety & Security Communications service.
5. Seek further advice through your Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams or via the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), ensuring that all crimes are reported to the Police. In an emergency always call 999. If non-urgent call 101. Five Steps to prepare your business against cyber crime
1. Ensure that all devices require a passcode. Use strong passcodes and keep them private.
2. Install security software (including anti-virus) and set them to automatically update.
3. Back up data regularly for all of your computers, electronic devices and other IT systems.
4. Use password-protected files for any necessary but sensitive documents that are stored.
5. Get further tips from Cyber Streetwise, Get Safe Online and Cyber Essentials. Why is it important to Protect your Business?
Many businesses in London and beyond have been adversely affected by flooding, fires, civil disturbance and data loss among others.
The impacts can be severe causing substantial financial loss and businesses to close down.
All businesses and organisations are susceptible to risks which may disrupt or prevent their activities.
In an adverse event, some simple steps can assist you in preparing for these and continuing a limited service before returning back to full service delivery.
In this respect, Business Continuity Management (BCM) is about identifying those parts of your organisation that you can’t afford to lose – such as information, stock, premises, staff – and planning how to maintain these if an incident occurs (Government BCM Toolkit).
Kingsway Fire – April 2015
“London and Continental Railways (LCR) was unfortunate enough to have the fire burning directly under and around their building. However, they had the foresight to have their business in the cloud, so they were able to pick up business offsite pretty much immediately.” Cloud Direct
Battersea Arts Centre Fire – March 2015
After the BAC Grand Hall was destroyed by a fire, a group of staff focused on the recovery; getting some computers, Wi-Fi and some office space whilst recreating their software for booking spaces with sheets of A3 paper on the wall, contacting audiences with updates, and starting to seek alternative spaces for the future Grand Hall programme. The role of Team Phoenix was to lift BAC out of managing a crisis and towards the future.
There are ample resources available on Business Continuity, detailing steps you can take to help reduce or mitigate risk and protect your business. These range from courses, events and textbooks, to generic or agency-specific guidance notes on Business Continuity planning, as well as a range of websites. A number of websites are signposted within this document, but for those businesses wishing to explore Business Continuity further, the following resources can also be consulted:
British Standards Institute (BSI).
Business Continuity Institute.
Business Continuity for Dummies.
Business Resilience – A Guide to Protecting your Business and People. RISC Authority. Business Resilience Planning Considerations. City of London. Communities Prepared Business Hub. HM Government.
How Prepared are you? Business Continuity Management Toolkit. HM Government. National Business Resilience Planning Assumptions. Cabinet Office.
Resilience in Society: Infrastructure, Communities and Businesses. Cabinet Office.