According to a research-based on Mercer’s Business Responses to the COVID-19 Outbreak Survey, 51% of firms worldwide do not have a business continuity strategy in the event of an emergency or disaster, such as the current coronavirus outbreak. Insights from nearly 300 businesses in 37 countries were provided in this research. According to the survey, 27.2 percent of businesses do not have a business continuity plan in place, while 23.8 percent are in the process of building one. So, if you do not have a Business Continuity Plan in place, your company and data are already in jeopardy. This post will teach you how to establish a successful business continuity plan with a comprehensive checklist to safeguard your assets.
What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
A business continuity plan is a well-developed system that protects an organization from potential risks while also assisting in its recovery.
This plan details how assets and workers will be protected in the case of a disaster, as well as how to continue operating regularly during the crisis. A business continuity plan (BCP) should include contingencies for human resources, assets, and business processes, as well as any other areas that could be impacted by downtime or failure. The plan must be developed ahead of time and includes feedback from all relevant stakeholders.
A business continuity plan is a critical component of a company’s risk management strategy. It should be kept up to date as technology and hardware/software evolve. Natural disasters, such as weather-related occurrences, floods, and fires, as well as cyber and virtual attacks, are common examples of these dangers. The BCP defines in advance all risks that may affect a company’s activities.
Basic Components of a Business Continuity Plan
A typical plan might comprise the following elements:
- Identifying and mitigating all potential hazards
- Determining the risk’s impact on the company’s routine activities
- Implementing risk-mitigation procedures and measures
- To ensure the procedures’ success, they must be tested.
- Constantly assessing processes to ensure they are up to date
After an organization has assessed and identified its risks, it must take the following steps:
- Recognize how these hazards will interfere with or affect operations.
- Put in place procedures and safeguards to reduce risks and provide quick responses
- Place systems for testing solutions to ensure they operate and for scheduling them
- Ensure that processes are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are up to date.
Checklist for Business Continuity Plan
A strong business continuity plan stands on a thorough understanding of the impact of a crisis on a company. A business continuity plan checklist includes specific procedures, which we have in detail below.
Prepare your comprehensive business continuity plan using these step-by-step checklists. When it comes to disaster recovery methods, each company will have a unique strategy based on geographical location, the organization’s structure, system, and settings, as well as the severity of the crisis in the issue.
#1. Gather the Planning Committee:
Implementing a BCP plan unquestionably necessitates a devoted staff. So, teams should be organized hierarchically, with distinct roles and recovery duties allocated to staff members who are held accountable for each.
#2. Creating the Business Continuity Plan:
One of the most critical aspects of a business continuity plan is strategy development. The plan’s objectives should be easy to understand and define targets accordingly. A business should take advantage of this chance to identify essential procedures and the personnel who will keep them functioning.
So to create the strategy, businesses must develop a list of all the potential disruptions to their operations. Identify important activities in daily business processes and develop viable disaster recovery procedures for each probable disaster scenario.
#3. Perform a Business Impact Analysis:
All potential dangers should be thoroughly assessed after they have been identified. A proper business impact analysis, often known as a BIA, should be in place. So, depending on the company’s structure and geographical location, extensive lists may be required.
Floods, hurricanes, fires, volcanoes, and even Tsunamis are examples of natural disasters. Aside from the natural disasters listed above, others have a significantly higher chance of occurring. Cyberattacks, downtime due to power outages, data corruption, system failures, hardware malfunctions, and other malicious risks to data security are examples of these. Read Also: Sales Report: How to Create a Good Sales Report
#4. Train and Educate:
Handling a business continuity plan necessitates knowledge beyond that of IT specialists and those skilled in cybersecurity. Companies at the high management level must put out the plan’s objectives, requirements, and important components in front of the entire team. So, create a comprehensive training program to assist the team in developing the necessary abilities.
#5. Isolate Sensitive Information:
Every organization deals with sensitive data that must be kept secure at all costs. When such data is compromised or exposed, it might mark the death of a business or organization. Data, such as financial records and other mission-critical information, such as user login passwords, must be in a convenient and easy-to-recover location. Store data in priority order based on its value to the business.
#6. Back up Important data
Every business has some vital data that is irreplaceable. As a result, every business continuity recovery or backup plan should involve the creation of duplicates of anything that cannot be replaced. In the case of a Managed Service Provider (MSP), this comprises files, data on customer and staff records, business correspondence, and so on. The framework in place should allow for a speedy recovery, allowing firms to recover from any crisis that strikes today.
#7. Safeguard Hard Copy Data
The primary focus of modern IT security solutions is electronic or digital data. There is still a massive volume of physical records that organizations must maintain on a regular basis.
A typical MSP, for example, entails working with a variety of tax paperwork, contracts, and employee files, all of which are as vital as the data on hard disks. Convert papers that can be digital copies to reduce physical document loss.
#8. Designate a Recovery Location:
Disasters have the potential to entirely destroy a company’s data center.
Hence, companies should plan for the worst-case scenario by establishing a secondary site that will serve as a backup for the original site. So, to ensure that business processes continue, the second site should be equipped with the necessary tools and systems for recovering impacted systems.
#9. Create a Communication Program
In times of crisis, internal communication is critical. Companies should consider creating sample messages ahead of time in order to expedite discussions with suppliers and partners during a crisis.
A detailed communication plan can help Business Continuity teams properly coordinate their operations.
#10. Testing, Measuring, and Updating
Every essential business program, including business continuity plans, should be tested and measured for effectiveness. Running simulations to test the team’s level of preparedness during a crisis should be part of the testing process. Also, you can make additional alterations according to the results.