A business continuity plan is a disaster recovery plan that ensures that an organization’s core operations can be restarted in the event of an emergency. Every organization should have a top business continuity plan to ensure continued service, reduce disruption and save money. But what does a typical business continuity plan consist of?
The components of a business continuity plan typically include:
1. Data replication, backup, and recovery
Whenever any type of disaster occurs, the data on a company’s computers may be in danger. The business continuity plan should document all planned data protection activities and how they should be performed. These activities may include:
Online backup with an external hard drive or online backup services such as Carbonite or Mozy. This service will allow critical files to be backed up to an external server, which can then be accessed by employees even if they are unable to access their computers because of a natural disaster.
2. Risk evaluation and mitigation strategies
A risk assessment should be performed on an ongoing basis to ensure that all risks are being managed within the organization. This will determine the necessary steps to take to minimize the possible impact of a disaster and will include determining the acceptable risk levels to the organization.
3. Continuity of operations plan
The continuity of operations plans documents how an organization will continue to operate if its facility is damaged or destroyed, or if employees are unable to reach the facility because of a natural disaster (such as a hurricane or earthquake). Most continuity plans involve having backup facilities or emergency contact information for each employee. This ensures that employees can continue their operations even if they are unable to physically connect to the primary location.
4. Asset management
The asset management plan ensures that all assets on-site are properly protected. This should include the physical security of assets and the security of information. The plan should also include the location and maintenance of vital records, such as sales registers, employee files, and company sales receipts. These records can be extremely valuable in a disaster. So it is important to ensure that they are not damaged or destroyed. They can also be used to prove financial activities after a natural disaster.
5. Incident management strategy
The incident management strategy ensures that the organization will be able to properly deal with any incidents that occur. This may include physical attacks, computer hacking, or phishing scams. The plan will ensure that employees know how to respond in the event of an incident. It will also document how the organization should respond to any security or data breaches, such as a data breach involving company credit card details.
6. Policy and procedures
The policy and procedures document informs employees that they must follow certain guidelines when dealing with any incidents. For example, the plan should outline how to properly record information during an incident, including how to ensure that sensitive data is not permanently recorded on paper or stored on a server without encryption. This could cause a security breach if the sensitive data is left in an unencrypted file format such as PDF. The policies will also include information such as how employees should use computers and mobile devices in an emergency.
Once a business continuity plan is developed, it should be tested regularly to ensure that all employees know how to respond in the event of an emergency. This will ensure that the plan will work effectively if it is needed. When creating your business continuity plan, remember that it should be unique to your organization. You should not simply use a generic template and change a few words. The plan should be customized to your company’s needs.