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4 Considerations for Building a Business Continuity Plan
As the number of man-made incidents and natural disasters increase, organizations have continuously re-defined their approach to business continuity and preparedness.
Organizational leaders must now understand that effective business continuity planning is imperative to operational resilience. But let’s face it, most organizations still build plans that remain static until needed, and others have become so focused on building a dynamic plan that realistic scenarios are under-represented. Where is the balance? How does an organization build an effective and efficient business continuity plan?
GET EVERYONE INVOLVED
At one point in time, business continuity was rooted in disaster recovery. Information technology departments lead preparedness initiatives with a primary focus on system recovery; however, operational objectives and critical business functions should shape business continuity plans, not technology. Many organizations begin their BC planning process by completing a Business Impact Analysis to identify critical functions with encouraged participation from internal stakeholders in various roles. It is not until those functions are identified and evaluated by key personnel that preparedness can holistically protect the business.
During a disruption, it is imperative that organizations exercise effective communication. As part of any business continuity plan, they must account for alternative methods of communication. Regular updates need to be accessible by all those impacted to ensure that everyone is delivering the same message, whether it be internally or externally. Incident Management and Emergency Notification platforms provide ways for organizations to streamline communication and the progress of the core responsibilities described in their continuity plans.
It is also common for organizations to solicit external resources to maintain business productivity. When preparing BC plans, it is important to keep open communication with those vendors to ascertain current contact information.
EDUCATE YOUR TEAM
While no one can control natural disasters and man-made incidents, organizations can control their response. Many post-event critiques confirm that education gained during business continuity-based exercises is the best way to prepare key personnel to effectively employ business continuity plans and respond to emergencies.
There are various types of exercises that can be used to identify deficiencies, clarify roles, identify responsibilities and increase awareness.
- Tabletop Exercises
- Functional Exercises
- Full-Scale Exercises
BE CLEAR. BE CONCISE. BE ACCURATE.
Developing a BC plan is not easy. The components of an effective and efficient plan can vary from organization to organization; however, business continuity professionals must internalize that an effective plan is succinct and continuous if nothing else. For many organizations, federal regulations require continuity plans to be audited which increases accuracy and accountability. But for those that aren’t, remember that no one wants to shuffle through a textbook of processes and procedures. Static plans are out of style, and team work makes the dream work.
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