No company is immune to disasters. Disruptions can occur out of nowhere and have crippling consequences for organisations of any size.
The impact can be catastrophic, from losing productivity and revenue to damaging reputations and customer relationships. That is, if you are unprepared! In such situations, business continuity planning becomes very critical.
Business Continuity Planning is the process of creating a plan to ensure that business processes can continue in the event of a major interruption.
Business Continuity Planning aims to minimize the impact of an interruption on the business. The plan should identify the critical functions of the business and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that these functions can continue in the event of an interruption.
The Complete Business Continuity Checklist
Below we have summed up the points on which our business continuity checklist is based. Be aware that you can use this as a starting point for a comprehensive preparedness plan. Disaster recovery strategies, however, will vary depending on each organisation’s particular structure, systems and environments, even geographical location, as well as the severity and nature of the disaster situation.
Assemble the team
Business continuity is undoubtedly the type of project that warrants its squad. Build your team with the hierarchy in mind, so each member knows their roles and which recovery tasks they are accountable for. Ideally, this team will address all of your BC plans, from preparation to execution.
Draw up the plan
In any business continuity planning process, it is essential to have a clear and concise plan in place. This plan must be designed to protect the company and its employees in the event of an unexpected interruption to normal business operations. The plan should be comprehensive yet easy to follow and implement.
There are many factors to consider when developing a business continuity plan. The first step is to identify the company’s critical functions and operations. Once these have been identified, the next step is to determine how to keep these functions and operations running in an emergency. This may include creating alternate work sites, developing communication plans, and establishing backup power and data storage procedures.
One of the most important aspects of a business continuity plan is testing. The plan should be tested regularly to ensure that it is effective and can be executed promptly. Testing also allows businesses to identify any weaknesses in the plan and make necessary revisions.
A well-developed business continuity plan can mean the difference between a company being able to quickly resume normal operations after an emergency and being forced to close its doors permanently. Therefore, all businesses need to have a plan in place.
Conduct business impact analysis
Conducting a business impact analysis is critical to business continuity planning. This process helps organizations identify which business functions are critical to operations and the resources required to maintain those functions during a disruption.
A business impact analysis can help organizations:
– Prioritize business functions and activities
– Identify the resources required to support critical functions
– Estimate the time required to recover critical functions
– Identify the risks to business operations
Conducting a business impact analysis is essential to developing a robust business continuity plan. This process helps organisations identify which business functions are critical to operations and the resources required to maintain those functions during a disruption. By identifying and prioritising critical functions, organisations can ensure that they have the resources and capabilities to maintain operations during a disruptive event.
Educate and train
Employees must be trained in emergency procedures and protocols in any organisation. This is especially true in businesses where continuity planning is essential to maintaining operations during an unforeseen disaster.
There are many reasons why training staff in business continuity planning is so important. First, it ensures that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. Second, it helps to reduce panic and confusion in the event of a disaster. Third, it helps employees to be better prepared to deal with the aftermath of a disaster.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, training staff in business continuity planning helps ensure that the organisation can quickly and effectively recover from a disaster. By having a well-trained workforce, businesses can minimise the disruption to their operations and get back to business as quickly as possible.
In today’s world, where disruptions to business operations can have severe consequences, it is more important than ever for businesses to have a well-trained workforce that is prepared to deal with any emergency. By investing in the training of their staff, businesses can ensure that they are prepared for anything that comes their way.
Isolate sensitive info
Some data is so important that losing it could put your entire business in jeopardy. You should keep financial records, login credentials, and other mission-critical information somewhere, allowing quick and convenient recovery access. You want to prioritise the data most vital to your business’s continuity.
Backup important data
There is no single answer to the question of how often backups should be performed for business continuity planning purposes. The frequency of backups will be dictated by the needs of the business, which will vary depending on the type of business, the size of the business, the amount of data produced, and the criticality of that data.
However, some general guidelines can be followed regarding the frequency of backups. For businesses that produce a large amount of data daily, it is recommended that backups be performed daily. For businesses that produce a moderate amount of data, backups should be performed every week. And for businesses that produce a small amount of data, backups can be performed every month.
The most important thing is to ensure that all critical data is backed up on a regular basis. This will ensure that in the event of a disaster, the data can be recovered and the business can continue to operate.
Protect hard copy data
IT security strategies tend to focus on electronic data. However, most companies still have their fair share of physical documents to maintain. The typical MSP has an assortment of contracts, tax documents, and employee files that are just as important to business operations as the data on their hard drives. Digitize what you can and put security controls in place to minimise the loss of critical documents.
Designate a recovery site
A disaster could wipe out your data centre. Prepare for the worst by designating a secondary site your staff can relocate to should the primary site become inoperable. You should equip this location with everything personnel needs to recover affected systems and perform business processes.
Set up a communications program
In business continuity planning, communication is the process of exchanging information between various stakeholders to ensure operations continuity. This process includes the identification of stakeholders, the development of communication plans, and the implementation of those plans in the event of an interruption.
The first step in the communication process is to identify all stakeholders who need to be informed during an interruption. This includes employees, customers, suppliers, and other parties affected by the interruption. Once all stakeholders have been identified, the next step is to develop a communication plan. This plan should outline how and when each stakeholder will be notified in the event of an interruption. The plan should also include a method for tracking the communication to ensure that all stakeholders have been notified.
The final step in the communication process is to implement the communication plan during an interruption. This includes sending out notifications to all stakeholders, tracking the communication, and following up with stakeholders to ensure that they are aware of the situation and are taking the necessary steps to ensure continuity of operations.
Test, measure, and update
You should test and measure every critical business program for effectiveness. A business continuity plan is no exception. The purpose of testing is to run simulations that allow you to evaluate your team’s level of preparedness. Those test results can be used to tweak and update your plan over time.
Business continuity planning ensures that disruptions have minimal impact on day-to-day operations. Now that you have an idea of what needs to be done, you can make sure your organisation is ready for anything. We have put together a .pdf with your business continuity checklist so you can use it anytime you need.