You are busy running your business. The day-to-day management probably takes up all of your time and energy. However, businesses can be struck by adversity. How a business responds to these situations can make the difference between survival and a premature end.
Here are three examples of policies that a business should develop before they are needed:
Cyber Security Policy
A cybersecurity policy has a few components.
- Hardening systems: A robust network use policy can help to limit how far hackers can get into your system. Moreover, managing user profiles can limit the risk posed by malicious insiders, like disgruntled employees.
- Detection: Your business should have a plan for monitoring your IT systems so you can detect security threats. For example, the Target hack in 2013 resulted in a loss of millions of debit and credit card numbers to hackers. According to later investigation, Target had turned off certain security features and ignored warnings because it felt there were too many false alerts.
- Response: Once an attack is detected, your business must have a plan in place to respond. Do you take your systems offline? Do you have backups in cloud storage to restore lost data? Do you have a plan for dealing with complaints by customers and partners? This last question also goes to the need for an escalation management policy discussed below.
- Investigation: After an attack has ended, you need to determine what happened and fix the vulnerabilities that allowed the attack to occur.
Escalation Management Policy
Escalation management is the process of determining when and how senior members of your business become involved in a problem. As you have experienced in your own business, there are problems that are not worth taking up your time.
If you need to respond to every customer complaint, no matter how trivial, you will have little time to actually run the business. On the other hand, you need to be directly and personally involved when an issue involves a significant client, a significant oversight, or a systemic problem.
An escalation management policy simply outlines the process for determining when escalation is needed, how senior members become involved, and what role they will play in the issue.
Disaster Recovery Policy
Disasters are, by definition, unplanned. However, your business’s response can, and should, be planned.
A disaster recovery policy usually begins with brainstorming about the problems that can befall your business. Then you need to develop a plan for each part of your business that can be affected.
For example, onsite backups might be destroyed in the same disaster that knocks out your systems. However, offsite backups may be inaccessible if communication infrastructure is lost.
Testing your policy is also critically important. Only a small percentage (about 25%) of organizations never test their disaster recovery system.
As the saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance. Developing policies for cybersecurity, escalations management, and disaster recovery will help you to respond to these issues quickly and confidently.