What is a Business Continuity Plan?

Last Updated:
June 9, 2022

business continuity plan

Every business wants to ensure they are protected from any potential disaster. Furthermore, the business needs a plan on how to recover from an unforeseen event or disaster. This is where a business continuity plan is helpful. Below are all the details you should know about what a business continuity plan is and how to create one.

What is a Business Continuity Plan for?

The primary function of a business continuity plan is to create a system of prevention and recovery for potential threats to your business. The final plan can ensure that your business, personnel, and assets have protection in the event of a disaster. It also ensures that your business can continue to operate at some capacity following a disaster.

What Disasters Does a Continuity Plan Cover?

Depending on your business location and industry, you may have various business continuity plans. Some plans will focus on natural disasters like hurricanes, flooding, power outages, fires, etc. However, businesses must now also consider creating continuity plans for cyberattacks, internal vulnerabilities, or other technical issues.

What is included in the plan?

Once you identify and assess the risks your business could face, each plan should include;

  • How the risks will affect operations
  • What safeguards and procedures can mitigate the risks
  • A testing schedule for procedures to ensure they work correctly
  • A thorough review of the process to ensure it is relevant and up-to-date

Threats and disruptions to your business lead to a loss of revenue and higher costs, thus leading to less profit. In these situations, it is unwise to simply rely on insurance alone, as it will likely not cover all the costs, especially, if you end up with unexpected downtime and possible loss of clients. Instead, a business continuity plan will allow you to run your business in a smaller capacity without missing a beat.

Developing a Business Continuity Plan

To create a solid continuity plan businesses should follow the steps below.

1. Perform an impact analysis

This analysis allows you to identify the essential components of your business while giving you a better understanding of the impacts a disruption could have. If you are unsure where to start, consider utilizing the FEMA questionnaires to guide you.

Consider the critical areas your business needs to keep running, and which areas, if disrupted, could cause harm to your revenue or reputation. The total impact a disaster will have on your business depends on what the disruptive event is. This is why it is crucial to have continuity plans for various potential disasters.

2. Determine the priorities and strategies for recovery

Having strategies and procedures in place is key for a good business continuity plan. Once you have completely reviewed what areas of your business could be affected, and what damage that could cause, you can build a recovery plan. This plan will include what steps you should take immediately following a disaster and the timeframe for them.

Each continuity plan may have a different timeline for the recovery phase. This is because for events like flooding there will be a lot of physical clean-up to do, whereas, for a cyber attack, everything is digital. Therefore, each disaster should have a specific recovery approach – this is not a one size fits all scenario. Consider the questions below when outlining your recovery processes.

  • Who is responsible for what step in recovery? If that person is unable to work, who is the backup?
  • If a core function of the business is offline, what can be done to fill the gap until things are back online?
  • What resources are still available?
  • How will you contact clients to inform them?

3. Train Your Team

Once you have your business continuity plans in place, ensure that all of your staff are aware of them. Conduct regular training around disaster prevention and recovery so everyone knows their role. Keep a copy of all continuity plans where staff have access and ensure that they are updated when systems or processes change.

Recovering after a disaster is not easy, but with a business continuity plan, your business can survive. These plans give you a lifeline during uncertain times and can help eliminate stress while the business rebuilds. Ensure you take the time to create thorough continuity plans for your business so you are prepared for any potential disaster.

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