Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Template (20-page Word document). A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a plan to continue operations if a place of business is affected by different levels of disaster which can be localized short term disasters, to days long building wide problems, to a permanent loss of a building. Such a plan typically explains how the [read more]
4 Tips for Building a Business Continuity Plan
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In today’s world, businesses face unprecedented levels of risk as they go online and rely more on technology.
For instance, a cyberattack can cause downtime due to software incompatibility or system glitches. In particular, cyberattacks can lead to downtime in production systems, resulting in lost revenue and sales opportunities. In fact, according to Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is USD$4.35 million in 2022. The costs can include lost customer trust and business opportunities, legal fees, and fines from regulatory agencies.
For this reason, many businesses seek out the best IT services in Chicago to handle the day-to-day operations of their computer systems, along with virtual teams. However, besides cyberattacks, other risks like natural disasters or pandemics could cause widespread disruptions.
The best way for businesses to prepare for these potential disasters is by conducting business continuity planning. A business continuity plan is a set of steps taken by organizations to ensure continuity of operations during times of crisis or disaster.
That said, read the tips below to learn how to build a business continuity plan.
1. Analyze Potential Threats
It’s crucial to develop a business continuity plan to address potential threats that may impact an organization’s ability to perform its operations. Threats can come from various sources, including natural disasters, losing key personnel, and cyber security breaches. The plan should provide instructions for how the organization can continue its operations following a disaster.
For instance, you may consider hiring IT services, such as https://steadynetworks.com/santa-fe-it-support/, to protect your IT infrastructure and provide adequate support during and after a disaster. Nonetheless, the primary step to remember when developing a business continuity plan is to analyze all the potential threats facing your organization. Then, determine how likely those threats may occur.
Once you’ve identified your most pressing threats, it’s time to develop a plan for addressing them. Your business continuity plan should include both physical measures and technical measures. These physical and technical measures are used to protect critical systems from damage. With that, your organization can continue operating without interruption when an actual event occurs.
2. Identify Critical Processes
To build a business continuity plan, you must identify the critical processes for your organization’s continued operation. You should prioritize these processes based on their importance to your organization’s success and how easily they can be replaced or transferred to another site if necessary.
To identify critical processes, you must thoroughly understand the business’s current operations. And that’ll often include information about its customers and clients and its operations within the organization itself. This knowledge can help determine which processes are important enough to be considered critical.
Once you’ve identified which processes are most critical to your company’s success, you can prioritize them based on their importance and ease of replacement or transfer in an emergency. You may also want to consider what would happen if one or more processes went down during a disaster. Thus, make sure that there’s an adequate backup for each operation you listed. That way, they can keep operating without interruption until they recover from whatever has caused them to stop working properly.
3. Plan an Emergency Response
Planning an emergency response is another step toward building a business continuity plan. The details of your response action will help you determine how to respond if a crisis or emergency occurs.
One way to start planning an emergency response is by researching what your company does and how it operates. Notably, before creating a response plan, you should find out as much as possible about your customers and their problems with your company.
Once you have gathered all this information, create a list of possible responses. And that should include things like alerting team members via email or phone call; contacting customers via email; closing operations if necessary; and notifying local officials if needed. You should carefully consider each response based on its impact on team members, customers, and other parties involved in your organization’s operations.
4. Test the Business Continuity Plan
There’s no guarantee that a plan will work as intended. Hence, the best way to find out if it does is to try it and see what happens.
One way to test your plan is by simulating a crisis scenario. To prepare for unexpected disasters and keep your business running, you can simulate emergencies through tabletop exercises or videos. You might even want to run a mock disaster drill during regular business hours to identify any weaknesses before they become real problems.
It’s also important to regularly monitor each aspect of your plan to evaluate its effectiveness. Be consistent with your original vision so that everything flows together smoothly when the time comes to take action.
All in all, building a business continuity plan is crucial in ensuring your enterprise can function in an emergency. It’ll help you avoid costly downtime while repairing and a time-consuming rebuilding process after a disaster. You can use the tips above to help you build a reliable business continuity plan.
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About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
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