A business continuity plan is vital to protect your organisation from unforeseen digital threats and uncontrollable mishaps. Cloud computing services allow for data to be mirrored at various different sites within the cloud’s network. As a result of this, business continuity is strengthened through simple disaster recovery and data backup.
To find out more about the role of a business continuity plan, read our blog post explaining everything you need to know.
Before you can delve deeper into the things you can apply to your business from this checklist, it’s important to first understand what a business continuity plan is and if you need one. By understanding exactly what this plan is and if your business needs one, you can have a better understanding of what you need to apply from our checklist.
As digital transformation specialists, we have put together a comprehensive checklist for developing an effective business continuity plan. Featuring insights from an industry leader, businesses can now develop a plan to suit their company needs.
1. Initialise the Project
First of all, you need to identify and outline your business’ main goals and what it is you are hoping to achieve from the business continuity plan.
This should be done in detail and should cover the entirety of the business; including expected outcomes, budget and all of the areas and departments that will be covered. Preparation, research and training time should also be reviewed, along with any other materials or costs.
Think about the resources you have and how you will utilise these to store data and preserve critical business functions. Think about the processes, systems and software that you rely on to keep the business running, along with who uses them.
2. Gather Teams and Establish Structure
It is a good idea to create teams to cover specific areas that will work together in the event of a disaster or emergency. Decide who will do what, so that everybody is aware of their role to avoid any confusion during implementation.
In order to be as efficient as possible, they should provide their contact information as well as identifying any reserve or backup team members.
We recommend the following structure:
- BCP Executive Manager – this person will be the leader of the plan, providing the much-needed link between higher management and the rest of the BCP team.
- Programme coordinator – the role of this individual will include budgeting, developing and monitoring of the business continuity plan. This person will also enforce quality assurance.
- Information officer – this individual will be responsible for ensuring a smooth, ongoing process of the plan. They will also have to collate the data to be used in the BCP.
- Representatives from various departments – these people are ideal for providing input and relevant information. They may assist with the analysis of the BCP data, and consists of representatives for every crucial function.
All shared and individual responsibilities should also be recorded to avoid confusion as these teams will look after the BCP from start to finish. By establishing a clear structure for your business continuity plan, you are able to achieve order and control.
3. Business Impact Analysis
It is essential to conduct business impact analysis which effectively assesses the impact that any potential threats could have on the business. By doing so, members of the BCP team will be able to effectively predict the potential consequences of business operations.
Having a detailed analysis will help you to plan for a number of occasions, such as a cyberattack or a natural disaster that could result in an outage or loss of connection. This analysis will allow you to plan exactly how long it will take to get critical business functions back up and running in the event of a disaster.
This analysis will highlight the crucial elements and functions of a business, allowing higher management to gain a better understanding of what areas need more resources in the unfortunate event of an emergency.
4. Conduct a plan to Maintain Business Operations
You should create a series of plans to help maintain business operations, including a prevention strategy, a response strategy and a recovery strategy. These series of plans will be vital in allowing you to prepare properly for the before, during and after of potential threats.
This should include any steps you will take to prevent a disaster from happening and ultimately disrupting critical business functions.
This should include your plan of action in the event that a disaster occurs, detailing how you will resolve any negative impact on the business.
A disaster recovery plan should include any measures taken to ensure that the business returns to normality. You should also put in place a recovery time objective.
5. Test and Analyse your Plan
It is also wise to test out some of the crucial aspects of your disaster plan to ensure that it works thoroughly and is effective. When testing, ensure you’re reporting on any critical outcomes that may come out of the drills.
By conducting a number of tests, this will enable you to see if there are any flaws or issues in your plans and will give you the time and opportunity to evaluate and rectify these before a real-life disaster potentially strikes.
This will ensure that your plan works across all departments and areas and will provide reassurance to the entire business. In turn, this may also increase workplace morale and levels of productivity.
It’s Time to Develop your Business Continuity Plan
If you need assistance in implementing a business continuity plan to your company, or you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us. We will endeavour to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to develop an effective and streamlined business continuity plan.