Every business feels the need to prepare strategies for business growth. These strategies are essential to prevent business losses and work towards plans that assure better business prospects.
The strategies are compiled in documents in the form of business continuity plans, which are very important for any organization. The documents also define how to keep day-to-day business operations running, even during uncertain circumstances, to curtail business losses.
Several businesses name these “disaster recovery plans.” Others call them departmental recovery plans. They use “business continuity plans” to talk about the organization plan as a whole. The approach of the organizations could differ in terms of their size. No matter, what term is used by the organizations, a plan is required to face a crisis.
Here are four steps for you to learn to prepare a business continuity plan-
Analyze The Impact Of Your Business
To create a business continuity plan, you need to start by analyzing the impact of your business. You can start this by analyzing how your business delivers the products and services to consumers. Then, note down the resources used to initiate those processes. Generally, the resources include employees, business partners, office infrastructure, equipment, technological assets, and other supplies.
After doing this, think about how the depth of a crisis can affect your business. Suppose, if the office computer system fails, how long would you be able to work without it? Or if an accidental fire destroys your office building or infrastructure, then would you be able to continue your services, and if yes, for how long?
The answer to these questions lies in your ability to continue working in an emergency when you are short on resources. The duration you choose to start is considered the Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption (MTPOD). It suggests the amount of time you have to find the solution or an alternative to the problem.
However, if your organization fails to recover within time, you might destroy your business reputation by failing to deliver products and services to the customers as promised. To deal with this situation, you must understand the legal liabilities and other issues that will impact your business. It will definitely help you.
Make Separate Recovery Plans For Departments And Workers
After analyzing your MTPOD (Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption), you must consider the time you need to recover, hence the name Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Now that you know what RTO stands for, you’re able to prepare recovery plans for all departments, workers, and people associated with your business.
The recovery plans should define the tasks to be completed by specific people during the crisis. For example, if a plan talks about power supply failure, one employee should be given the responsibility of calling the power company . Another employee should ask to look for the backup generator. The third person should be assigned the duty to ensure proper communication between the team leaders. Once completed, the employees can move ahead with their next tasks.
If your organization contains several departments and employees, make sure that your plans define who has the authority to command during a crisis. Cross-training your employees to be able to manage emergency tasks, allows you to have a plan that’s successful. So, if anyone is not available, busy, or unable to handle the situation, another staff member can step up and resume leadership. It helps everyone to be ready to deal effectively with the crisis.
Now, there might arise a situation that makes you unable to pursue this recovery plan. So, you should prepare some backup recovery plans as well. Under the backup plans, assign duties to different employees and deal with a different approach. The backup plans can also make employees work from different locations until the office is functional. All of this will contribute to your business recovery process.
Have you ever heard of the term Battle Box? They include documents and items required by organizations during a crisis. So, you should prepare a battle box with a business continuity plan and others.
Do not forget to include important information in it like serial numbers of products and services, etc. Also, include the contact details of all the staff members as communication needs to be strong enough during an emergency.
You also need to mention resources such as cellphones, laptops, first aid kit, flashlight, and bottles of water in the Battle Boxes. These are essential items. Small organizations are good to go with a single battle box. However, large organizations should have separate battle boxes for each department.
You should also include some prepared media statements for a few different scenario’s. These should be prepared by a public relations specialist.
Practice For The Real Situation
You’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” That’s true, especially when it comes to your business and it’s continuity plan. You should include running crisis simulations in your training program to analyze how well your plan will work during a real crisis. The practice exercise also trains your employees; as they learn to deal better with a crisis. It will make them panic less when a real emergency or crisis occurs.
Big brands such as Amazon, Netflix, and Google have tried these practice runs. They usually surprise their emergency response department by practicing running crisis simulations without a prior warning.
Some organizations allow their in-house teams to look after the crisis simulations, while others hire third-party agencies for this job. These people keep track of the response team’s actions during the practice, analyze their impacts, and suggest ways to improve their performance and reactions.
In addition to the emergency response drills, these experts help you to prepare a business continuity plan. You can talk to your IT service provider about how a third-party disaster recovery expert can assist you with your business.