What is Business Continuity Plan?
BCP (Business Continuity Plan) refers to the procedure for a business and employees to keep in touch and continue work in the event of a disaster or emergency such as a fire at the workplace. However, many companies do not have a BCP in place since they do not think it is necessary. A comprehensive BCP should be in place to develop the capacity to resume business as usual after a serious situation or occurrence of business disruption occurs.
Acknowledge the threats and risks your business may confront
It is terrifying to imagine that your business will be shut down due to a bad incident. However, you need to be prepared for such situations and acknowledge that risks and threats can approach the business at any time. Once you accept the fact that unprepared risks and threats can cause major disruptions to your business, make a plan to protect your assets and human resources thoroughly.
Write down the risks your business may face and their impacts. For instance, if a key person in a company passes away, the company will not go out of business, but relationships with customers and customer service can be significantly affected. After identifying risks, actions are prepared and prioritized by the expected influence and probability of occurrence.
Don’t get confused with disaster recovery plans
BCP is often referred to as a Disaster Recovery Plan, but they are different concepts. Although they have many things in common, Disaster Recovery Plans (DR) focus more on business recovery after a disaster and on mitigating the negative impact of a disaster. On the other hand, BCP focuses on taking measures to prevent any negative impacts from disasters at all. BCP is broader DR.
Consider the threats and risks your business may confront
BIA (Business Impact Analysis) refers to identifying the impact that a company will have when its functions and processes are disrupted by threats or risks. The BIA determines the problem, risks and threats to be addressed by the BCP.
Identify key recovery resources
Identification of key personnel within the company
After normal business operations are disrupted, key personnel must be moved quickly to successfully implement BCP. Make a list of key personnel in the company and their replacements, i.e., those who take on jobs in which the function of the company is completely suspended without them. The list should be as detailed as necessary, but preferably only the people you need.
Record key equipment
Typically, work computers within the workplace contain the most important information. They also can be accessed by management and employees from outside the workplace. A list of key equipment and data should be created and a strategy for safe access should be in place in the event of an emergency. In general, the software is also a key piece of equipment, so don’t forget to record it.
There are some software products, such as Datto, to prepare for the loss of equipment. Click here for more information.
Identify important documents
Gather all necessary documents to resume work in case of a disaster where important documents in the workplace are lost, such as fire. Make a copy and keep it physically outside of the workplace, and prepare a way to access important documents such as the company charter, other legal documents, utility bills, financial information, key personnel materials, building lease agreements, and tax returns. It is recommended to scan all these files and upload them on secured cloud storage platforms, such as Onedrive and Backblaze.
Identify employees who can work from home
Telecommuting is a great way for employees to continue working as usual when they are unable to work at a key location. Being able to work outside of the main business location means that at least delays in routine work can be avoided. The company should implement cloud servers, storage, and VPN for the telecommuters to work in a safe internet environment.
Identify alternative equipment
Secure equipment that can be used in the event of normal business operation disruption. There is no need to specifically designate a supplier to replace the equipment unless it is specialized equipment or has not been contracted in advance (which is very rare). It is more important to understand the services, equipment and resources that replacement workers can provide. Let the staff responsible for managing the replacement workforce can make decisions.
Designate an alternative workplace
Secure a place to continue working while key business locations are unavailable. The hotel can be used as an alternative place of business. Most hotels are well equipped with business-related facilities. A subcontractor’s office or an attorney’s office can also be used as an alternative place of business. Warehouse rental facilities near major business sites are also great places to move and store products in case of an emergency.
Describe the method of implementation in the BCP booklet
Include the step-by-step instructions on how to implement the BCP and describe what to do, who to do, and how to do it. Write down each task to be done and appoint a person in charge.
Create contact information for key external stakeholders
If you have an important customer or subcontractor, create special contact information and provide other important information, such as a description of the entity or individual, and contact information for key stakeholders.
BCP is useless when information is scattered all over the place. The BCP is a reference document, so you should gather all the information and keep it in a safe place.\
Train key personnel to familiarize themselves with BCP
In the event of a disaster and crisis, all affected personnel must read and understand the BCP. Take time to familiarize employees with what to do when implementing the BCP.
Fix and update Business Continuity Plan
No matter how good the BCP is, disaster situations that are not present in the BCP can occur. Revise and update the BCP to take into account additional information and changing circumstances. Update all BCP booklets whenever changes occur and ensure the information is up-to-date.
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