Business continuity planning is unfortunately an overlooked aspect of planning for many firms. While most large businesses have realized that functioning without it is a high risk move, many small and medium sized firms have left this to chance. This is one of the most important parts of disaster preparedness as it defines how business activities resume in the event of an unexpected disaster. The disasters referenced here can be natural disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons, or breaches such as a hacker attack.
From the perspective of a customer, whatever tragedy befalls your business is not as substantial a concern as it is to the staff of the business. A customer simply wishes to purchase goods or leverage services and an inability to do so is an invitation to do business with one of your competitors instead. In a perfect world, some parts of such a plan are never used as their use indicates that the business must recover from immense tragedy, however, it is necessary to remain prepared for almost any scenario.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is the name of the formal document that is generated from the planning phase. All the decisions that have been made detailing how various potential disasters are to be handled are placed here. To assist you in coming up with a sound BCP, there is information below outlining the most important elements that need to be in one.
After many disasters, especially those of nature, the communication channels that are primarily used are usually out of commission for an unknown period. This is because physical infrastructure such as cabling, and data centers get damaged during the disaster’s occurrence.
It is important for you to plan how exactly you intend to ensure that communication between personnel in your business remains uninterrupted and effective in the absence of said channels. Remember that the key point here is that you have no idea when restoration of said channels is slated to take place and so you need to be prepared to function without them indefinitely.
There are a couple elements that fall under the technology aspect. These are the controllable and the uncontrollable facets.
The controllable section details preventative measures such as raising servers off the ground ahead of a hurricane, setting up offsite backups for information, having radios on standby, etc.
The uncontrollable element details what you intend to do if external factors prevent you from accessing important technologies. You need to actively detail all the key technological systems in the company so you can plan for business continuation should any of these systems fail.
Personnel are not bound to stay with a company forever and after an employee leaves or dies, he/she takes all his/her expertise out the door. Of course, business must continue as usual despite the loss of this employee. This is where personnel planning comes into play.
You need to plan for loss of expertise at an employee level and at a departmental level. One of the most common ways to plan for this is to set up measures that involve using consultants for big tasks until staffing takes place.
This is an element of a BCP that requires prepares all staff members to deal with numerous kinds of disasters. These could be natural disasters such as earthquakes or technological disaster such as cyber security breaches.
The main idea to ensure that everyone in the company is aware of his/her role in the company’s recovery process.
While it is possible that a business does not ever encounter a disaster during its course of operation, it is necessary to have plans in place if it ever does. Ensure the elements above are in your BCP and do research to ascertain what others may be necessary.