Business Continuity Planning Is Worth the Effort
Break Down Plan into Manageable Segments
Business continuity management (BCM) helps a business prepare and plan for how it will recover in the aftermath of a disaster. Business continuity planning requires time and effort from all areas of the business, but in the long run, having a business continuity plan (BCP) in place can help reduce loss, save lives and speed recovery after a major emergency.
Start the business continuity and disaster recovery planning process by breaking down the plan into several sections and working on one section at a time-beginning with establishing policies and determining risks.
Establish policy and organizational structure
- Create a BCM policy statement
- Create a BCM team with designated roles and responsibilities appoint a BCM coordinator to lead the team and manage the plan
- Identify hazards, risks and assets
- Conduct business impact analysis and risk assessment (hazard identification, probability of occurrence, impact analysis)
- Assess and inventory resources, assets and capabilities throughout the company
- Focus on preventive measures to minimize risk of disasters and emergencies
Prepare in advance
- Designate and stock an Emergency Command Center with emergency supplies (first aid supplies, battery powered radios, nonperishable food, water, etc.)
- Establish emergency communications systems and plans
- Develop relationships with community organizations needed during an emergency such as fire, police and hospitals.
Establish mutual aid agreements with other facilities or businesses similar to yours
- Create evacuation plans and routes include planning for individuals with disabilities.
- Protect physical assets and vital records
- Ensure continuity of computer operations by taking steps in advance to protect both hardware and software
- Establish a media relations plan to help disseminate information to your customers, partners and the public
- Gather information and identify resources for crisis preparedness
Create an action plan for the emergency
- Establish policies and procedures to activate the emergency command center, alert and warn personnel, receive and process emergency calls
- Implement the emergency preparedness plan activate alarms and notify officials; alert, evacuate, shelter and account for personnel; activate emergency communications; close the office and shut down operations.
- Document the emergency and all actions taken
Develop a recovery plan
- Conduct pre-emergency recovery analysis and planning prioritize actions to recover from an emergency
- Establish policies and procedures to conduct damage assessment, salvage operations, activate recovery communications and provide employee support
Test your plan and train your employees
- Conduct pre-training for the BCM team and employees
- Create policies and procedures for training, tests and drills of your plans
- • Testing your plan should start small such as tabletop exercises and culminate into a full exercise of all your plans
- • Document test activities and result.
Keep your plan current
- Audit your plan at least once a year. Review and identify areas to update, assess the chain of command, and evaluate resources, employee knowledge and awareness.
- Update your plan whenever there are new operations, processes equipment or materials; you change or add new sites or building layouts; you change or add new vendors; or there are major business deals such as mergers or acquisitions.
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