4 Must-Have Components of a Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity refers to an organization’s ability to continue performing essential functions in the case of a disaster, cyberattack, or outage of any kind. Like a disaster recovery plan, it outlines the direct response to certain emergencies. Going beyond basic disaster recovery, it also spells out the processes to prevent long-term interruptions of critical services as well as how to return to full function as smoothly as possible.
A well-done business continuity plan includes processes and procedures for many scenarios—from disasters to pandemics—and includes a chain of command to distribute responsibilities in each case.
Weaving together this kind of plan, however, can be overwhelming for business owners. Starting with an outline of the essential components of the plan is the easiest place to start.
- Business conservation processes
With most businesses today performing 50-99% of their work on digital technologies, even a simple power outage will put whole organizations in a bind. Business conservation refers to the part of your business continuity plan that documents the actions and temporary workarounds to keep critical functions operational until the disaster has passed.
- Leadership and continuity management
It’ also important that a business continuity plan identify the person or people who will delegate parts of the plan. Business continuity software is also popular to help with this, but in the case of any disaster where systems are offline, another manual plan must be in place.
- Business continuity development
The first draft of a business continuity plan will be an invaluable asset, but it will never be a static one. Plans continue to evolve with new assessments of risk, and regular testing is done to see whether the plan drafted is the best it can be. Conducting reviews of the plan will reveal weaknesses, and a process for periodically revisiting this document should be part of any business continuity plan.
- IT recovery
Every organization today needs a robust plan for IT-specific recovery in the case of a disaster. This plan should include strategies for the recovery of both the technology used and the data stored there, including checklists of systems used and actions needed to restore critical applications and software.
If you have a disaster recovery plan already in place, that’s a great base to start your business continuity plan. Add in these four must-have components, and your organization will be equipped with the one asset that can keep your business running even in the most unexpected circumstances.