Essentials of a Business Continuity Plan

Apr 4, 2022 | Uncategorized

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An unexpected emergency can wipe out your business. A business continuity plan can help it survive. But, what should a good business continuity plan cover?

A List of Key Contacts
One of the most important elements in your business continuity plan is a list of all your important contacts who should be informed of the disaster. This can include all your C-level execs, HR managers, IT Manager, client facing managers, customers and vendors.

If you store these digitally, say in Outlook or a CRM tool, there are likely export options where you can print this information to a list or spreadsheet. Set a reminder to update these lists and provide digital and paper copies to key people in your organization.

A Comprehensive List of IT Inventory
Your business continuity plan should contain a list of all the software, apps and hardware that you use in the daily operations of your business. This list should identify each of those as critical or non-critical and mention details pertaining to each of them such as:

  • The name of the app/software
  • Version/model number (for software/hardware)
  • Vendor name and contact information for each of them
  • Warranty/support availability details
  • Contact information for customer support for these hardware/apps
  • Frequency of usage

As you add new software and equipment, be sure to update any existing lists.

Backup Information
Data backups are critical to your disaster recovery and so your business continuity plan should include information about data backups. It should mention how often data is backed up, in what formats and where. It should also mention what data backups are available–ideally, you should be backing up ALL data already!

What is your Plan B?
Make sure your business continuity plan lists a backup operations plan that will come into play in the event of a disaster. Examples include alternative workflows such as options to work remotely or to allow employees to bring their own devices to work (BYOD) until the time regular business premises or systems are ready. What access will personal devices be allowed and how will you ensure security of systems in use? If a resource is unavailable, how will you work around that?

Floor Plans and Location
Your business continuity plan should also include floor plans of your offices with the exit and entry points clearly marked up so they can be used in the event of any emergency. It should also mention the location of data centers, phones, key IT systems and related hardware.

Posting evacuation routes in various locations of the building is recommended as is ensuring all employees are aware of the routes. Consider staging drills periodically to practice if you are in a space that might present difficulties in rapid exit in an emergency. Are there people in the office who may require special assistance in an evacuation?

Process Definition
Make sure your business continuity plan defines the SOPs to be followed in the event of an emergency. What systems will need to be secured? What items will need to be taken off site? Where are copies of key information kept? What is the order of items to address and by whom? How will communication work?

Think business continuity planning is too complicated? Don’t give up! Many small businesses, don’t create a business continuity plan thinking it is too big a job. But this can prove fatal to your business later. A qualified MSP can help you understand business continuity planning and even help you create a business continuity plan that’s best suited for your business.

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