How to create a business continuity plan that works

August 19th, 2020
How to create a business continuity plan that works

Natural or man-made disasters can hit your business anytime, and unfortunately, you rarely get advance notice when one will strike. Without a business continuity plan (BCP) in place, your company will struggle to recover, or in a worst-case scenario, go out of business.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a process outlining how your organization can continue operating in the event of an unplanned service disruption. This is usually developed in advance and involves key personnel and stakeholders. The objective of a BCP is to protect business assets and personnel during and after a disaster.

What is an unplanned service disruption?

Unplanned service disruptions are any interruptions to a company's normal operations caused by unforeseen circumstances. Some examples of unforeseen events that could cause service interruption include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Power outages
  • Internet downtime
  • Cyberattacks
  • Compliance breaches
  • Injured employees
  • Changes in management

Why is a BCP important?

A BCP is important because it allows you to identify and focus on resiliency synchronization between your business processes, applications, and infrastructure. Even just an hour of downtime can cost your business thousands of dollars, but with a BCP, your company can continue operating after a disaster.

What are the elements of a business continuity plan?

BCPs vary from company to company, and you should tailor your plan depending on the needs of your organization. An effective BCP should contain these key elements:

  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Goals and objectives
  • Risk mitigation plans
  • Policy, purpose, and scope
  • Where to go during an emergency
  • List of processes vital to keeping operations going
  • Information on site and data backups
  • Contact information of key personnel
  • Coordination with emergency personnel
  • Plan maintenance protocols

Tips in creating a strong BCP

If your company does not have a BCP in place, don't wait for a disaster to strike before creating one. These tips will help you develop a reliable BCP for your organization.

1. Create a business continuity management team
The purpose of a business continuity management team is to develop, implement, and execute your BCP. Each department should have a core team of managers and support team members, which include assistant managers and administrative assistants.

2. Run a business impact analysis
After assembling your team, the next step is to run a business impact analysis (BIA). This lets you identify the physical, financial, and operational risks to your business in the event of a disaster so you can plan out your recovery strategies and priorities.

3. Conduct a gap analysis
Conducting a gap analysis lets you pinpoint your company's recovery requirements against its current resources. It provides a framework for your business continuity team to create a strategic recovery plan.

4. Study and execute recovery strategies
This part of your BCP identifies recovery strategies and outlines how to execute them. Here are some concerns you should discuss with your business continuity team:

  • If your facilities are hit by a natural disaster, is there an alternative location where they can work or can they work remotely instead?
  • Do you have a contingency plan to quickly get vital units of your organization such as sales, HR, manufacturing, IT, and support personnel back up to minimize downtime and loss of revenue?
  • In case of hardware or equipment damage, will you have a way to continue to serve your customers?

These are just some of the concerns your BCP must address. For every possible service disruption listed in your impact analysis, there should be a corresponding plan that will allow you to resume operations as quickly as possible.

5. Test your BCP
Conduct safety drills and emergency simulations to see how effective your BCP is. Measure the results and identify areas that need improvement.

Is your business prepared for a disaster? If not, you need the help of a managed IT services provider like HERO Managed Services. We service the Tampa, Sarasota, and Orlando, Florida areas, and our experienced IT specialists will work with you to formulate an effective BCP to ensure your business continues to operate after a crisis. Call us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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The first step to ensuring cybersecurity is assessing your business for vulnerabilities. Contact one of our experts for a free IT consultation and find out how to make your IT more productive, your systems more secure, and your tech-related stress minimal.

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