This web page provides the following information about business continuity and disaster planning:
What is Business Continuity Planning?
Business Continuity Planning is defined by the Disaster Recovery Institute as "the process of developing advance arrangements and procedures that enable an organization to respond to an event in such a manner that critical business functions continue with planned levels of interruption or essential change."
The types of business interruption events that a company may need to respond to include fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, equipment failures, utility outages, structural failures and computer viruses.
Business Continuity Planning includes activities such as emergency preparedness, emergency response and disaster recovery across the entire span of business functions.
Step-by-Step Approach to Creating a Comprehensive Business Continuity Plan
Step 1: Task your Team
Developing a BCP requires getting the whole company on board - everyone has a part to play.
Step 2: Analyze your Hazards
The hazards faced by each company are unique. Hazards vary depending on location, property characteristics, local weather, building construction, neighboring facilities and types of operations. In addition, the importance of each hazard depends on a variety of factors including the nature of your operations, capabilities of your employees and availability of emergency services.
Every company has limited resources to devote to planning for events that may -- or may not -- occur. One of the goals of business continuity planning is to focus your resources on the risks that matter most to your company.
Step 3: Develop your Plan
Based on the hazards you identify, your BCP needs to clearly and concisely answer the following questions:
You can move much more quickly to recovery if you have a written plan in place.
Step 4: Implement your Plan
No plan is worthwhile if it gathers dust on a shelf.
Implementation of your BCP means acting on the recommendations made during the hazard analysis, integrating the plan into your day-to-day operations, having services in place and training employees on what to do if an emergency occurs.
Step 5: Evaluate and Modify your Plan
Even the best plan isn't effective forever.
You should conduct a formal audit of the entire plan at least once a year. In addition to a yearly audit, your plan will need to be evaluated whether there are changes in hazards, personnel or facilities that may impact your disaster response.
Periodic testing of your plan will ensure that employees know what to do. It will also identify problems that may impact your emergency response or disaster recovery.
How ENLAR Can Help
ENLAR has hands-on experience assisting companies with business continuity planning.
ENLAR can help you:
6 Keys to Sound Business Continuity Planning
Consider all Possibilities
You need to consider the entire range of potential emergencies from fires and explosions to equipment and supplier failure. Once you have identified all the possibilities, you can evaluate which are critical to your particular business
Example: You wouldn't think that snow storms would be a business continuity problem in Florida. They may be, however, if one of your critical suppliers can't deliver a raw material to you because roads are closed due to snow.
Integrate it into your Operations
Emergency response is not just a safety or regulatory issue; everyone has to have ownership of their piece of the plan. This means keeping lists up to date and making sure emergency supplies available.
Example: Every year, prior to hurricane season, Floridians are advised to stock up on emergency supplies. Every year, as the first hurricane is about to make landfall, local TV stations show long lines of people buying emergency supplies at local stores.
Plan for Crisis Communication
Crisis events are prime news stories. You can count on the media showing up right after the emergency responders.
Make sure you know what you want to say, how you want to say it and who is doing to deliver the message. Do not rely on chance, instinct or "no comment."
Make it Real
Planning needs to reflect real behavior in an actual emergency.
Your plan needs to take these factors into account rather than ignoring them.
Example: It is not uncommon for the Emergency Plan to only have one designated Emergency Coordinator or to have procedures that are only effective during normal business hours. What about the emergency that happens on 3rd shift or when no one is at the facility?
Plan for Business Recovery
Many contingency plans stop at immediate emergency response. It is just as important to include information on the steps needed to transition back to normal operations.
Keep it Up-to-Date
Change is a reality in today's business climate - products change, suppliers change, facilities change.
To be effective, your BCP has to change as well.
Making the Case for Business Continuity Planning
Events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have pushed business continuity planning to a new level of urgency. Human nature being what it is, however, interest in business continuity planning can also fade quickly. It is easier to focus on today's "business fires" than on a real fire that may -- or may not -- happen tomorrow.
It is important to periodically focus on what could happen -- even if it hasn't happened yet. Here are four questions to ask to determine whether you need to re-focus on business continuity planning: