A business continuity plan (BCP) describes a strategy or system for preventing and recovering from potential threats and attacks. The best plans include disaster recovery solutions as well as in-depth guidance on protecting assets and personnel when disaster strikes.
The benefits of implementing such a plan are plentiful, with the primary advantage being the ability to bounce back from a disaster with minimal damage. However, creating a sound business continuity plan can be easier said than done. For yours to be bulletproof, it must include the essential elements below:
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A Business Continuity Team
When creating your BCP, outline who in your team will handle the local or national fallout of an attack or disaster. In times of crisis, people need a leader – someone they can follow to receive guidance, instructions, and reassurance. If you have multiple business locations, establish key people in each area, and make sure they understand their roles and obligations if the time comes to implement your plan.
An Extensive Plan
A vague plan might give you and your employees a general idea of what you must do in the event of a disaster or attack, but a detailed and extensive business continuity plan can act as a step-by-step manual. Think about the disruptions that could occur in each department, and organize those issues from most important to least.
Once you have prioritized all operations, delegate tasks related to getting back on track to various people and facilities within your business. A monumental task like re-launching your business can suddenly look much more manageable when you break it down into departmental actions.
When you first create your BCP, all actionable tasks are relevant to your business and daily operations. However, that won’t always be the case. IT infrastructure, operational structures, services, and staff can all change.
Review, update, and test your plan frequently to ensure everything is up-to-date and relevant should you ever be required to put it to the test. Failure to keep your BCP current might result in an unactionable plan and a business that struggles to get back on track after a significant event.
Employee safety is likely a high priority in your business, so don’t forget to outline how you plan to protect your employees in your BCP. Local agencies like police and fire departments might be willing to provide your team with the training required to handle workplace emergencies during a natural disaster.
You might also see the value in organizing cyber security training to ensure your team knows how cyber-attacks happen and what steps they need to take should one occur. Include documents from all training sessions in your plan, including what your team has learned and how they can activate their knowledge.
Data Center Continuity
It’s important for your IT operations to continue even during a cyber attack or natural disaster. Make a plan for data center continuity in your BCP by developing an alternative solution to your main data center. Whether downtime is planned or unplanned, your team should be able to transition seamlessly from one data center to another.
The same goes for general access. Make a plan for how your team can access your business information if they can’t work in your central office. If you already have remote access established, access is one less thing to worry about.
A good business continuity plan can be crucial to a company’s ability to recover after a significant event like a natural disaster or cyber attack. If you don’t have a BCP, now is the time to create one.