A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a plan on how an organization can continue to deliver its products and / or services during a major disruption.
Business continuity means recovering back the core services and letting the less important ones go down until the organization has the bandwidth to do those or conditions are back to BAU (Business As Usual).
There are 5 important steps for making an effective BCP:
Analyse the impact to all of your business processes and activities to understand the priorities, dependencies and resources that support your operations.
Identify the principal classes of threats and the impacts they may have on your organization. We often classify these risks into archetype scenarios to assist us with later training or testing of our business continuity plans.
Take actions to mitigate those risks. Though this is not strictly part of business continuity plan, but it must be done to make your BCP much more effective.
Create plans to maintain continuity in the fist of threats we had identified, typically the threats to people, physical infrastructure, technology, data and supply chain.
Identify core business continuity team and staff to conduct trainings, awareness session, tests and exercises that will allow us to evaluate our plans, identify gaps and increase preparedness.
It is must to maintain the plan as relevant as possible at any point of time as you never know when a disaster would strike.
Have strict plans to review and update the BCP as part of continuous improvement.
A vital piece of advice – It is no good having a plan as only one set of documents stored in offices or only on the shared folders in a server.
The plan has to be at couple of alternate locations as well because you never know that the incident or threat may deny physical access to your office or the server where you have stored the plan is either not accessible or has crashed.
The core of the plan has to become the grind in thoughts of the leadership team so that they are able to recover quickly and effectively without necessary having access to all the steps in the plan which have been articulated.
It is important to note that the value of planning is not in the plan itself, but the contemplative, analytical and decisive mindset it creates.