Business Continuity Plans

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This document provides guidelines on how to develop a Business Continuity Plan for your organization. The purpose of the business continuity planning guide is to provide guidance on the processes to follow when developing business continuity plans.   This..

A Business Continuity Plan BCP documents the organization's exposure to internal and external threats.

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) methodology is used to produce a plan that will enable an organization to continue to function in the face of some kind of interruption to its normal operation. The plan needs to be scalable for an organization of any size and complexity.
Consulting Cloud offers sample Business Continuity Plans templates, which are sample documents (that have actually been used in a real life situation) that can be used to assist with development of your own plans so you can execute a recovery from a catastrophic event affecting the business.
The development of a Business Continuity Plan can be a complex and daunting task for any organization. The documents provided on the Consulting Cloud website are actual documents in use by many businesses worldwide. By starting with a Business Continuity Plan sample document, the task can be expedited to ensure that the business can recover from a high impact event in a structured way. We have found that it is better to start with an existing template to prompt the questions that need to be asked and to assist if defing the best and most effective process for your organization.

There are usually 9 steps to developing an effective Business Continuity Plan. These are:

- Commence a programme of works. This includes gaining commitment, awareness and seting up a programme
- Develop a Risk assessment program
- Business Impact Analysis
- Definition of response strategies
- Developing resource and interdependency requirements
- Develop the Business Continuity Plan BCP
- Develop a communications strategy
- Training, maintaining and testing
- Activation
Testing your Business Continuity Plan 
Key strategies for testing include starting simple; raising the bar in terms of difficulty; involving vendors and stakeholders in tests; making tests so difficult it is impossible to succeed; and launching surprise tests. When launching a testing exercise program, start with plan reviews and tabletops. This will help staff get comfortable with the testing process. As they improve, increase the level of test complexity. Remember that if a test "fails" it is not a failure; rather, it is a success. It is far better to identify systems and procedures that may fail, and rectify them, before a real incident occurs. Finally, a true test is to launch a surprise incident. This will truly test how well prepared the company is to address a real incident.
The primary reason for testing is to identify deficiencies in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans. Ideally, successful tests uncover and document problems. Tests that appear to be "successful" and uncover no problem should be suspect. Finally, tests present opportunities to fix problems before a disaster happens.
A Business Continuity Plan is essential for any business. It is however usually one of the lowest priority items that most businesses attend to. A significant amount of time and money can be saved by downloading sample documents from the Consulting Cloud website.
It is critical with any Business Continuity Plan that the impact analysis is performed first and agreed across the business. This will allow prioritization of restoration of services should a disaster occur.


More topics

Assesing organization risk
Creating a business risk profile
Developing a company wide communications plan
Comprehensive guide for managing projects
Test plan templates for projects
Templates to assist with the delivery of your Business Continuity Plan process