Business Continuity Plan Checklist
Business Continuity Planning is fundamental to identifying an organizations exposure to both internal and external pressure. By planning, you will also be effectively synthesizing assets to further provide security in prevention and recovery of your business. When running your own small business or company, you must maintain a competitive structural system in place, as well as valuable system integrity. Another name for Business Continuity is Business Continuity and Resiliency Planning or BCRP.
Business continuity plans are truly mandatory to keep a company alive and thriving. These plans are simple guidelines for the continuation of operations under difficult conditions. The government in the United States refers to the process as the Continuity of Operations Planning or COOP.
There are so many variables that can negatively impact your business’s method operations. For all the factors that can potentially ruin your infrastructure, risk management is an essential source that needs to be incorporated as a major part of your business continuity plan.
Create and Collaborate
The first step in the creation and collaboration of a successful and efficient business continuity plan is to start the analysis phase. An analysis phase largely consists of impact and threat scrutiny along with potential impact scenarios. What is abbreviated as BIA is business impact analysis which generally has two main objectives. A business impact analysis separates the urgent and the non-urgent activities and functions of your company.
Recovery Point Objective
There are two values assigned when beginning the process of business impact analysis. The first is to enforce a RPO or recovery point objective. Recovery Point Objectives are basically the adequate latency of information that will not be recovered. The second objective is the RTO. RTO stands for Recovery Time Objective and simply implicates the suitable sum of time that is acceptable to reinstate the task at hand. It is vital to ensure that the absolute most tolerable loss of information is assessed for each activity with the purpose to avoid exceeding the goal.
Recovery Time Objective
The objective of RTO or Recovery Time Objective is solely to ensure that the time period stays within a tolerable and professional level. Impact analysis is truly a direct outcome of both the business requisites for the resurgence of the vital function that the business may offer. Technical requirements for enhancement of your business are the revival of the crucial function your company provides to consumers.
Evaluate Your Business
The next step on the checklist for a business continuity plan is evaluating and meticulously analyzing each possible threat that may necessitate the creation of a recovery program. Many of the most frequent forms of threats to your business are earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes or tornados, and theft among many others. A theft can ruin your livelihood that you have invested into your business due to the fact that a criminal break-in can possibly take important information and confidential files and materials from your company.
Once you and your staff have defined any potential threats, a collaboration of individuals creates impact scenarios that will eventually lead to the final product of your successful Business Continuity Plan. There is truly no way no way to think of every possible issue that may arise, it is still practical to over-plan for any tragic business conflict that may arise. Typical impact scenarios cover the most significant functions of a business.
Take Inventory of Assets
After you and your business complete the analysis phase, the business and technical related recovery obligations should proceed to the solutions segment. Taking inventory of your business assets permit the speedy recognition of utilized resources. Identify your emergency budget. This is basically your estimation determined by the potential costs of downtime or even total business shut down. After the completion of your analysis phase, business owners should move on to the next stage called solution design. The solution design essentially identifies the utmost in budget friendly disaster recovery. These solutions for disaster recovery are forced to meet two central necessities from the impact examination phase.
Implement Your Plan
The next step to check off of your Business Continuity Plan Checklist is the implementation phase which affects policy evolvement, product acquisitions, along with staff and the testing of employees. Testing employees is necessary in order to gain organization as well as ensure the recovery demands set into place. Though testing is a cumbersome and rather frustrating undertaking for the test taker, it is simply a process most companies require for lower turnover rates and longer term employees that are competent and diligent.
External Reserve Facilities
As a business owner, you should be prepared for disasters at all times. For instance, your company should have a reserved facility other than the main business’s office. This is helpful in cases of natural disasters or even power outages. Though it is only an alternate facility, it still is obligatory for your business to have particular necessities such as electricity, internet access, and running water.
Additional Communication Sources
Just as with the previously mentioned alternative facility, an alternate source of communication is not an option. Investing in an additional source of communication is mandatory if you consider the factors. Without means of communication in times of crisis, your business cannot call or receive phone calls or emails which mean you have no access to your customers. In turn, this minor investment in an emergency source of outside communication will save you money after the small investment you make to put it in place.
Recent Contact List
Additionally it is vital to keep an organized contact list. This employee and customer contact list should stay up to date. Ensure that your employees will know where to receive information and valuable data and updates about when or if they can return to work. This is also quite crucial in the case that your business would have to move locations. Employees will need to be easily reached so as not to be left in the dark. It is highly suggested that you produce both written and typed secure records of your business contacts. Besides your personnel and clients, be sure to factor into your contact list any vendors or companies that you typically conduct business with. Ensure that your business associates and vendor partners also have possession of a documented plan that will meet both of your needs in a time of crisis. Do not forget to keep this documentation current by reviewing it periodically. The same idea applies to employees. Keep track of changes in phone number and addresses so you will always be capable of reaching when you have vital information to share.
Secure and Accessible Client Information
Having and maintaining secured and reliable access to your customer’s data is yet another must. Client information is integral to the success of your business. You must do everything possible to get to this data in case of the inaccessibility of the main office. However, when setting up your client information to be accessible remotely, always be sure to utilize secure encryption technology.
Remote Access Point
After creating a remote source of accessing client and employee records, always test the ability of your program. The last thing you and your company can afford is to purchase the assistance of a remote accessible system, only to find out when the emergency does occur that the system does not work properly or at all.
Your Business During Disaster Recovery
Though the multiple steps in a business continuity plan checklist seem like work and just too much, when a disaster strikes, you will receive more than just figurative compensation for being prepared. After all, if you have no communication with clients or personnel, there is no money to be made. You may even assume that you could easily cut such programs from your business’s budget to save money. This is a huge mistake. The costs of securing your business’s continuity directly affect your company’s finances. With a secure system in place, your business will spend minute sums on the preservation and continuity of your business, as opposed to waiting for a disaster to strike. In that type of case, there is no doubt that the benefits significantly outweigh the small price of ensuring your livelihood and that of your employees who depend on you.
When catastrophe comes unexpectedly, you will at least be prepared. A business absolutely must protect their staff and continue critical operations in order to support the local community and maintain regular clients. Your responsibility as a business leader requires you to fully understand the significance of a solid strategic continuity plan. Business continuity planning should directly focus on the multiple facets of your business and livelihood.
The purpose of a Business Continuity Plan is to ensure the recovery of your company’s technology and process that are required for you and your staff to operate in times of unforeseeable complications. By doing so, your business may continue its normal operations while some other competitors in your local business may not have the same advantage. This advantage could pay off financially if you are one of the few businesses in your area offering those services. Lastly, it is recommended that you coordinate a plan with external companies and even local government officials so that all possible parties involved have a clear understanding of their specific role in the security of your business.