When thinking about business continuity, oftentimes the first question that comes to mind is: How will my business recover from a disaster?
When you think ‘disaster’ you may be thinking of hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes but there are other threats that persist, like pandemics, or security threats, like ransomware.
Business continuity planning forces organizations to think about everything that could go wrong, and during a crisis is not the time to start trying to develop a plan!
Let’s walk through how to start thinking about business continuity and how to formulate a Resiliency Plan.
Types of Disasters
- Natural disasters: hurricanes, fires, earthquakes
- Medical disasters: epidemics, and pandemics
- Man-made disasters: wars, power grid failures, cyber attacks
Business continuity management revolves around an organization’s business processes and does not necessarily include related fields, such as emergency management, disaster recovery and crisis management.
It’s not enough to have a Business Continuity Plan for a single event anymore. The complexity requires a multi-layered manual that identifies critical pieces of infrastructure and access to data. It must address how your organization will function if those pieces were unavailable.
While it is okay to focus on common events your area may experience, if you truly want to build a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, you need to plan for any eventuality and base your plan on the unavailability of specific resources whether that’s people, applications, infrastructure, physical locations, and more.
Now, it’s time to build a plan. If you already have a Business Continuity Plan, you may want to walk through these steps and update as deemed necessary for your operations. Feel free to download the Ultimate Guide to Business Continuity Planning and learn more from our Enacting a Business Continuity Plan & Lessons Learned blog.
1. Establish Vision
Figure out what you’d like to accomplish, and what your plan is expected to cover.
- Perform a current state analysis: document your business’ operations.
- Reduce risk and develop an actionable business recovery and resiliency plan.
- Revise policies and procedures to define how those will be implemented in the case of a disaster. Ensure that they are readily accessible.
- Train staff on what to do when critical disasters strike. While these may not be life-threatening or immediately damaging, it’s important for your staff to know how to respond.
Test the resiliency of the plan and your staff’s knowledge by performing an annual simulation.
Continuously improve and update the plan by adding new applications and operational changes. The annual simulation is the perfect time to improve upon and update your Business Continuity Plan.
Developing, maintaining and updating a Business Continuity Plan is essential in protecting your assets from a disaster.