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Size to Fit: Scale Emergency Management and Business Continuity to Your Needs


​​Every business is unique – from your operating environment to your budget. Because of these varying factors, a one size fits all approach to risk management, emergency response and business continuity rarely works. An effective program should do much more than help your organization respond to an incident – it should protect your assets, brand, reputation and people – and give you a competitive advantage.

Many smaller businesses and organizations think they do not have the budget, staff or time for proactively developing effective plans and a full program. The solution then is to apply emergency management and business continuity best practices and tailor them to fit the needs, structure, culture and budget of your business.

You can develop your own program by:

  • Researching leading business continuity practices
  • Fully understanding the potential risks your organization faces and what is needed to address them
  • Determining priorities in the event of an emergency and specific actions that need to be carried out
  • Scaling each element of your program to meet your needs

A complete emergency management and business continuity program should consist of four main components, each with a number of considerations. They are:

Governance and Structure

  • Policy
  • Program and plan organization
  • Assigned roles and responsibilities, including senior management

Risk Assessment and Analysis

  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA)
  • Business Impact Analysis

Plans and Procedures

  • Emergency procedures and response plans
  • Crisis management and communication plans
  • Business continuity plans
  • IT disaster recovery plan

Sustainment and Continuous Improvement

  • Training and awareness initiatives
  • Team exercises and drills
  • Program audit and review

This may seem like a significant range of things to consider, but the key to ‘sizing to fit’ your organization is to determine how much of each element is actually required. While it’s essential you have elements from each of the four areas, you may not spend as much time, effort or resources on certain areas, depending on your organization’s unique considerations.

Prioritizing is one of the most important parts of sizing your emergency response plan to fit your organization. If you need assistance in prioritizing, ask the following of yourself and your emergency response team:

  • What are our highest risk scenarios and hazards? Are we currently ready for them?
  • Will we be audited for our approach to risk? Is there an expected standard? Are we currently meeting or exceeding that standard?
  • What do the board, senior management or key external stakeholders expect of us? What are their key concerns?
  • What is working now and where are there gaps?

Keep in mind that when you work for an organization, it can be difficult to anticipate every risk and know what your response options are. No matter the size of your institution, working with a specialist individual or firm can help you identify key risks, establish governance, integrate with your existing policies and procedures and most importantly, right-size your emergency response and business continuity programs to suit your organization’s needs and budget.

To learn more, contact Cliff Trollope, CBCP, CRM, CAS, a​t 416.596.1711 or [email protected], or your local MNP Business Advisor.