What is a Continuity Plan?
The business continuity plan (BCP) encompasses disaster recovery planning and business resumption planning. The BCP outlines how the company will continue operations in the event of disasters and unforeseeable events that shutdown facilities or operations.
Recognize Critical Factors
Critical factors are factors carried out within the firm that are essential to operations. Without these critical factors operating properly the product/service cannot be offered or manufactured. Often critical factors create competitive advantage for your firm and will be absolutely necessary to continue operations following some kind of disaster. You can use your business plan and developing operations to recognize these key factors. Highlight points in production that create value and are irreplaceable in operations; these will be your critical factors.
Create Contingency Plans
There are a number of events that can require BCP implementation. Examples include earthquakes, storms, power outages, cyber-attacks, fires, and other disasters. For each event a recovery plan should be created. The recovery plan should outline the requirements to getting critical factors up and running again in order to continue business operations in times when perhaps employees are unable to meet at the office, etc.
Keep BCP Up-to-Date
As the organization grows and evolves so should the BCP. Over time new needs will arise and new threats, each needing to be addressed formally by a BCP. Frequently, BCP procedures should be reviewed and confirmed to verify that needs are met. This includes testing of recovery procedures and functions. This is normally done semi-annually or annually.
As with any organizational plans and procedures, they need to be communicated and taught to all players within the organization. Management should frequently review and train employees on continuity plans. Make all information easy to access and visible to all employees. Take the time to gather all information and put it in one place where all employees know to find it. Once this information is gathered make a step by step guide for each employee defining their role in the contingency plan. This will help everything go smoothly if a situation ever arises.
Having a continuity plan will save you lots of time, money, and headaches if a situation were ever to arise. In times of disaster the last thing you want as a manager is to be unable to get your business going again while your employees run around unsure of what to do. A good continuity plan will outline critical factors and define each employees role in getting those critical functions up and running again as quickly as possible.