You can’t ever avoid all forms of corporate risk or potential damage. But why is business continuity planning so important? Very simply, disasters kill businesses. An effective BCP will help your business survive should an incident occur, be it a breakdown in IT, fire or bad weather, as it will support the prioritised recovery of your objectives. Having a BCP shows your commitment to deliver, no matter what, and can mean the difference between coping with a disaster and going bust.
5 Tips for Writing a Business Continuity Plan
- Begin by identifying your businesses’ critical functions, i.e. those parts of the business that are most crucial. This will help you prioritise which parts of the business you need to get up and running as soon as possible following any disruption and will thus enable you to formulate your BCP. Consider: the minimum resources you need to deliver your critical functions, e.g. staff, data, suppliers and premises; the impacts of losing critical functions on your business, e.g. loss of reputation or legal action; how quickly you need to get the critical functions up and running; and what other organisations or suppliers you are dependent upon.
- Estimate the time it would take for adverse impacts to become unacceptable. You can now begin to develop your BCP, looking at what activities you wish to maintain, how you will maintain them and who does what.
- Your BCP should contain the following core elements:
- The BCP manager’s name and contact details.
- Details of the team that will make the key decisions.
- Identification of the business critical processes and details of how their recovery will be phased.
- Emergency contact numbers for employees and contacts for internal and external agencies committed to supporting the recovery effort.
- Lists of key customers, suppliers, third parties and their contact details.
- Details of the vital records storage containing back-up computer data and any other critical records.
- The process for standing down and returning to ‘business as usual’.
- Processes for reviewing the business continuity arrangements.
- The role that staff play if an emergency occurs.
- Discuss your emergency arrangements with neighbouring business, as you may be able to help each other during or after an emergency, e.g. by using each other’s equipment or sharing temporary storage.
- Make sure you know your BCP will work, by testing it with regular exercises and updating it in the light of your experiences.
Getting your BCP right will help you keep calm – even in the event of a crisis.
Contact us if you require assistance.