Here’s a rhetorical question… When is the best time to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm? (BEFORE it strikes). If you weren’t dealing with the busy hurricane season directly, you probably had at least a passing thought about your business continuity plans. The good news is — like holiday shopping — there’s time: hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30. So, for those marginally impacted or fortunate enough to escape unscathed, now is good time to reflect on your preparedness.
To avoid any confusion on the subject, the definition of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) are those preparations focused on maintaining continuous operations even in the event of a emergency. They typically involve communication plans, alternative work sites, system failover/redundancy, and any number of “contingencies”. Compromises like operating in a reduced capacity can be an option based on the agreed risk acceptance of the company. Disaster Recovery Plans (DRPs) are invoked at the point that BCPs fail and the business is interrupted beyond what is acceptable in the BCP.
While the process my vary based on the size and risk profile of your business, you can develop a sound BCP by including these four main phases:
– Project Scope and Planning (Who will be involved in the organization’s planning and execution?)
– Business Impact Assessment (What are the priorities of the business? What are the risks and impacts?)
– Continuity Planning (What strategies, provisions, processes and assets will be invoked?)
– Approval and Implementation (Approval, training, testing, implementation and maintenance of the plan)
These documents are fairly straightforward to create. If you’d like templates for any or all of these documents, email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to send them along.
Olin Wise is a Product & Technology partner in TechCXO’s Atlanta office. See his full bio here.