Owning a successful business does not just happen. For the savvy business owner, it takes a lot of planning to get things up and running smoothly. In fact, even though the day to day operations can be a handful for most owners, it is important that there is still planning that goes into protecting the future welfare of the business.
One of the most important is preparing the operations for business continuity when disaster strikes. This involves creating a plan of action to ensure the continuity of business operations in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Typically, this plan includes strategies for utilizing DRAAS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) recovery, ensuring that data and systems are backed up, and developing an emergency communications plan.
That being said, before you get started with devising a plan for your organization, it is important that you define what business continuity actually means. This is because business continuity refers to your operation continuing to function with the use of minimal resources. For instance, not all services will be back to a fully staffed operation but may only have a minimal staff that’s intended to keep only the critical services running effectively. Therefore, once your organization has identified the scope of this plan, you can then begin the process of devising what needs to be done. When you begin to write your plan, you need to make sure that you never think about what must be covered. Typically, this type of comprehensive plan will consist of documenting the 5 critical components provided for you below.
- Business Continuity Plan Governance Established
One of the first things that need to be done is to establish control over the BCP by setting roles and responsibilities. These plans are governed by those at the top spots in the organization, one position, in particular, is senior management. The role that they play is key since senior management oversees a variety of different activities that must be performed, including the initiation, planning, approval, auditing, and the testing of the BCP. The senior manager is also joined by several member committees that also has distinct responsibilities that must be filled (i.e. executive sponsor, BCP Coordinator, Security Officer, and the Chief Information Officer).
- Committee documents BIA or Business Impact Analysis
The BIA or business impact analysis is designed to identify the company’s critical services and products that are crucial to the company. The committee makes sure these activities are ranked in priority order. Both internal and external disruptions are identified so that they can be addressed with a plan.
- BCP Plans consists of outlining the appropriate measures, and arrangements
When the areas of disruptions have been accurately identified, the committee will begin to work on the appropriate measures and arrangements that will need to be made. The plans that they make are completely proactive. They are also designed to explain exactly what is needed to initiate a proficient minimum services and products plan.
- Readiness procedures are written
After the details of these plans have been outlined, the next step in BCP is to make sure those who are involved are ready to put the appropriate measures in place. When surveying the organization for its readiness needs, the committee may mandate and approve specific types of training, BCP related exercises, goals, and objectives that must be met. This plan will also determine the scope of those individuals and departments that must be involved in order for the BCP to work.
- Exercises, Maintenances, and Auditing are established to establish the essential Quality assurance techniques
The BCP committee will also work to make sure these plans do not become dormant or no longer relevant. Therefore, these plans must be revisited for a number of different reasons or purposes. For instance, these plans may be scheduled for an annual or bi-annual review or, whenever there is a possibility that changes compromise the plan. Additionally, to make sure the BCP is exactly what is needed and there are no gaps in its effectiveness, external resources (BCP consultant) is contacted for their recommendations.