Create an Effective Business Continuity Plan
An effective business continuity plan helps a company to mitigate the effects of sudden, unforeseeable adverse situations. It is a plan put in place by a company to minimize financial losses and recover operations to keep consumers happy in the event of natural disasters, human error, terrorism, disease outbreak, or technological failures. In simpler terms, it is the plan that helps maximize the company’s brand potential during, and after a stint of unwelcome abruption.
In this article, we look at how you can create an effective business continuity plan to ensure you minimize any kinds of risks to your business during bad times.
How The Business Continuity Plan Differs From Disaster Recovery Plan
Before moving to the main part of the article, we need to discuss this. Many are confused between BCP And DRP and ask us if they are the same things.
Well, their functions may overlap, but they are not the same. A business continuity plan concerns how you can keep up with your day to day operations during a disaster and immediately after it. On the other hand, the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) helps get a company back on track after the event.
For example, say that an earthquake destroyed a certain branch of a company. Then, its Business Continuity Plan may involve letting employees work from home. On the other hand, DRP will include the plan needed to rebuild the office and bring employees back to the company to continue working before the earthquake occurred.
For reference, here is a BCP plan template you can use in Singapore.
Steps for Making an Effective Business Continuity Plan
Step 1: Start By Knowing the Risks that Can Occur in your Company
Start by identifying all the risks that can occur, abrupting the day to day operations of your office. Some of them can be:
- Natural Disasters
- IT Issues
- Internal Construction Problems, like leaking water.
- Epidemic of Diseases
- Loss of Data
- Fire, etc.
Step 2: Make a Business Continuity Impact Analysis
For each risk, identify the most time-sensitive activities during the disruption. You need to document all your business processes and identify which process you will need to prioritize above the others. Additionally, you should also identify the resources that you will need to do the operations.
You start the Business Continuity Impact analysis by making a list of the business processes happening in your company. Now, if a risk is to occur, study which of those processes will be affected more than the others. After that, depending on how much resources the processes need, and their value to the business, you should decide the operations you will run before the others.
During this stage, you should also decide how much downtime can occur and how much you can afford to lose. Furthermore, regarding the work that takes place during the Continuity Phase, make a list of the things that could go wrong, and decide on how you will tackle the issues.
Step 3: Evaluate and Decide on the Solutions
Now that you have the results of the Business Continuity Impact Analysis, you should discuss the best approach for the solution. Depending on the type of the disaster, you can decide on various things like Cold Disaster Recovery Site (a substitute place where your employees can work if the office building is damaged), Backup and Recovery (place where you put the backup data of your office and retrieve them if you lose it, can be a cloud).
If your office must always need to run its operations, you can always have a place at standby. It’s called a Hot Disaster Recovery Site. Letting your employees work from home could also be a great solution.
Step 4: Create the Plan and Communicate it to Your Employees
The next step is creating an effective business continuity plan itself. In this phase, you will also need to communicate the strategies to your employees.
During this stage, the more individuality you can give to your business processes and resources, the more it can be efficient. For example, say that your company’s account branch office has to be closed due to a certain reason. Hence, the employees in that branch need to work from other places where there aren’t a lot of resources. Then, in such cases, you can decide to do only the customers’ accounts and complete the accounting for the payroll after the branch office reopens.
After having concrete plans, you will need to give your employees how they should act in certain conditions, and what the office will do if something happens. Prepare and offer each of your employees a handbook regarding how to be safe when adverse situations arise all of a sudden, for example, a fire. Then, in the handbook, also lay out clear guidelines on how you will continue working during those times, so everyone will get time to prepare.
Step 5: Test Your Plan
The final step is the testing and validation of your plan. For this, you will need to create a fake scenario and prepare your employees to act in the situation. On the other hand, you can also allocate a day or two to see how effective your BCP is. For example, if you wish to let everyone work from home in case of a disaster, let your employees work from their home before any disaster occurs to see if that’s a good idea.
Testing your BCP will make it more efficient. You will get a clearer insight into if the idea is good and about the things that need to improve on it.
An effective Business continuity plan consists of the information of the risks, a business continuity impact analysis, evaluation of the solutions, the plan itself, and a way to test it.
This was it for this article. Contact 3E Accounting if you want to know more about it, want to create a flawless business continuity plan for your company.