The 3 most common threats your business faces

 

Description: The 3 most common threats your business faces

Expect the unexpected. Easily enough done when sitting down to a movie but not so simple when running a business particularly if you’re a small or medium size enterprise (SME) with a smaller ‘calamity cushion’ than a larger one.

But what does ‘the unexpected’ mean? A look at the past helps; a recent survey found that the global financial crisis had been the biggest threat to SMEs over the past five years (1). While that may not be surprising, the other threats the survey pinpoints are less well known:

        1. Extreme weather – flooding cost small firms £830m (2) last year.

        2. Supply chain disruption – courier firm City Link recently went into administration in a matter of days.

        3. Infrastructure let downs – the UK power grid is running at a spare capacity margin of just five per cent (3), the

            lowest for 20 years.

But what can a business do to plan in advance and prevent these threats becoming disasters? Here we outline areas where action can be taken.

People

It’s a huge benefit if your staff covers for each other during a crisis, so cross training and enabling staff to work remotely can really pay off.

Produce an ‘emergency contacts’ sheet with set responsibilities for what needs to be done after an incident. Make sure your absence is part of any emergency plan too.

Premises

Have a back-up location for your business to operate from and, if needed, somewhere that can temporarily receive deliveries. For example, when a tidal surge flooded businesses in Immingham Docks, near Grimsby last year, Intertek Humberside’s petroleum testing and inspection laboratory manager opened his desk to find fish in the drawers.

Contingency planning meant he was able to quickly move the company into portable buildings and continue operating with little interruption to the company’s customers.

IT

IT strategy advisor Dick Moore of Moore Answers LtdOpens a new window, recommends cloud storage as a defence against disaster. “Having your data stored in the cloud could get your business up and running again for the cost of a PC,” he says.

“But taking an offsite copy of your data [via a cloud upload] on a daily basis gives you more than a backup; it should be considered the cornerstone of your business continuity planning.”

Supply chain

It’s about planning. Highlight the weak points in your supply chains. Establish back-up suppliers and transport contractors and ensure your supplier contracts set out what happens during a disaster (better known as a ‘force majeure’ clause).

PR

“Faced with a business crisis, the last thing to do is avoid communicating”, says strategic PR and crisis communications consultant Deborah Watson. “Whether it’s to staff, customers or the press it’s important you’re open and solutions-focused. The outside world doesn’t need to know the finest detail of what has taken place but they will expect a factual and honest account.

“As much as trying to save face, you have got to save the business too. Don’t allow yourself to be so distracted by the PR that you neglect getting the business back on its feet and fully functioning again.”

The article above came from the Barclays connector newsletter.

 Storing data in the cloud is the same as having your valuable research samples covered by MTS Cryo Stores disaster recovery plan, or by storing copies of your samples at our facility as an added contingency plan.