According to DRI International, business continuity management is a
“Holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations those threats, if realized, might cause, and which provides a framework for building organizational resilience with the capability of an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.”
To summarize that long definition, BCM is preparing for the worse by having a plan set in place in case of any emergencies to protect the company both internally and externally while minimizing monetary loss.
Here is a simple guide to help you create your business continuity plan:
Step 1: Business impact analysis
Conducting a business impact analysis will predict the consequences of some sort of threat. By knowing what could happen, you are then able to plan for recovery strategies, along with investing in prevention practices. There are many impacts to consider from a BIA, a few of which are:
- Lost sales and income
- Delayed sales or income
- Increased expenses
- Customer dissatisfaction or defection
Step 2: Recovery strategies
First step of recovery strategies is to figure out what resources your company needs at this time. This is often determined by business function and process managers with a business continuity resource worksheet. Resources can include:
- Office space, furniture and equipment
Recovery strategies encompass production and operational processes. Strategies can include:
- Shifting production from one facility to another
- Reallocating existing inventory, repurchasing or buyback of inventory
- Contracting third parties
- Offering a paper back up for technology placed orders
- Purchasing business interruption insurance
Step 3: Plan development
Your business continuity plan should be made up of three components:
- Overall framework: This should include business continuity and IT disaster recovery procedures.
- Recovery teams: Teams made up of executive sponsors and senior management advisory boards are more successful.
- Relocation plans: Cafeterias, conference rooms and training rooms can be converted into office space.
Step 4: Testing & exercises
You’ve done your research, you have your strategies and plans in place and now it is time to test them. By developing regular testing and maintenance requirements, you are sure to know your business continuity plan will work out.
While testing your plan, be aware of what worked and what didn’t. Learn from your exercises and incorporate these findings into your business continuity plan.
Check out our recent blog post, the challenges of incident response plans and procedures, which outlines common mishaps and offers advice to avoid them. During an emergency, the last thing you want to worry about is your business continuity plan.