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How To Write A Business Continuity Plan

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Developing Business Continuity

Many businesses never develop a business continuity plan, or at least hold off on it until it is too late and a catastrophic event has already occurred. Holding an accreditation in business continuity planning, such as BS 25999, will enable your business to continue operating in even the harshest of conditions.

Which steps can you put in place to ensure that you develop an excellent business continuity plan, and attain a BS 25999 certification?

Bear in mind when reading these steps that business continuity planning relates to simple occurrences, such as a broken computer terminal or fax machine, as well as more extreme events such as floods and bomb attacks.

Business Continuity Plan

Perfect Planning: The 13 Steps

1. Who are the key people in the business, who are absolutely critical to your operation? This list needs to be as large as necessary but as small as possible. List all of these people with full contact details so they can be always be contacted in the event of an emergency.

2. Can anyone work from home? If there has been a major event impacting the office, having people who can keep your business moving remotely will be a massive asset.

3. List external contacts. If you have contacts looking to deliver to your business, or who are meeting you for appointments, you will need to be able to contact them to notify any changes to plans. This list will be very long, and include anyone who may help your business such as lawyers, accountants, and key contacts such as police and other services.

4. List equipment. Ensure you have all information on computers backed up elsewhere, so in the event of your office being lost you can continue to operate. Is a photocopier a central part of your business? What is the contingency plan if something goes wrong with it?

5. What are the critical documents? Ensure you are able to access all documents that you would need to hypothetically start your business from scratch. Prepare as if you are planning for a worst case scenario, such as a fire totally destroying your facilities.

6. Source contingency equipment. If you are a delivery company, where can you hire a fleet of vans easily?

7. Have a contingency location. This could be a hotel, or another branch of your business. If you listed many people in point 2, can everyone work from home?

8. How to do everything. List what everyone’s responsibilities are, so you, or another superior, can continue to run the business effectively. Remember that your absence could be a reason for the plan to come into action!

9. Put it all together. Keep the business continuity plan in a binder, with a master copy and subsequent copies given to all key personnel in your business.

10. Communicate – make sure everyone who needs to know the plan, knows the plan!

11. Test out the plan. This will be a key part of any BS 25999 audit. Much like your regular fire drills, carry out the test to see how it works. Observe the test and look for what can be improved.

12. Have a plan for if the plan does not work. Sounds tedious, but say you are down to work from home, but the power cut affecting the office has also hit your house. What then?

13. Continuously review the plan. Another key part of BS 25999, keep your plan up to date and remember to update your documentation every time there are changes. Imagine if key person A leaves the business, and the plan is not updated. Who is carrying out person A’s role when disaster strikes?

Put these basics in place, and you will be well on the way to great business continuity and a BS 25999 certification.

Iso27001Standard is an industry leading online resource for the implementation of ISO 27001 and BS 25999 -2 standards.

April 16, 2012 |

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