Recently, someone on LinkedIn asked about business continuity plan templates to understand the level of effort required to come up with a plan.
I think this is a good question because it brings up the issue of using templates for business continuity plans.
There are many templates that you can download on the Internet, and, of course, some are good and some are inadequate. However, by downloading them, you do get a good idea or reasonable idea of the requirements of a business continuity plan.
What are the main elements of a business continuity plan?
There are usually about five. These include risks and potential business impact; planning an effective response; roles and responsibilities; communication; and testing and training.
Planning is a key component of the ISO 22301 business continuity standard.
In brief, planning includes: actions to address risks and opportunities; business continuity objectives and planning to achieve them; and planning changes to the business continuity management system.
There also needs to be operational planning. This involves implementing and controlling the processes required as a result of a disruptive incident (of whatever nature).
Included in the plan should be the business impact analysis, the risk assessment, and the business continuity strategies and solutions.
So essentially, it’s not just a plan that is required but also a response structure that will, to quote the standard, “… enable timely warning and communication to relevant interested parties. It shall provide plans and procedures to manage the organisation during a disruption. The plans and procedures shall be used when required to activate business continuity solutions.”
Business continuity plan templates are good when they cover all these elements key elements. However, templates only take you so far.
It’s important to bring on board subject matter experts and outside consultants to ensure that your templates are filled in with accurate, quality information, says Richard Long, a practice team leader for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements.
It requires expertise to ensure that your business continuity plan template is completed correctly in respect of your particular organisation.
It’s equally important that your business continuity plan is updated and tested regularly. Last but not least, you need to ensure that your business continuity plan is accessible to the team and is communicated widely in your organisation.
In a future newsletter, I will cover a simplified process flow that should be followed in planning a BCP.
New business threats continue to emerge and keeping track of all of them is arduous. Grow your business with a tested continuity plan that saves you time and lets you focus on taking your business to the next level.