Smart business continuity planners regularly return to the basics. Although BCP can be complex if a particular situation makes it so, good plans are still built on solid and simple foundations. By keeping these in mind, BC planners can avoid straying from the straight and narrow path that must be followed if business continuity is to be guaranteed.
- Cover all areas. Even if IT is often a large part of BCP, it’s not the only part. All functional departments must be considered, as well as all sites including headquarters and branch offices.
- Check inputs and outputs. If a key supplier breaks down or if your distribution network fails, only good business continuity plan that includes these external factors will save you.
- Focus on handling outcomes. While it’s important to prevent a problem from happening again, it’s the effect that will have an immediate impact on your business. Trying to identify every possible individual incident leads to unmanageable detail. Plan to handle the effect first (different problems can have the same effect) to ensure continuity. Then eradicate the cause.
- Write it down. Or type it out at your PC. You need a document you can refer to and copy to the relevant people so that it is available to them at all times.
- Test it. You should make the most realistic test possible without upsetting (too much) the daily working of your organisation. But you must test. An untested plan is incomplete.
- Plan for the media. If a crisis hits and your organisation must react to ensure its continuity, the public and the media may want details about what is happening. Designate the right people to communicate with the media and make sure everybody else refers the media to those individuals.
- Update it. Business continuity planning needs periodic revision and continuing attention. Like getting your car serviced and watering your plants! Define a review cycle (every six months perhaps) and note the action you must take in your agenda – and in the agenda of all other required participants in the BCP review process.