What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan


What Should a Business Continuity Plan Include?

Disruptions to business operations come in many shapes and sizes. The ongoing pandemic is top-of-mind for most of us—it quickly halted day-to-day operations and required most companies to find a new way to do business. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a fire, or a cyberattack, we rarely have advanced notice ahead of disaster.
And that’s why a business continuity plan (BCP) is so important. Risk management is all about anticipating future problems and preparing solutions so that your company can thrive no matter the situation.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan lays out the procedures a company will take to continue operating through a major disruption. A BCP is an essential document that addresses a company’s resilience. A disruption in operations can be expensive—lost revenue, added costs, and a potential loss of customers. Creating an actionable and successful BCP requires a company to take a holistic look at its services and operations, to conduct a business impact analysis, and to test and exercise the plan ahead of disaster.

What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan

The first step to creating a BCP is to conduct a business impact analysis to identify critical business functions and dependencies. That analysis—determining which processes and resources are essential and what amount of operational downtime is acceptable—will shape your plan.
As you prepare to write your BCP, consider creating a checklist. The list should include supplies, equipment, the location of data backups, and contact information for key personnel. Think through the resources required to recover operations: employees, office space and equipment, technology, vital records, production equipment, inventory, utilities, and third-party services.

A BCP should include:

An organizational plan. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, lines of authority, and any interaction with external organizations.

Employee contact information. For team members who are part of continuity operations, include a list of how best to reach each person.

Business impact analysis. Include the results of your business impact analysis and your goals for recovery times for technology systems.

Continuity strategies and requirements. This is where you list detailed procedures and resource requirements for recovery strategies, relocation to alternate work sites, and data/technology service recovery.

Manual workarounds. When operations are interrupted, some processes won’t work as usual. Include plans for manual workarounds here.

Incident management. This includes procedures for activating the BCP, alerting employees, and conducting a damage assessment.

A good BCP will also include sections on training and exercising the plan as well as instructions for periodically reviewing and updating it.
At ACTN Strategies, we partner with companies to create business continuity plans that allow our clients to thrive through disruptions. For more information on our risk management consulting services and building a resilient organization, give us a call at 770-693-0241.