Elevate Your Business Continuity Planning with Plan-A-ware

Plan-A-ware is a hosted business continuity planning and management service designed to guide your organization through the development, management, and execution of your business continuity plan. Plan-A-ware ensures your plan is developed collaboratively and maintained effortlessly by combining our web-based plan management service with Attainium's business continuity expertise.

Why You Need a Business Continuity Plan

A manmade or natural disaster can cause significant business disruption. A coherent and effective business continuity plan can mean the difference between an abrupt and devastating cessation of business operations or a swift resumption of normal operations with little or no outward signs of disruption.

The key to business continuity lies in preparedness, but 1 out of 5 businesses doesn’t have a plan in place to ensure continued operations, supply chain stability, and effective communications in the face of a disaster. When a business disruption does occur, will your team know who to call, where to go, what to do, and how to do it?

With Plan-A-ware, your plan is developed on a user-friendly platform, allowing all of your team members to readily review their own roles in your business continuity plan as well as explore the overarching strategy for disaster recovery in a variety of scenarios.

Why Choose Attainium and Plan-A-ware?

Founded in 2002 and based in Phoenix, AZ, Attainium has devoted nearly two decades of planning and testing business continuity plans, resulting in the development and acceptance of Plan-A-ware. Plan-A-ware is the only plan creation and management service that engages with your entire team to ensure swift, effective action in the face of a disaster or business continuity crisis.

Plan-A-ware is so simple that anyone with a basic understanding of tools like Microsoft Word or websites like Wikipedia can participate in building your plan. When your team members are active participants in creating your plan, they are more likely to correctly access and implement it in a critical situation.

We not only help you collect and populate your data across your plan, but each plan section is explicitly customized for your organization. And we comprehensively manage your plan, updating when needed and prompting review from members of your team at regular intervals. The result is a business continuity plan that is always ready when you need it, along with a team that is prepared to execute immediately upon the commencement of a disruptive event.

Our Philosophy

The philosophy behind Plan-A-ware hinges on four key concepts:

  • A defined program of work, leaving nothing to chance when disaster strikes.
  • Assigned responsibilities, so there is never any confusion about who is supposed to do what.
  • Mentoring and guidance to give your staff the tools they need to come through in a crisis.
  • Collaboration to encourage ownership of roles and tasks for better outcomes across the board.

How Plan-A-ware Helps You Create a Perfectly Customized Plan

Your entire organization needs to be involved in creating your business continuity plan. Plan-A-ware makes it easy by breaking down each role and responsibility into manageable steps. A plan should be easy to set in motion and flow naturally from one touchpoint to the next, ensuring all pertinent team members are engaged and kept in the loop as the incident progresses.

Plan-A-ware is designed to help your organization easily understand the complex nature of business continuity planning and disaster recovery. Our approach's collaborative nature encourages buy-in from your team at every level, from stakeholders and leadership to staff and suppliers.

Your plan's success can only be measured by how well your employees understand it and how effectively they can use the plan to guide their emergency response and business resumption efforts. Plan-A-ware facilitates this accomplishment with a high degree of staff involvement and awareness.

Since your business continuity plan is built collaboratively, every team member can take full ownership of their roles and responsibilities. Since each Plan-A-ware-developed plan is fully customized, there’s no wasted time or non-essential information included --- just everything you need to weather a disruptive incident.

The Plan-A-ware Process

Your Business Continuity Plan is created as a collaborative effort between your team and ours. The goal is to have a fully functional plan in 5-6 months. However, we can adjust the schedule to allow for external circumstances like board meetings, audits, annual conferences, etc. We’ll wait on you to gather information and get team members on board, but you’ll never have to wait on us.

We may schedule an in-person visit to your offices or facilities to gain a deeper understanding of how your organization operates and what pre-existing capabilities for business continuity exist. This is part of the business impact analysis, where your plan specifications begin.

Business Impact Analysis

Also known as “gap analysis,” business impact analysis thoroughly investigates every facet of your organization to determine its level of importance to continued functionality in a crisis. We look at:

Potential External Threats

We look at your organization’s product or service, customer base, mode of delivery to market (supply chain), competitors, and more to gain a fuller understanding of how your day-to-day processes work. Then we build out case scenarios in which your business operations might be interrupted by a disaster or other trigger event.

By identifying potential threats and hazards, we build a profile of potential threats to your business continuity. When threats can be known or anticipated, plans can be made to mitigate them and keep your operational ability intact.

Potential Internal Weaknesses

Next, a complete internal audit is completed to identify gaps in your operational resilience. We’ll review:

  • Your facilities.
  • Critical infrastructure.
  • Key business functions.
  • Single points of failure.
  • Informational technology (IT).
  • Operational technology (OT).
  • Human resources.

The data gathered and potential threats and weaknesses revealed during your business impact analysis will be utilized to craft your comprehensive plan.

Business Continuity Plan Development

Your plan hinges on preparedness, accountability, communications, and action. Developing your business continuity plan requires clarifying your business hierarchy and collating this information into a usable format. 

Your People

Every role in your organization will be categorized and the associated responsibilities defined. Clear chains of command will ensure that information flows smoothly from one level to another. Each role is assigned to the appropriate department and connected to trigger events that would directly affect that area of your business.

Communication protocols will ensure that alerts are disseminated logically to get administrators and first responders in your organization the information they need as quickly as possible. Contact lists will be organized to allow for interaction with different roles or to work sequentially down through the chain of command in an entire department.

Each team member’s contact information can be input once, then populated across the system for every role and responsibility they are associated with. If one moves to a new position, their information can be transferred to populate the new assignment. Their replacement’s data is then used to repopulate the vacated role’s information.

Your Response

Incident plans can be developed for each potential incident. Organizational crisis response will vary depending on the nature of the trigger incident. The goal is to have a plan to cover every possible variation of the question, “What would we do if…?” (WWWDI).

For an incident that endangers team members' health and/or safety in a physical space, your plan must define life safety and security protocols at each location, including evacuation routes, rally locations, and building checks.

Department leaders can be tasked to do a headcount and ascertain any missing team members' location. Anyone in your organization with life-saving skills can be identified in the system, so finding help is more expedient during the crisis.

If the trigger incident is cyber-related, an entirely different response plan may be triggered. Administration, IT, legal, and other associated teams will be engaged, and an incident response plan deployed to deal with the threat and prevent a further breach of security.

No matter what type of crisis triggers your plan, your business continuity plan will eventually wind its way through to business resumption. Ideally, the time between the start of any incident and a return to regular business operation is as short as possible. Still, your downtime could range from minutes to days.

Your recovery strategy should include a plan to maintain viability in the event of a prolonged event that could cause extended business disruption. Examples include any incident which is ongoing and causes downtime or limited activity due to business closures, health and safety risks, or supply chain disruption, such as:

  • Your facilities.
  • Critical infrastructure.
  • Key business functions.
  • Single points of failure.
  • Informational technology (IT).
  • Operational technology (OT).
  • Human resources.

As your plan takes shape, you can create “sub-plans” with any pages in any order. You can also attach files to pages for reference, so everything is in one place (fire escape routes, CPR instruction, contact lists, etc.) When we create and customize your plan sections, we remove anything you don't need and leave plenty of room for the stuff you do need.

Planning is available to your team on the Plan-A-ware platform. It can also be printed out in hard copy or turned into a digital document (a Word document or a PDF) that can be readily shared throughout your organization.

Business Continuity Plan Maintenance

Once created, your plan must be maintained to ensure it remains current and relevant. This process can be just as collaborative as the plan development was. Responsibility for keeping your plan updated can be shared between Plan-A-ware and multiple members of your team.

Historically, maintaining a business continuity plan has always been a challenge to keep up-to-date with the most current information. A team member who leaves the organization, moves to a new role, or receives a promotion can break the chain of notifications and accountability the plan requires to succeed.

Plan-A-ware makes your staff rosters, IT infrastructure, team lists, and other vital parts of your plan easier to update. Information for each person only needs to be entered once. It is then automatically propagated throughout the business continuity plan. A change in one's role simply “reassigns” their data to the new workflow.

Reviewing your plan should be done regularly by the people in your organization, but who has time to schedule reviews and follow-up to ensure they are completed? Plan-A-ware can trigger notifications to key players across your organization to ensure the plan's content is revised regularly.

You and your staff have full access to your plan at all times to perform your own updates. Plan-A-ware can also manage itself, continually checking for inaccuracies or discrepancies and prompting review from the appropriate person. If a prompt goes unanswered, the issue automatically kicks up the chain of command.

Action Trackers are assigned to the person closest to any information at any given time. This is based on their roles and responsibilities and their connection to a potential incident requiring their involvement. These reminders can be as frequent as every month or as seldom as once a year. Each action should take only 30 minutes or less of your team member's time.

Examples of action items include:

  • Reviewing contact information for self or other members of the team.
  • Checking to ensure the correct person is listed for each role.
  • Verifying chain of command and communication channels.
  • Identifying new Key Business Functions and Standard Operating Processes

The Plan-A-ware system tracks every change made, so it’s easy to see at a glance when the last alteration of data was made and who made it. This allows for easy revision if an error is made.

Plan-A-ware Support

From the C-suite to the new hire, your entire team is continually supported and engaged through the Plan-A-ware system. We provide comprehensive support at all stages of your business continuity process, including:

  • Staff orientation materials to ensure new hires immediately become part of the system.
  • Plan-A-ware system training, so everyone in your organization understands your plan.
  • Team and staff refreshers as needed (typically annually or bi-annually) to boost engagement.
  • Access to your plan for all team members and staff, regardless of your organization
  • First aid and CPR materials for training and distribution for a crisis-ready workforce.
  • Family and personal emergency planning, so you don’t end up with gaps in your organization.

When you make your team a part of the business continuity development and maintenance process, they have a stronger sense of commitment to the process. Staff will be more willing to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities while retaining more of the critical information they'll need in the case of a disaster or business disruption.

Unlimited product and technical support are available via email and phone. The Plan-A-ware platform is continually being improved with revisions, upgrades, and new features as needed. Action trackers in the form of email reminders help assure accountability for ongoing maintenance, staff awareness, training, testing, and exercising

Personnel Data and Company Confidentiality

Plan-A-ware was developed according to ISO 22301, DRII, & BCI standards. Every piece of data need only be entered once and is then propagated automatically. Every change and who made it is tracked and recorded by the audit function, creating a history of activity in your plan.

The Plan-A-ware platform is protected by an SSL certificate, ensuring that access is secure. A username and password are required for all users. The platform is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. Your plan is backed up daily to multiple dispersed locations with advanced data security.

Are You Ready to Streamline the Process of Business Continuity Planning?
Analyzing threats and their impacts, developing a comprehensive plan, and maintaining your plan can start as soon as you decide to act. Plan-A-ware’s collaborative platform helps you create a living, evolving, and effective plan that engages your team and increases the likelihood that they will remember what to do if a crisis occurs. The goal is a business continuity plan your staff will actually use.

Interested in learning more about Plan-A-ware, Attainium, and business continuity planning? Contact us to set up a demo today. We’ll walk you through our process and show you how seamless continuity planning can be when you shift from a binder in a drawer to an interactive, easy-to-use platform.

Business Continuity Planning