The 6 A’s of Business Continuity
When creating any kind of business plan, a business should begin with an assessment of current status. In this case, an organization should conduct a basic risk assessment. While different industries have different risks, business continuity plans should reflect the respective risks for a given organization and industry. This often requires brainstorming sessions around worst case scenarios.
Next, perform a business impact analysis for the scenarios your team created. By itemizing the potential risks, your organization will then be able to prioritize the scenarios that will impact their business the greatest. Plot these scenarios on a matrix, with likelihood and impact on each axis.
After performing a business impact analysis, we recommend formally documenting your contingency plans for these situations. Business continuity plans should cover the entirety of an organization and may include:
- Incident response plan
- Incident management plan
- Business recovery plan
- Emergency and evacuation plan
- Contingency plan.
Those plans should be accompanied by their respective procedures and policies.
After documenting a business continuity plan, an organization should put these items into action. Adequate preparation applies beyond the paper documentation. For example, if the engineers on the Mars Rover had only documented the backup plans, they might not be able to have protected their asset, should one of the circumstances occur.
At this point in the process, your organization has created its business continuity plan and taken the appropriate preparations. The plans should be measured and reviewed on a regular basis. There is no magic number in terms of the frequency, but the policies, procedures, and plans should be monitored to identify the successful aspects and the potential weakness within these processes.
Finally, once the weaknesses have been identified, adjust accordingly. Prioritize the actions, as done when performing the business impact analysis, and then tweak the plans.
Unfortunately preparing for disasters must be an ongoing process. This cycle is crucial in protecting an organization, its information, and its operations. In the Midwest, where tornadoes, floods, and lightning are commonplace, it is especially vital for a business not only have a business continuity plan but also frequently measure and monitor that plan. Check out our whitepaper on disaster recovery planning with tips to help you along the way.
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