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Key Components of a Business Continuity Plan

Published on December 01, 2023

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If you face an emergency tomorrow, how quickly would your business be able to bounce back? The answer depends on how robust your business continuity plan (BCP) is.

The elements of a business continuity plan include all the vital information companies need to keep operating in disruptive events. They identify an organisation’s essential business processes and systems, along with the pertinent details for maintaining them.

You must consider a wide range of disruptions or incidents when creating your BCP. It should address several possible threats, such as human error, natural disasters, hacking, and another pandemic, to name a few.

Let’s explore the key components of a robust business continuity plan so companies can successfully prepare for any threats and effectively protect their brands’ reputation and continued health.

components of business continuity plan

What are 2 necessary elements of business continuity planning?

Although there are many things to consider, two primary business continuity plan components are:

1. Data backup, protection, and recovery

2. Personnel, procedures, and communication

    These are the main components of a strong business continuity plan. Keep reading to gain a deeper insight into the major aspects of healthy BCP creation and management.

    Breaking down the basic elements of a business continuity plan

    Perhaps the most valuable resource for most businesses today is data. In case of an emergency, organisations need to know their data will be safe. That’s what makes a proper BCP so imperative.

    Start by identifying the dedicated key personnel needed for data recovery. Moreover, all the most critical departments should include someone well-versed and trained in the management processes set forth by the organisation’s BCP, as well as a designated, clear chain of command to follow.

    Finally, you need to thoroughly outline procedures for the company’s functionality to be promptly and comprehensively recovered. This should include a detailed strategy to prioritise the identified critical business functions and assets that are most critical, like network systems, essential equipment, vital documents, and more. To fully protect them, all the possible threats and risks must be identified and planned for.

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    Here are 5 key elements of business continuity plan management

    Whether equipping your digital security to prevent the incidence of a cyber attack that could cost your company immeasurably in the form of data loss or creating an action plan in the case of a potential natural disaster, the value of formulating a functional BCP is clear.

    1. Data backup (onsite and offsite), including all financial documents, contracts, etc.

    2. Designation of roles and responsibilities with full contact information and a term glossary

    3. Risk assessment, detailed guidelines, and itemised procedures for each potential threat

      In addition, the following components are also extremely important:

      4. Outline a crisis communication strategy and specify the official chain of command

      5. Testing, training, and ongoing maintenance and revision to ensure all plans are up-to-date

        Setting forth all these particulars well in advance ensures a swift response from team leaders within your organisation, allowing for essential business functions to continue as smoothly as possible in a crisis.

        Always conduct an initial Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and risk assessment

        When approaching the task of developing a valuable business continuity plan, organisations must run a business impact analysis to identify the possible vulnerabilities and risks their business faces, both externally and internally.

        With solid information upon which to base your basic business continuity requirements and plans, each threat – be it an IT disturbance, a supplier failure, or a flood – can be appropriately targeted and prepared for. Only by knowing what you’re potentially facing can you begin to take the correct steps for their mitigation and prevention.

        Additionally, the initial, comprehensive business impact analysis should account for the potential outcomes and consequences of possible disruptions to the business operations of the organisation. Anticipating the impact on essential functions of the business is necessary to determine the recovery time that you need as well as the actual costs that may be incurred.

        components of business continuity planning

        Preparation is key

        Understanding the risks and their consequences is a major first step in developing the best business continuity plan to prepare for them.

        Each risk that you identify through the business impact analysis should be considered in developing a comprehensive BCP. Every unique strategy should aim to either prevent or minimise the possible problem.

        With a detailed approach for each scenario, you can outline action items, along with key players and implementation procedures. You should take measures to ensure a quick and relevant response strategy, like establishing reliable backup lines of communication.

        Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

        Make sure each individual involved is both identified and fully prepared to perform their clearly defined BC roles and duties, helping to foster more efficient reactions and responses.

        Moreover, you must prepare the appropriate resources these staff members will need in the wake of a disruption to effectively perform their responsibilities.

        This may include tools to provide dependable communication – an asset while responding to any disruption. Without effective communication, even the most well-laid recovery strategies and plans may be rendered useless. Also, consider the available backup methods for maintaining client and supplier communications during a disruption.

        Finally, a comprehensive BCP usually includes a complete contact list and templates for possible press releases and online posts. These pre-planned tools will expedite the lines of communication during a crisis to better keep everyone promptly updated.

        To learn more about the international standard for business continuity management system requirements, refer to ISO 22301.

        Testing, 1, 2, 3

        Rather than keep your BCP in the realm of hypotheticals, an integral step in creating effective plans is to practice them. Put your plans into action with testing and training. it's essential to help you refine them so they’re able to perform better in the hour of need.

        Test your BCP scenarios in realistic drills and assess the response of your team so it can be improved over time. Doing this can prove invaluable during a real crisis. For this reason, team members should remain aware of the BCP and the role they may play in the business continuity plans and strategies.

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        Working with Business Continuity Plan Management Specialists

        Proper business continuity planning is a must. It lowers the risk of expensive losses and outages. Organisations must be proactive in formulating the optimal plan for times of crisis that demonstrates a complete understanding of all existing vulnerabilities and possible threats.

        It’s an integral process that requires serious inspection and skilled execution, which means it often requires investing in the dependable services of those who specialise in the creation of efficient and effective business plans.

        Don’t run the risk of any costly and unexpected business interruptions down the road. Here at C2, we’ll help you prepare for the unexpected so you can keep serving your customers in their every time of need. Get in touch today.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. What are the 3 main areas of business continuity management?

        An organisation’s BCP addresses what would happen in the event of a system failure or other potentially business-halting emergency. If your company went offline tomorrow, how would you proceed?

        To function properly, a BCP should include the following 3 areas:

        1. Identifying all possible points of failure

        2. Establishing various risk control systems

        3. Testing disruption workarounds to maintain key processes and functions

          2. What are the 5 components of a business continuity plan?

          Constructing your ideal BCP requires these important components:

          1. Perform a comprehensive risk assessment, a business impact analysis, and documentation of all data at the starting point. Ask the question: if everything suddenly went offline, what are the critical controls for maintaining security and continued operations?

          2. Evaluate how many team members you need for each essential centre of operations to continue running in a crisis. Additionally, consider the skills your staff need for them to perform all the required functions.

          3. Executives, team leaders, and IT administrators should collaborate to break down the BCP’s scope and purpose to design and formulate a complete plan. It will typically include an array of essential elements, such as diagrams, checklists, and protocols for emergency management; guidelines on how and when to initiate them; and a full glossary of terms.

          4. Once you have developed a comprehensive plan, you must implement, test, and adjust it as needed for optimal performance. This includes training all personnel in the plan’s execution.

          5. Define formal processes for the scheduled review, ongoing management, and updated revision of official, step-by-step continuity procedures.

            3. Why is it important for organisations to possess a robust BCP?

            With a stellar business continuity plan, companies can significantly reduce the likelihood that disruption will halt their business and incur unwanted costs.

            A proper BCP aids organisations in responding promptly and confidently in the event of an emergency or disaster. As a result, businesses can reduce disaster recovery times, support ongoing customer satisfaction, and promote confidence among their staff members.

            At C2, we have the tools and resources to generate the most powerful and comprehensive business continuity plan for your organisation. Book a demo today and find out how we can help!

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            Written by Grace Lowe

            Operations Manager at Continuity2

            With a solid background in sales and support, Grace manages day-to-day activities so that business processes run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. For the past 3 years, Grace has built and maintained strong relationships with clients, maximising their Business Continuity and Resilience efforts to the fullest.

            C2 Author Grace 1
            C2 Author Grace 1

            Written by Grace Lowe

            Operations Manager at Continuity2

            With a solid background in sales and support, Grace manages day-to-day activities so that business processes run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. For the past 3 years, Grace has built and maintained strong relationships with clients, maximising their Business Continuity and Resilience efforts to the fullest.