7 Business Continuity Planning Actions You Must Take in the New Year

Business continuity planning is a critical aspect of disaster recovery. It takes into account the preparedness needs of an organization should a disruptive, often surprising, event occur. Whether the unexpected event is a tropical storm or power outage, taking the time to plan for risks can help minimize business interruption costs, improve resiliency and safety, as well as help keep critical resources informed and on the same page.

Included below are the necessary actions an organization should take to make sure they have an effective, dynamic business continuity plan in place for 2014:

  1. Management Support. When a disaster strikes, every employee needs to believe in the values, skills, and direction set-forth by upper management. Building a common base of understanding with regard to business continuity planning is very important at all levels and will keep an organization’s resiliency efforts intact.
     
  2. Business Impact Analysis. The Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is the first tool needed out of the “continuity toolbox.” This analysis quantifies and qualifies the potential impacts of a loss from a critical functions point of view. It addresses the “What now?” scenario right out of the gate.
     
  3. Risk Assessment. This exercise is extremely important as it identifies potential risks and evaluates these threats/risks from both an internal and external perspective. If done correctly, it also prioritizes potential dangers.
     
  4. Action Plan. The results gleaned from the BIA and Risk Assessment will assist you with creating an action plan capable of returning you to full operation post-event as quickly as possible. This plan will let your employees, vendors, and clients know exactly what to do if an emergency brings business to a stand-still.
     
  5. Crisis Management. Employees will play a vital role in recovery. A capable crisis team should be identified and engaged during planning to:
  • Lead mobilization efforts during an “event”
  • Stabilize the situation to the best of their collective abilities
  • Communicate important updates internally and externally
  • Control and organize recovery efforts.
  1. Training. This task should be ongoing. Educating employees and training them in their areas of responsibility is very important. Evacuation exercises, full scale response scenarios, safety drills, etc. will help identify what aspects of your plan work and which ones don’t. “Practice Makes Perfect” in other words. It is also important to ensure that your emergency response partners are kept in the loop and are familiar with your organizations’ layout, business functions, critical equipment and expectations.
     
  2. Maintenance and Testing. Just as life is dynamic and fluid, so should be an organization’s BCP. Regular testing, management, and updating of the plan should happen regularly. Business Continuity Planning should never be considered a task complete…it is a constant, ongoing process to keep your recovery plan current and relevant.

Having reviewed the necessary components of an effective, dynamic business continuity plan, in the next segment we will explore the specifics of the Business Impact Analysis (BIA).