Does your Business Continuity Plan Cover These Aspects

Business continuity planning (BCP) is an essential part of risk management. It outlines a broad range of disaster scenarios and the steps that a business should take to return to its regular trade process. A continuity plan must be written ahead of time with the inputs of key staff and stakeholders. With the help of BCP, minimization of harm to business during adverse scenarios is possible. Stats from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and those who do, only 29 percent can restore their businesses completely.

In November 2016, a computer virus infected a network of hospitals in the United Kingdom. Due to the virus, three major hospitals were paralyzed for five days. Disaster scenarios like this in healthcare facilities may lead to severe problems or even death. If the hospitals optimized business continuity plan, scenarios like this could have been avoided.

The International Standard Organization published an international standard (ISO 22301: 2012, societal security) that addresses the issues on business continuity planning for both small-scale and large-scale organizations. The ISO 22301 standard provides a framework to establish, operate, monitor, and maintain continuity plans.

The following are the seven aspects that a business continuity plan should cover:

1. Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

The overall concept of business continuity relies on identifying business functions in the organization and assigning a degree of importance to each function. BIA is the primary tool for gathering and assigning this information. It can define the effect of disruption on functional and operational activities of the enterprise. The primary purpose of BIA is to:
  • Identify impact of disruptions
  • Prioritize services and products
  • Identify intangible losses and additional expenses
  • Identify ranking and insurance requirements

2. Emergency Contact Information

A continuity plan should include a list of emergency contacts that are necessary during and after the occurrence of the disaster. Information on both internal personnel (legal advisers, CEO, and others) and external personnel (fire brigade, ambulance, police, and building maintenance) should be present in it.

3. Recovery Objectives

Recovery objectives are of the following two types:
  • Recovery test objectives – This is defined as the maximum time that a facility, process, person, or technology is unavailable until revenue is severely affected.
  • Recovery point objectives – RPOs represent the tolerance for the lost data after the restoration of the process.

4. Data Security

The core challenge of a business continuity plan is that nothing is known. One cannot possibly foresee an unknown risk before it happens, let alone predict its outcome. The central aspect of the plan is the security of the data. Organizations tend to keep their essential backup data in the server rooms. They must avoid this to prevent any natural calamity destroying the data in one swoop. Essential data must always be on removable media storage device or online, thus, making it secure and easily accessible when required.

5. Contingency Plans

  • Alternative communication strategies
  • Backup power arrangements 
  • Essential service and equipment backups 
  • Alternative site of operations 
The abovementioned are the key factors to consider in a contingency plan. Emergency contacts of employees are necessary to get in touch during a crisis. The BCP should make a layout of the plans for setting an alternative location if destruction of the building is prominent. It should also set out some methods on how the destroyed and damaged equipment should be replaced.

6. Costing and Protection of Resources

Budgeting a continuity plan begins by auditing the infrastructure of the organization. An effective BCP strategy balances the cost and risk by determining the importance of workload. It is impossible to make a substantial evaluation of finances for business continuity because the only time to measure ROI is after the disaster has affected the organization. However, necessary expenses for the protection of resources can be readily determined.

7. Employee Safety

Pandemic response planning is an essential component of business continuity planning. Local agencies such as police department, fire department, Red Cross society, and FEMA Community Emergency Response Teams can provide emergency training to the employees.

Wrapping Up
Before designing an effective business continuity plan, consider following the above-mentioned steps. Following this guideline does not only ensure that you lose lesser revenue but also ensure consumer satisfaction. Organizations looking to outsource Business Continuity Planning can visit the HCLTech.

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