Business continuity planning (BCP) aims to ensure that you and your employees are prepared to continue business operations in the event of a disaster. Disasters can come in different forms and levels of severity. Severe weather could damage your facility or cause a power outage. Human error could also cause a catastrophe for business if an employee accidentally deletes a critical file. As you are creating your plan, you should ask yourself some crucial questions:
In the event of a disaster, how will my business access information? Where is our data, and how is it backed up?
Are we prepared for different levels of disaster? For example, what would we do to recover a deleted file? What would we do if we had to operate at a location other than our facility?
How long can the business operate without access to information, and how much information can it afford to lose?
As you are creating your BCP, your IT procedures need to be addressed, but your plan should also include instructions for how your people should implement the necessary recovery measures, so be sure that you have the following:
- A written procedure detailing the responsibilities of everyone involved in your business when reacting to either impending or current disasters
- Instructions for proper reactions to different threat levels, so the most efficient actions can be taken to overcome the problem and get back to work
- The preparation to let you work as efficiently out of the office as in it if a disaster ever damages your onsite equipment, using virtual systems
Test your backup and practice your recovery procedures. It is wise to conduct "Fire Drill" type mock recoveries to allow your employees to practice proper reactions and discover potential weaknesses you must address. Having a plan is good, but your plan is only as good as your implementation.