4 Steps for a creating an effective business continuity plan
Developing a business strategy that promotes growth is important to a business’s success. However, equally as important to that success is having a strategy designed to avoid business loss. Some call these strategies disaster recovery plans. Others call them business continuity plans. Call them what you like. What’s most important is that your business has one.
Four steps to creating an effective business continuity plan.
1. Consider the Impact
Perform a Busienss Impact Analysis. Firstly, document the processes you use to manufacture products or deliver services that meet your customers’ needs. Next, list all of the resources that are required to deliver these products and services. Consider everything – the people, partners, equipment, technology and infrastructure.
Now that you have your inventory list, consider the impact a crisis would have. If a critical disk failure occurs, would your business still be able to operate? Or if your building is flooded, could your employees work remotely? Think about the types of emergencies that could occur and then consider how long your business would be able to operate, if at all, without its resources. In other words, determine your maximum tolerable period of disruption (MTPD).
Being unable to deliver products and services may be more devastating than you expect. Be aware, you may be liable for failing to deliver.
2. Prepare to Recover
Set your business a recovery time objective (RTO) or a goal for how long it will take to recover. Then, write recovery plans for each section, team and manager. Detail all the tasks that need to be completed and assign each one to a person or team. Be clear in your instructions around who does what, and be sure nothing is overlooked. Explain the new reporting lines. Train employees so they know how to complete emergency tasks.
Don’t stop there. Circumstances may be such that your primary recovery plan may not be able to be rolled out. Therefore, it’s essential that you have a set of back-up plans in place too. These could allow for the recovery to occur from a different location.
3. Stock your Battle Box
A battle box is a collection of things you may need in the event of an emergency. It is likely to include copies of your continuity plans. It may also include equipment. It should definitely include a list of current staff contacts. Think of all the things you may need to recover from an emergency, and add them to the box. Don’t forget to add the practical things like a mobile phone, laptop, first aid kit, drinking water and torches.
A single battle box for a small company should be fine. If your company is large, you may want to provide battle boxes for each department.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Train your staff to work with the continuity plans you have developed. Then run emergency drills that put that training to the test. That way everyone will know exactly what to do in the event of a crisis. Some companies, like Amazon and Google even surprise their emergency response teams by running a drill without notifying them. That way everyone is tested.
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About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled IT Challenger at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.