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Tips and best practices for business continuity planning

As you begin creating your organization’s business continuity plan, be sure to draw on the experience of others who’ve already succeeded at the task. Here are some best practices gathered from lessons learned over the years:

  • Don’t cut corners. You must continually exercise and evaluate your plan to keep it current, viable and focused on the right priorities. Do your homework, perform thorough data gathering and analysis, and consider as many potential risks and scenarios as possible.
  • Keep it simple and don’t get stuck because you’re trying to create the perfect plan or make one that is too long and complicated. Make it easy for everyone in your company to understand and use
  • Stretch your business continuity planning budget by using assets such as other offices and co-location facilities
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel but instead use the Internet, your industry colleagues, and people in your own organization for information
  • Plan exercises at convenient times, like when your IT department is doing scheduled maintenance anyway
  • Practice your plan frequently and involve fellow staff who’ve survived disasters. Use meaningful scenarios and practice at least two or three times per year
  • Allow your stakeholders to have input to and ownership of the plan, especially the parts that relate directly to their departments.
  • Review your plan when your organization makes changes, like a software update on a critical server or when a member of the business continuity team leaves the company
  • Make business continuity planning part of your company culture with signs and email reminders so your company will be ahead of the game when an actual event occurs.