What is Business a Continuity Plan (BCP)?
Business continuity planning is the process of creating prevention and recovery tactics to deal with disasters or emergencies. Disaster can be anything from physical or manmade disasters like a fire, natural disasters like an earthquake or flooding, and virtual disasters like social engineering attacks and other causes that impede and disrupts the daily functioning of mission-critical business processes.
Business continuity is about having a realistic plan to deal with difficult situations, so a company can function with as little disruption as possible. One of the main goals is to prevent panic and allow employees to respond correctly and maintain control over core business functions even as large parts of the work chain are rendered non-functional.
Why Bother Having a Business Continuity Plan?
When you have a continuity plan in place, you can run your business without any fears because you know how to bounce back even in the worst of scenarios.
- A BCP enables your business to be well prepared for a disaster
- It gives your business more flexibility so that it can adapt to changes in the future.
- It stops the staff from panicking in case the business is faced with a threat.
- It helps to minimize losses (Financial, Data, and reputation)
5 Steps to Build an Effective BCP (or disaster recovery plan)
If your company does not have a BCP in place, now is a good time to create one. These steps will help you formulate an effective BCP that will ensure your company keeps running even during a major crisis.
- Perform a risk assessment - Start by identifying potential threats that may impact your daily operations, including Industry risks, geographical area, rising trends, and issues that your stakeholders may encounter. Next, categorize the risks based on the level of impact, the likelihood of occurrence, or other criteria. Once risks have been identified and a plan has been developed, carefully identify any possible gaps. Collaborate with your team to identify any weak points in the plan and make changes as necessary.
- Perform a business impact analysis (BIA) - A BIA will help you determine how the risks will affect your daily operations, processes, personnel, equipment, technology, and physical infrastructure. This analysis should also help you calculate the potential financial and operational loss from each area affected.
- Identify your recovery options - Identify key resources for restoring your business to minimum operational levels including data backups, allowing employees to work remotely, or running operations from a secondary location.
- Document the plan - Include thorough instructions and directions for every team member involved in the business to keep the core functions of the business-like communications, central management, running through backup hardware/ software setups. The plan should contain contingency plans for everything from people, assets, backups, business processes, partners, suppliers and even incorporate protocols for information dissemination both within and outside the organization. Make a record of the BCP and store the document in a secure location, preferably an off-site one to reduce the risks of loss or damage in case of a disaster.
- Test and train - Once your plan is in place, your team needs to perform tests regularly to identify gaps and make necessary changes to ensure the plan’s effectiveness. They also need to conduct regular employee training so that everyone knows their respective roles should a disaster strike.
Please remember, allocating the appropriate resources is key for successful business continuity. Have a realistic approach towards contingency planning, set realistic objectives, and involve everyone in the organization (included your trusted MSP) to avoid such mishaps.
If you are looking for advice or checklists to help you with the IT planning end of your business continuity planning, contact us today. After 30+ years in business, our engineers and technicians are experts, ready to help you plan for and monitor network threats and deal with emergencies as they arise.