A business continuity plan which is a strategic stance taken by organizations to ensure that normal business activities are restored within the shortest possible time after a disaster has occurred has some components that makes it complete and usable.
I have seen all sorts of documented presented by small businesses as business continuity plan. The standard reason that they always give is that BCP is not for businesses of their size and nature. Gone are the days when only big businesses consider business continuity as an integral part of their overall business strategy.
Nowadays, both small and medium sized companies all have functional PCB in place. This article lists and explains those vital components of a business continuity plan. So sit back and enjoy it.
Important documents that make up a complete business continuity plan
Business case or supporting project document: this is the initial document created at the beginning of a project to provide business justification to an intended venture. The aim of this document is to convince stakeholders of the importance of having a business continuity plan in a company.
A business case document typically includes the following sub document; project charter, statement of scope, project plan, impact analysis statement, and statements from project sponsors. In fact, a business case is the foundation upon which every successful business continuity plan is based on, get it right and you are on your way to unprecedented business success.
Evaluation and analysis documents: the analysis documents are those supporting piece of evidence that helps sell the idea of setting up a functional business continuity program in place. Some examples of evaluation and analysis documents are; criticality demonstration document, business impact analysis (BIA), strategic business analysis, threat assessment, risk assessment, and operational documents like recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO)
Response manuals: a business continuity plan will be useless if there are no implementation manuals that responsible officers can fall back to in time of disaster. Response manuals are those documents that contain detailed required actions of personnel when a disaster occurs.
Experience has demonstrated the importance of having well written response manuals. Response documents include the following; security incident response plan (SIRP), business resumption plan (BRP), up-to-date contact lists, continuity of operations plan (coop), emergency communication plan, occupants evacuation procedure manual, etc.
Test and monitor documents: processes are nothing without control and monitor. Your investment in developing and executing your business continuity plan will amount to nothing if a sort of test and feedback process is not in place.
Test and monitoring documents acts as management control tools which good managers rely on to evaluate the effectiveness of a concluded process. In as much as no two business disasters can be the same, management still learn valuable lesson from every incident. The only way that this can happen is if management include test and review procedures in the business continuity document. Some business continuity experts see test and review documents as pool of all relevant piece of documentations that relates to every know business or security incident within an organization.
A business continuity plan that lack any of the above described components should be dumped in the bin as it will serve little or no purpose in event of a business disaster.
Hope I have not succeeded in scaring you? If you are small or family business owner and you are wondering how to develop a BCP for your small business, I advise that you read this article on small business BCP for a start.