5 Key Steps for Implementing a Business Continuity Plan
The major disasters this past year made people aware of a lot of things including the manner in which businesses assess risk and devise plans to deliver critical services in the event of a disruption. Although catastrophic events have a minimal probability, the businesses that plan carefully for business continuity are the ones that stand the best chance of continuing their services in the event of a disaster.
It does not take a monumental catastrophe to disrupt daily operations of a business. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a power outage or intermediate interruptions that result from a storm or an attack instigated by cybercriminals.
Having a business continuity plan in place means arranging to continue to deliver services which are the most critical to business operations and identifying the resources which are needed to support business continuity. In order for a business continuity plan to be effective, there are key critical components that must be present during the planning process.
Business Continuity Planning Organization
When you begin the process for business continuity planning a senior management committee is essential for overseeing the process which includes initiating the necessary steps, planning for implementation, designating the resources, and then continue testing and auditing the business continuity plan. The senior management committee approves the planning structure, identifies the roles of certain individuals, creates the necessary teams responsible for developing and executing the business continuity plan, and prioritizes critical business operations.
Business Impact Analysis
By performing a Business Impact Analysis this helps an organization to identify critical business processes on both the internal and external levels. The identification of these processes initiates prioritization of services to ensure ongoing delivery and fast recovery following a disruption.
Business Impact Analysis must also include an assessment of the impact a disruption will have on service delivery and how long a business can survive without certain services. It is also necessary to identify the services which contribute the most to revenue and then prioritize those services to prevent loss of revenue following a disaster. You must also consider the consumer and the shareholders during a Business Impact Analysis to determine the cost of intangible losses which can result from a disruption.
Business Continuity Detailed Response and Recovery Plan
Following the organization of a senior committee and the completion of a Business Impact Analysis, a business continuity plan should be organized to explain in detail how critical business services will be offered during a period of outage. Each service that is critical to ongoing business operations should be carefully planned in detail and should include identifying all possible threats and risks, recovery processes which are already in place by the organization, and appropriate response to the disruption by teams that are knowledgeable in their area of responsibility and in the event of relocation to an alternate facility.
When the business continuity plan is in place it is necessary to train staff on their specific responsibilities in the event of a disaster. In addition to being trained on their responsibilities, employees should also be aware of other team functions that are associated with their responsibilities. The training should include exercises that set the stage for the disaster recovery environment and prepare the employees for the necessary actions they should take. This includes the proper sequencing of events and response to any external factors which have an impact on the recovery process.
Following the training phase, it is necessary to assess the business continuity plan to determine where improvements are needed and to assess the plan for accuracy and effectiveness. This process is known as quality assurance and is performed both on the internal and external level to ensure effectiveness in the event of disruption of services.
If your organization currently does not have a business continuity plan in place now is the time to begin implementation. To obtain assistance with creating a successful business continuity plan feel free to contact Thrive today to speak with one of our experts