Business continuity planning
The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is an essential part of any organisation’s response planning. It sets out how the business will operate following an incident and how it expects to return to ‘business as usual’ in the quickest possible time afterwards. The plan itself sets out the agreed arrangements for bringing events under control, the necessary resources for maintaining critical business functions and the staff required for co-ordinating actions. It also needs to be clearly presented, avoiding vague internal references and abbreviations, and structured in such a way that people can quickly find and understand what is expected from them.
Understanding the business
The first step is to identify the assets and processes that are critical to the business, some may have been identified during recent risk assessment exercises. Which roles and individuals are vital for fulfilling business commitments? What equipment, IT, transport etc will staff need to maintain operations? How long can the business function before full operations are restored? What alternative resources are available? Which departments are vital for fulfilling orders and contractual obligations? Which suppliers and other third parties are integral to daily routines? The BCP should then present all the steps that staff are expected to follow in the aftermath of an incident in order to maintain essential operations and return to ‘business as usual’ as soon as possible.
Business Continuity versus Disaster Recovery
Good proactive Business Continuity planning prevents in most cases the potential of a Disaster from occurring.