Defining the Variables of Business Continuity
When considering a continuity plan for your business, you need to consider some scenarios that may not ever happen. This is called risk management and it is the basis of keeping your business up and running regardless of the situations that it encounters. This month, we thought we would outline some of the variables that need to be addressed when creating a comprehensive business continuity plan.
Every business continuity plan should include:
- A Threat Matrix - Identifying the threats your business might face has to be the first thing that you do. They should include small issues that could just suspend operations briefly and major disasters that would present substantial disruption. The threat matrix should list threats and the response to each.
- Critical Processes - Every business has several critical processes that if they were interrupted, work is made impossible. Any critical processes that need to be understood need to be in the continuity plan.
- Command Chain - Every business has a hierarchy of authority that is crucial to the continuation of the business in times of crisis.
- Employee Safety and Evacuation Plan - In order for business to continue, there has to be someone there to continue it. A business continuity plan needs to have a dedicated section that addresses how and when to evacuate employees to ensure their safety in a dangerous situation.
- Communication Plan and Contact Information - Depending on the situation you encounter; your business may need to keep people in the know. Having a plan in place that is designed to ensure that your partners, your clients, and your employees are up to date with all the relevant information is essential.
- Backup Processes - In order for your business continuity preparations to be complete, you should have a well maintained and current backup stored offsite. Ensuring that your backup and disaster recovery processes are tested and ready is a crucial part of any continuity plan.
- IT Inventory and Infrastructure - Most businesses have made substantial hardware and software investments, and therefore have many computing assets. Having a thorough inventory of all of your digital (and physical) assets during a time of crisis is extraordinarily helpful.
- End of Incident Criteria - When a disaster hits, it may be total chaos, but you have to keep abreast of all situations. This includes knowing when the incident is at its end. By creating a list of conditions that must be met before reviewing the damage and beginning recovery you will avoid making problems worse.
The proactive design, testing, management and documentation of your business’ continuity plan relies on identifying the information that needs to be considered--and responsibilities that need to be assigned and carried out--to get your business through a breach in continuity. If you need help, First Column IT can assist you with the technological aspects of it. Give us a call at 703-880-6683 to talk about your business continuity.