By Sungard AS
Why should you have a Business Continuity Plan in place?
Having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place can protect your company from financial and reputational damage by equipping you with the tools to resume normal business functions in the face of disruption. By detailing the actions and procedures required to recover from a service disruption you will be able to take steps towards mitigating the risks of service downtime and be resilient to unexpected interruptions to normal business processes. Although a BCP should be unique to each individual company, following a template can help ensure that you include all the vital information required to create a comprehensive recovery strategy that fits your business needs.
What makes up a business continuity plan?
The introduction of your BCP is your opportunity to lay out what you want the plan to achieve. Include the purpose and objectives of the document, detailing what and who it is for (e.g. the processes required to resume normal business services and the timeframe in which this should happen).
Lay out the scope of your plan, which areas of the business it covers, scenarios addressed and any key personnel and vendors it affects. It is also a good idea to use the introduction to note down the revision and test history of the BCP, other locations where it is stored and useful contact details so that this information is immediately available to users in the event of a disruption.
Recovery Strategies and Activities
Start this section with summarising all your scenarios and the proposed recovery strategies (e.g. in the event of a network outage, systems should failover onto our DRaaS provider's environment). Detail the steps that need to be taken and the resources required to implement this recovery strategy. It can be helpful to create a timeline of actions here, from initial detection through to when service is resumed.
Lay out who is responsible for implementing each recovery strategy so that roles are clearly defined in advance of a disruption and use your Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to prioritise the order in which each service should be recovered.
This part of your BCP is where you include the finer details of each stage in the recovery strategy. What you incorporate in this section will depend on what is layed out in the scenarios above, but it will provide users with important paperwork and further information to successfully implement each procedure efficiently.
This section could include maps of meeting points, incident report forms, declaration procedures and instructions on contacting vendors and customers. Consider each of your recovery strategies and make sure each one is addressed when putting together the appendices. Finishing the document with a checklist of key actions can help streamline the recovery process and ensure no vital stages are missed out.