Developing a business continuity plan can be a significant challenge. (To say nothing of putting one in place.) But no matter whether it’s your first attempt or is old hat, there’s something to be said for the value of learning from those who’ve gone before you.
Consider these best practices from experts with years of experience under their belts.
Business continuity is a process, not a “tick them off and you’re done” checklist. There’s no quick and easy way to properly assess risk and impacts, develop mitigation strategies, implement your program and test it to make sure it works.
Risk analysis, in particular, needs to be thorough. Don’t skimp on data-gathering and analysis, and try to consider as many potential risks and scenarios as you can. Many organizations think that once they’ve got a list of a dozen or so threats, they’re good—but the reality is there’s a lot more out there that can lead you into trouble. Dig deep enough and long enough to find it.
Similarly, you need to constantly evaluate and revise your plan to make sure it’s up to date and focused on the right priorities. A plan that was perfect three years ago may be completely inadequate now.
It’s easy to get carried away trying to implement an organization-wide BC/DR plan all at once, or thinking you have to plan for every conceivable scenario.
In a word: don’t. Putting BC/DR in place can be a huge culture shift, so prepare yourself for a long and laborious process. You’ll have an easier time managing and prioritizing all the moving parts if, a) you break down your larger plan into smaller projects, and b) you create classes of scenarios that cover the basics for handling most situations.
Remember, too, that your plan will likely be obsolete by the time you publish it, let alone fully implemented. Splitting your plan into implementation phases will help you shift and adapt as changing circumstances require it.
And most of all, resist the temptation to publish a 90-page document full of jargon and buzzwords. Nobody will read it—especially in a crisis. Keep it as short as you can.
Want more best practices? Our next post will continue on the subject, and you can learn more with The Definitive Guide to Business Continuity Planning. Interested in finding the best emergency notification system? Download the Automated Notification System RFP Template.