Break down plan into manageable segments.

Business continuity management (BCM) helps a business prepare and plan for how it will recover in the aftermath of a disaster. Business continuity planning requires time and effort from all areas of the business, but in the long run, having a business continuity plan (BCP) in place can help reduce loss, save lives and speed recovery after a major emergency.
 
Start the business continuity and disaster recovery planning process by breaking down the plan into several sections and working on one section at a time-beginning with establishing policies and determining risks.
 

Establish policy and organizational structure.

  • Create a BCM policy statement
  • Create a BCM team with designated roles and responsibilities appoint a BCM coordinator to lead the team and manage the plan
  • Identify hazards, risks and assets
  • Conduct business impact analysis and risk assessment (hazard identification, probability of occurrence, impact analysis)
  • Assess and inventory resources, assets and capabilities throughout the company
  • Focus on preventive measures to minimize risk of disasters and emergencies

Prepare in advance.

  • Designate and stock an Emergency Command Center with emergency supplies (first aid supplies, battery powered radios, nonperishable food, water, etc.)
  • Establish emergency communications systems and plans
  • Develop relationships with community organizations needed during an emergency such as fire, police and hospitals

Establish mutual aid agreements with other businesses similar to yours.

  • Create evacuation plans and routes include planning for individuals with disabilities.
  • Protect physical assets and vital records
  • Ensure continuity of computer operations by taking steps in advance to protect both hardware and software
  • Establish a media relations plan to help disseminate information to your customers, partners and the public
  • Gather information and identify resources for crisis preparedness

Create an action plan for the emergency.

  • Establish policies and procedures to activate the emergency command center, alert and warn personnel, receive and process emergency calls
  • Implement the emergency preparedness plan activate alarms and notify officials; alert, evacuate, shelter and account for personnel; activate emergency communications; close the office and shut down operations.
  • Document the emergency and all actions taken

Develop a recovery plan.

  • Conduct pre-emergency recovery analysis and planning prioritize actions to recover from an emergency
  • Establish policies and procedures to conduct damage assessment, salvage operations, activate recovery communications and provide employee support

Test your plan and train your employees.

  • Conduct pre-training for the BCM team and employees
  • Create policies and procedures for training, tests and drills of your plans
  • Testing your plan should start small such as tabletop exercises and culminate into a full exercise of all your plans
  • Document test activities and result

Keep your plan current.

  • Audit your plan at least once a year. Review and identify areas to update, assess the chain of command, and evaluate resources, employee knowledge and awareness
  • Update your plan whenever there are new operations, processes equipment or materials; you change or add new sites or building layouts; you change or add new vendors; or there are major business deals such as mergers or acquisitions