Statistics show that approximately 25 percent of businesses affected by disasters never reopen their doors. Small business owners and individuals who are self-employed are especially vulnerable to the loss of income that business interruptions can cause. To protect yourself from losses in the event of a forced shutdown, you must purchase adequate business interruption insurance and create a thorough business continuity plan.
Implementation of your business continuity plan means more than simply exercising the plan during an emergency. It means integrating the plan into your company operations, training employees and evaluating the plan.
What is a tabletop exercise?
Tabletop exercises provide a means of practicing your company’s business continuity plan and evaluating the result – without waiting until an actual emergency occurs. A tabletop exercise asks the emergency management group (EMG) to address a simulated problem – focusing on the efficiency and effectiveness of the business continuity plan. Following a tabletop exercise, many companies find there are weak points in their business continuity plans that need to be addressed.
What does it look like?
During a tabletop exercise, the EMG is asked to consider:
- What is expected of the EMG and all other employees in the event of an emergency
- What specific risks the company carries in light of the particular business interruption
- Resources available to combat the business interruption
- Communication options available to the EMG and all other employees
- How customers will be affected and what to do in that situation
- Security of company data and the assets
- The order in which to respond to certain situations
After the EMG has discussed the issues presented in the exercise, the group has the opportunity to determine what was missing from the company’s business continuity plan and to revise the plan accordingly.
Conducting a tabletop exercise with your EMG is essential for the success of your business continuity plan. These exercises should be conducted regularly to provide practice for your EMG and to allow timely evaluation of your business continuity plan.
For more information about creating and implementing a business continuity plan, contact Gaudette Insurance Agency at 800-922-8381.