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Stage 1: Understanding your business critical activities

As the owner or manager of a business, you'll know everything there is to know about it. Understanding how everything fits together is essential to allow you to identify the critical functions and activities of the business.

In an emergency, you need to concentrate on the activities you must do to continue the business. These could be the areas that:

  • generate the greatest profit, or
  • provide the information on which the whole company relies, or
  • would cause the worst possible loss of reputation or credibility if it stopped.

Key processes and resources

To complete this analysis, you'll want to look at how your processes and procedures work. This should be both within your business and outside, with your customers, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders.

You'll want to identify the key resources for the business. This could include:

  • the people working for you (think about the skill and knowledge required to keep the business going)
  • the premises where you work (this can include satellite sites and remote or home working)
  • vehicles and other specialist equipment
  • your data and systems
  • communications.

These are the activities and resources you'll want to protect as far as possible. You'll need plans in place should they be denied to you, either in full or in part.

Hazard analysis

Another stage of this process is to assess the risks and hazards to the business, and the likelihood of them happening. These could be general risks to the whole community, such as severe weather, or relating to your local area, for example if you're in an area that could flood.

There are many risks that could impact on a business. These include:

  • data loss or systems failure
  • serious widespread illness
  • flooding or other severe weather events
  • transport problems or fuel shortage
  • utilities failure resulting in the loss of power, heating, telephones or water supply
  • deliberate or accidental man-made incidents such as chemical spills
  • or the impact from a nearby major incident in which you aren't affected.

All these risks could:

  • reduce the number of staff able to work
  • deny you access to key buildings or equipment on a temporary or permanent basis
  • or stop you using key information needed for the business to continue.

Our booklet 'Minding Your Own Business?' is a guide for businesses on what they could expect if a major incident or emergency affects them.

Download the 'Minding Your Own Business?' booklet