Getting started on business continuity planning

If you’re in the starting phase of developing a business continuity plan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let that slow you down—there’s lots of information from those who’ve come before from you to draw from. In talking to many BC/DR planners over the years, we’ve come up with some of these tips:

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel but instead use the Internet, your industry colleagues, and people in your own organization for information. Attend industry events and gather information and recommendations from other participants.
  • Keep it simple and don’t get bogged because you’re trying to create the perfect plan or one that is too long and complicated. If you keep in mind your plan needs to be easy for everyone in your company to understand and use, you’ll develop a more realistic format.
  • Encourage stakeholders to have input in and ownership of the plan, especially the parts that relate directly to their departments. You’re going to have to call on various people throughout the organization to get a clear understanding of how an interruption could influence their department; the information you get back will be invaluable in forming your overall plan.
  • Stretch your BC planning budget by using assets such as other offices, co-location facilities, and making plans for employees to work from home or even a hotel if your location is compromised.
  • 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.
  • Once you get a plan, keep it current. 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.
  • Make it a habit to review your plan when the organization 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

For more information on best practices in BC/DR planning, download the brief today.