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Key Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

In the event of an unplanned technology disruption, how confident are you in your business’ ability to respond quickly and recover fully? A modern disaster recovery plan is key to recovering critical data, but that’s not all you need to plan for. Today, let’s take a deep dive into business continuity planning and examine how your business can remain operational during a disaster. We will discuss what the key elements of a business continuity plan are, what critical functions need to be included and who needs to be on your BCDR team to make it successful.

Identify Risks and Business Impact

Where do the risks lie for your organization? Assessing and managing risks is critical for any business and a risk assessment can help identify which risks your organization should prepare for. From natural disasters to a malicious cyberattack or accidental error, you need to understand the probability of each risk type and enact safeguards to help avoid them.

Running a business impact analysis (BIA) will help you and your team gather the necessary information to better predict business disruption causes and effects and better identify and develop recovery strategies for your disaster recovery plan. This includes expenses, legal repercussions, revenue loss and any potential damage to your brand/business.

Identify Critical Functions

Start with an inventory and prioritization of which processes are critical and necessary to maintain and run your business in the event of an unplanned disruption. This could include security (both physical and information), payroll, communication systems and other core business functions. For each division of your organization, we recommend identifying acceptable recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) that will minimize the overall impact your business feels after a disruption.

Identify Roles and Responsibilities for Your Disaster Recovery Team

To best address an unplanned disruption or crisis, you need the right people in your business who can build and execute a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Unplanned downtime or crisis will impact all levels of your organization so developing a plan that takes into account every aspect of your business is crucial. Identify the roles and responsibilities of your team and get them involved in the planning and execution.

A Communication Strategy

When a disruption in your business occurs, how will you get in contact with your employees and customers? An effective and timely communication strategy can reassure your employees, and shareholders, that your business will respond quickly and recover. Make sure your business continuity plan comprises of a list of key internal contacts as well as third party vendors and suppliers.

Outside of your organization, how you communicate and when is vital to protecting the image of your brand and business. To prepare, have drafted press releases and social media posts ready to reach your users and keep them up to date.

Testing and Training

Without testing your business continuity plan, your plan is just theoretical. Start with a realistic scenario and test your plan and team through each step of the plan. This is the best way to identify gaps in your business continuity plan and identify changes needed when something changes inside your business. You would be surprised how often a BCDR plan gets pulled off the shelf in an emergency only to be outdated and have critical information missing. The more often you test your plan and iterate, the more effective and efficient your team will become.

If you want help developing a comprehensive business continuity plan, we can help. From assessments of your current environment and development of a business impact analysis to action planning and disaster simulation, our solutions architects are leaders in in this space and can help ensure your business will survive an unexpected outage. Contact us today to get started.