Now is the time to re-evaluate your business continuity plans
As the Isle of Man Government publishes emergency legislation to help protect Manx people against the possible spread of coronavirus, Isle of Man businesses should be considering whether their business continuity plans are appropriate in the case of a national emergency.
Most plans consider the actions of the company given a set of circumstances that impact their business in isolation. The Island is a close knit community and if coronavirus does hit the Isle of Man the impact is likely to be significant on local businesses.
Many businesses are scaling up the home working capacity of their staff to mitigate the continuity risk. Consideration should also be given to the impact on your services if your main suppliers are affected. Home working may not be effective if there is an issue with the broadband supply, or other IT issues that impact connectivity.
Some businesses will receive an increase in demand, for others demand may tail off. The critical services and supply of those services in your existing continuity plans may need adjustment in the light of how the infrastructure may be impacted by large scale national isolation over an extended period of time.
Communication plans should be drawn up. Staff are likely to be anxious and will need to understand the expectations of the business in terms of home or office working as well as the potential impact on them financially of taking time to recover or to care for sick dependants. Customers will also need to be kept informed of what they can expect from your business over the period.
Consideration should be given to regulatory and statutory obligations. How will these continue to be fulfilled? VAT filings, regulatory returns, tax returns, beneficial ownership notifications etc all carry financial penalties if they are missed. Perhaps Government should be considering suspension of filing penalties in the event of a national emergency being implemented, allowing businesses to concentrate on delivering key services to customers and protecting the well being of their workforce?
Finally, security should be evaluated in the light of a change in business working. Criminals take advantage of unusual times, preying on human insecurities to exploit weakness in the untested different working practices.
If they haven’t done so already, boards and senior management teams should review their business continuity plans in the light of what we know and, in the absence of an Island specific plan, the UK Action Plan to determine what other factors need to be considered as we face the next few months. Hopefully we will not need these plans but those firms that take the time now will find that if a national emergency is declared that knowing how they will deal with it will remove some of the uncertainty and risk.
Here at Rowany AML Solutions Limited we can help you review your current BCP. Drop us a line and we can arrange a mutually convenient time for a free no obligation chat.