The Five Steps for Creating a Business Continuity Plan
Updated: Nov 13, 2021
Creating a Business Continuity Plan.
A Business Continuity Plan, or BCP for short, is a plan that businesses put together to keep their company running as smoothly as possible even in the worst of times. These plans usually include a strategy for dealing with natural disasters, data loss, cyber-attacks, equipment failure, cash flow issues, and any other event that may cause a loss to the business. You can think of it as a template for disaster recovery.
When starting on your BCP, it is essential to prioritize your company's risk factors. Usually, these plans consist of five steps:
In-depth risk assessments
Identifying critical functions and creating recovery plans for each
Defining emergency roles
Documenting your plan
Testing the BCP regularly
At safemode IT, we believe that continuity is vital in the current business climate. We have a dedicated team to ensure our clients have the best backup systems and services available, and we believe that every business in Kyle, TX, needs to make sure they have a plan to keep their company up and running.
The Five Steps for Building a Business Continuity Plan
Creating a business continuity plan is an essential aspect of any business planning process and should be undertaken with utmost care and attention. Here are the five steps for building a BCP.
Step 1: Perform in-depth risk assessments
Identify your business's most significant risks and make a list of them. Then prioritize the list, putting the most important risk factors at the top, each with their recovery plan. The process of creating the risk factors and recovery plans for each should not be an overnight process. It will take some time and effort to make sure you get it right. The whole purpose of your BCP is to ensure that your business can continue without interruption, so do not skimp on this step. The entire process hinges on creating a complete list of critical functions and basing your recovery plan on the prioritization you place on each.
The list of potential disasters can be long, so have fun with this step and include everything you can think of. However, if possible, it would be best to avoid including unlikely events on the list because a false sense of security may result where people stop caring about response plans altogether.
Step 2: Identify critical functions and create recovery plans for each.
This step is the most time-consuming one, but it is also the most important one. You want to make sure that you have a recovery plan for each critical function in your company. What are essential functions? They are tasks or processes that are essential to your business's survival.
The more likely an emergency scenario is, the more effort that should go into planning for its recovery. For example, if you have a data center for your business, making sure that there is another location where you can put all of your equipment should be a high priority. How your company would function without this data center should also be considered.
Step 3: Define Emergency Roles.
This step is the plan's final draft and ensures everyone knows who needs to do what in case of an emergency. For example, if there is only one person on staff at the time of the incident, they will need to communicate with clients, vendors, partners, etc., while implementing the BCP. On the other hand, if multiple employees are present during an emergency, some may work temporarily for payroll services while others implement BCP functions. The point here is that you want to think about who does what when disaster strikes, so it helps to make a regularly updated list of all key roles and responsibilities.
One of the essential roles in a company is that of a "Business Continuity Manager" responsible for ensuring that all procedures and policies are implemented as outlined previously. It is also their job to handle direct communication with clients and other key stakeholders. They will be the first point of contact for people who need information about your protection measures and critical functions that you have identified.
Step 4: Document your Business Continuity Plan.
Documentation is by far one of the most critical steps in building a BCP. The documentation needs to be comprehensive and detailed enough to allow employees without experience or expertise to implement it successfully.
All plans should include an overview of how you would handle a disaster; procedures for calling employees; information on the location and use of backups; standard operating systems such as re-porting, contact lists, etc.; and document naming conventions. All documents should also be printed and stored at another facility that does not house other important company files. It allows for quick access to backup data if your primary storage area becomes unavailable.
The documentation process may seem like a lot of work, but it is entirely worth the effort.
Step 5: Test the Business Continuity Plan regularly.
The final step is to test your BCP. Testing saves money and time because it allows you to discover flaws in the plan before the actual disaster strikes. This means that you can make changes where they are needed before any actual harm is done by not having a solid recovery plan. It also shows employees exactly how they need to act in an emergency, which increases overall performance and efficiency.
Testing should be done on an annual basis or whenever there are significant policy changes within your company. There is no wrong time to run a test; however, every person involved needs to know what testing protocol has been established to follow through. By creating a business continuity plan and sticking to it, you can keep your business running smoothly in the event of a disaster.
Here at safemode IT, we believe that every business in Kyle, TX, needs to make sure they have a plan for such emergencies to not suffer damage or loss due to lack of preparation. If at all possible, small businesses should consider hiring a business continuity expert familiar with the local area to be sure their BCP is comprehensiv safemode IT believes that investing in a solid business continuity plan will keep your businesses running smoothly even after a disaster strikes.
If you need help setting up comprehensive business continuity plan, let's talk.