Business Continuity Plan: A Practical Guide | SupportBiz

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Business Continuity Plan: A Practical Guide

Here's how SMEs can strategise a BCP to ensure quick revival and sustainability of business
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is more than a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). In fact, it includes several DRPs.  The BCP provides organisations a roadmap to survive and revive following a disaster, as quickly and smoothly as possible. 
DRPs, such as the one for information technology, are more technical in nature, targeted at specific groups within an organization, to guide them in reviving a particular business application.
A BCP addresses four main questions:
  • How can an organization be disaster ready so as not to slip into bankruptcy
  • How long can the company sustain the disruption
  • Which critical resources should become available quickly for business revival
  • What are some of the potential disasters in the next few years that could have a crippling impact
Good documentation is critical for a successful BCP, as it comes in handy when all hopes are lost by the impact of a disaster.
It should clearly enunciate the purpose, scope and team that will spearhead the BCP implementation when the need arises. Risk assessment and prior preparations for disasters, emergency response measures and strategies for resuming services early will minimize losses due to disruption. It should prioritize activities and the time each activity will need for recovery. The resources needed to resume key activities need to be identified. This needs the organisation to be prepared financially as well as functionally. Since a disaster can be of any nature – natural, manmade, financial, marketplace related-- constant review review, modifications and improvement will make the document relevant at all times.
Purpose: Protection of the people physically present in your organization at the time of the disaster is the first purpose of your BCP. Next is protecting the infrastructure, stock and services of your organisation.
Scope: Limit the scope to key sections such as the main factory, and the core sections that are critical to your company's survival.
BCP Team: Identify a leader and empower him or her to carry out the core responsibilities. A support team to work with the leader should also be nominated and responsibilities explained.
Financial Support: Allocate a budget and resources that will be accessible at the time of emergency since regular channels may be inaccessible during the times of emergency.
A good BCP document comes in handy when emergency throws life out of gear and people stop thinking clearly. The document will enable the organization and the BCP team to prioritise activities to resume normal or near normal services. Wherever possible, keep an alternative unit in a different location ready and have periodical trial drills for smooth take-over in case of shut down of the main unit. These are important for the BCP to be implemented properly when the need arises.
(Meera Srikant is a freelancer)

Picture Courtesy:  Marinela Prodan (freeimages)