The Only Business Continuity Plan Checklist You Need
Planning for a crisis is a proactive and necessary process to establish in your business to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected. It can help you and your team transform a situation that can get “out of control” into something you can control. It means your business is proactive in protecting sensitive data, assets, and the lives of employees and customers. It’s important to come up with real, actionable steps that will minimize downtime while speeding up recovery, comply with regulations and possibly even prevent catastrophes. A business continuity plan should be an essential component of your disaster recovery strategy.
What is a business continuity plan?
By definition, a business continuity plan is a set of procedures, policies, and measures that an organization should follow to maintain operations in an emergency or disaster. The primary goal of a business continuity plan is to minimize any disruption of operations during an emergency. This can include natural disasters, man-made disasters (such as terrorist attacks or power outages), or other unforeseen circumstances. Each departmental leader or manager should be responsible for developing their own business continuity plan with the oversight and support of human resources (HR) or employee relations (ER).
Business Continuity Plan Best Practices
Business continuity plans are essential because they help you to prepare for disasters, while also ensuring that your company can recover quickly after an incident or disaster occurs.
Simply creating a business continuity plan is not enough; you must follow through to ensure everyone is ready and prepared to fulfill their responsibilities set out by management. Before starting your plan with our free business continuity checklist, here are some best practices.
- Emphasize the importance of business continuity planning to your team
All the employees at your organization should feel comfortable with and realize the importance of having a business continuity plan. Instill a feeling of empowerment in your team with a structured business continuity checklist that each team member can be fully trained on to react and take action without hesitation.
- Review and test your business continuity plan frequently
Testing your plan makes its outcome concrete. As your company changes and evolves, you should continue to test and review your plan’s procedures to ensure they’re still best for your business and that new team members are aware of every step in the process and their roles within it.
- Be proactive instead of reactive
There are many different types of emergencies that can happen, and it’s important to be prepared for all of them. Stay proactive when it comes to business continuity – not reactive. This will keep the company prepared and make sure it is ready for anything.
- Perform periodic risk assessments
A periodic risk assessment (PRA) will identify new risks to your company. After you have acknowledged all potential threats, you need to analyze their probability and the impact they might have if they did occur. You can use this information to prioritize your risks based on their likelihood of ensuing and their severity if they do occur.
Your Business Continuity Plan Checklist
Attainium has developed our own continuity plan checklist to help you develop a business continuity plan. A business continuity plan checklist is a list of tasks to secure continuous operation during an emergency. These tasks are typically split into three categories: pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis.
Even if you already have the basics of a plan or an outdated version set in place, your checklist can be a useful guide and reference to ensure you’re covering all your bases.
- Identify potential hazards and risks that could disrupt the company’s operations or cause a loss of life or property damage. These include natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and fires, to name a few. Update this list every time a new threat is recognized – for example, an unprecedented global pandemic.
- Distinguish the roles people will take in various emergencies.
- Determine who will step up to take over these responsibilities when the first one named is out of the office or cannot perform their role.
- Set chains of communication between key stakeholders and individuals.
- Ensure all the right people are trained to react appropriately to different situations.
- Develop a list of every employee, contractor, or other important people with their job position, contact information, and responsibilities in an emergency. You should also list any transferable skills or abilities that employees may offer, such as first aid.
- Identify the critical operations you must maintain when an emergency or disaster strikes.
- Produce an impact likelihood report on customers, legal areas, regulations, and finances.
- Identify backup facilities and suppliers that can take over if primary resources are lost.
- Include up-to-date public health information on emergency management and the resources they provide.
- Devise strategies and specific plans for maintaining critical operations during emergencies or disasters. Which services or business functions could be paused temporarily to focus on essential procedures first?
- Now create alternative strategies you will utilize if “plan A” is no longer an option.
- Create an evacuation plan.
- Store information regarding insurance, policies, and claims details.
- Maintain a backup of all accessible data and information. Don’t store these backups miles away if extreme weather prevents you from reaching it. Try to keep a backup in the cloud and somewhere nearby if the internet is down.
- Develop an idea of how you will protect and maintain physical and intangible assets, including your organization’s reputation.
- Provide information about time off and absences due to emergencies like those caused by a spreading illness.
- Establish where employees will work and how customers can reach you when your main office is unavailable.
- Consider how your organization will respond to increased demand for its services or products in an emergency.
- Determine how a disaster will impact travel and how you can establish communication with international and long-distance clients and employees.
- Test your preparedness using your business continuity plan.
Optimizing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Although they’re often discussed in tandem, a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan are two different things. Disaster recovery plans are created to restore business operations in case of a disaster. The business continuity plan, however, is meant to ensure the business can continue to operate even if there is no disaster.
One of the most important assets to keep safe, especially when adhering to regulations and restrictions, is your sensitive data. To help protect and manage your data at all times — even in an emergency — ISO 22301 has become the international standard for business continuity management.
Why choose Attainium?
Plan-A-ware is a business continuity and management platform that can support organizations in their continuity planning. We also provide tabletop testing to ensure that your plan is streamlined and thoroughly set up for success. It’s time to start planning – get started with this business continuity plan checklist, or contact us for a free 30-minute Business Continuity Planning Consultation.