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