Business continuity is more than just a phrase for data backup. A successful plan should provide a continuity roadmap and instructions for a business to recover after an incident.
Your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should be well thought out, documented, centrally located and distributed to every relevant staff member. Copies should also be stored off-site and centrally! If you’re not sure how to start putting together a strong plan, this blog can help.
Here are five things you should include in your BCP:
The response to the disaster will depend on the nature and extent of the incident. Some threats, particularly natural ones such as flooding can damage or destroy your data, where a virus may only disrupt the network. In order to ensure an effective Business Continuity Plan, you need to account for any possible threat that may arise, no matter how trivial it may seem.
You also need to keep these documents in paper form! There’s no point having your BCP stored on your internal systems where you can’t access them due to an incident.
There’s no point having a plan in place with no instructions. Who is going to oversee the plan? Who is responsible for what areas? What happens when they are unreachable? How do you contact them? All these questions need to be answered within your continuity plan and updated on a regular basis. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get through to someone as a matter of urgency and finding out they’ve changed their mobile number!
Similarly, you need to list your important suppliers and the contact details for each one, while also keeping this list updated. You’ve stored your data on a backup offsite, but where is it stored and where can you get it back from? Who supplies your electricity? Gas? Internet? Does the landlord need to be contacted?
All these questions (and probably many more) need answering in your BCP for it to be effective.
How are you going to contact your team if the systems are down? What happens if you have no Internet or telephone? Effective communication is vital in any business, especially if you’re managing a system failover, having a secondary line of communication in place could protect your business against further downtime.
So you know who is doing what and why they’re doing it, but what are they going to be doing? You need to list the step by step strategy for how you’re going to recover and restore business operations. From the initial assessment to monitoring and business aftercare.