What is a Business Continuity Plan?

Business Continuity Planning is best conducted by following industry standards and best practices.

Business continuity management (BCM) is a whole of business approach to ensure critical business functions can be maintained, or restored in a timely fashion, in the event of material disruptions arising from internal or external events. Its purpose is to control the financial, legal, reputation and other negative consequences arising from the disruption.

It is critical that a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (BCP/DRP) be an integral part of every companies risk management and business continuity management process.

A BCP/DRP is a document, developed in advance, that contains arrangements and procedures that enable an organisation to respond to an event in such a manner that critical business functions continue with planned levels of interruption

A BCP/DRP should contain the following fundamental information as a minimum:

  • Authority to activate the BCP/DRP
  • Amendments and version control
  • Distribution list and document locations
  • Glossary of terms
  • Referenced documents
  • Overview of the BCP/DRP objectives (Scope of the plan)
  • Crisis Management Team
  • IT Recovery Team
  • Facility salvage and recovery team
  • Strategy Overview
  • IT Recovery Strategy
  • Business Resumption Strategy
  • Detailed procedures and checklists for all areas of the business
  • Emergency Contact List (Internal & External)
  • IT Recovery Procedures
  • Telephone and Fax recovery procedures
  • Communication plan (including Media Response plan)
  • Event logs

It is impossible to develop a contingency plan for every possible threat to your business, however if you ensure the fundamental aspects are catered for – Roles and Responsibilities, Contact Information, Critical Functions and Priorities Identified – you’re providing an environment to appropriately manage the vast majority of crisis scenarios faced in business today.

Database driven Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Software has earned its place in some organizations, however complex and expensive software can be problematic for organizations that do not have a team of business continuity and disaster recovery planning professionals on staff. Database business continuity planning software tools are multifaceted, take weeks or months to learn to use them properly, and normally very expensive.

The high costs and other drawbacks of business continuity software can be avoided by using widely available tools . We use and recommend using Microsoft Office to support Business Continuity Planning in almost all size organizations. The availability and the fact that just about everyone has access to and able to use Microsoft Word is almost enough of a reason alone. And of course, in a disaster, the last thing you need is issues with people not being able to access or use your business continuity procedures.

Our continuity and contingency planning templates have all been developed in Microsoft Office are fully editable.  See our list of downloadable templates here.