How to Compose a Successful Business Continuity Plan
If you don’t consider the worst-case scenario when preparing your business’ disaster recovery strategy, you’ll inevitably suffer from it when it does happen. Taking into account all of these nuances is one of the main ways your organization can prepare for such an occasion. All of these instances need to be considered when putting together your organization’s business continuity plan. We’ll discuss some of the major parts of it, and why they are crucial.
To make sure that your business continuity plan is as effective as possible, you’ll want to be comprehensive. If you’re not, chances are that a disaster will still cause issues for you, whether it’s data loss or an inability to access important applications. A complete business continuity plan will consider the following information:
- Threat Matrix: What kind of threats will your business be targeted by? This shouldn’t be limited to just simple threats that can be prevented with little-to-no effort. You should consider all threats, from the smallest viruses to the most devastating vulnerabilities. Treat each and every one of these possible threats as major problems that need to be addressed in some way.
- Critical Processes: The next step is to identify what your workflows are and who is accomplishing them. What processes does your business absolutely need to keep going in a worst-case scenario? You should be able to both identify these and ensure that they can happen with minimal interruption.
- Command Chain: Who are your mission-critical personnel? Who is in charge in the event of a disaster? You should designate someone as the leader in these situations and make sure that everyone knows it. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of chaos taking over.
- Employee Safety and Evacuation: Employees are essential to the success of your business. If you don’t take their safety into consideration, you could be risking the future of your business. You should have an evacuation plan in place to keep them safe.
- Communication Plan and Contact Information: If you experience a disaster, everyone involved with your company will want to know. You should inform them of what’s happening and give them a timeframe for how long you suspect it to last. You should also have a plan in place to update them on major developments during this time.
- Backup Processes and Location: Do you have an off-site location where operations can continue uninterrupted? Is your data being backed up to an off-site location where it can be safe from external factors? In the event your office and internal data infrastructure is destroyed, you’ll want to have both of these to keep your organization going.
- Inventory and Infrastructure: Your business’ infrastructure is full of moving parts. This includes hardware and software. You’ll need to make sure that any and all assets that your organization takes advantage of are accounted for. Having an inventory helps you assess a loss scenario when it comes time to order replacements or file insurance claims.
- End of Incident Criteria: You should have clearly defined terms that determine when your business is outside the realm of a disaster incident. You can start by creating a list of conditions that need to be fulfilled before declaring that your organization is no longer suffering from an incident. This keeps you from beginning the recovery process prematurely, potentially causing more damage in the long run.
- Post-Incident Debriefing: Once you’re in the clear, you should take some time to determine why the incident happened and how it could have been prevented. Consider ways that you can improve processes and reduce damage the next time something like this happens (and yes, there will always be a next time). You should put together a questionnaire for all of your contacts so that you can get objective feedback regarding the disaster scenario.
Does your business need a business continuity plan? MERIT Solutions can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.