What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A Business Continuity Plan is a detailed plan to help an organization navigate operational and technical challenges during a major system outage or process disruption.

Business Continuity Plans are more than IT plans or disaster recovery plans, they also involve personnel, facilities, services, goods, external vendors, and business processes.

For many industries such as healthcare, finance, and government, Business Continuity Plans are required to meet compliance regulations.

Whether or not your organization is required to have a plan, it is a best practice for any company to create and regularly test their Business Continuity Plan to guide them through difficult system disruptions.

Business Continuity Planning Steps

Creating a Business Continuity Plan can be a lengthy and resource intensive effort for any organization.  The planning and teamwork required to create a plan can be taxing on your organization and will require strong individuals ready to do tough work.

The total effort required to create a Business Continuity Plan depends upon the following criteria:

  • The size of the organization
  • The nature of the services the organization provides
  • The need to continue offering services during a disaster or incident; and,
  • The scope of the Information System Assets that must be recovered or replaced

For smaller organizations, creating a Business Continuity Plan may take a few hours and only involve a single person to line it out.  For other companies, the process of creating a plan can take weeks to months and bring in representatives from multiple departments and teams.

Business Continuity Plan Topics

While every Business Continuity Plan is unique, they all cover the following areas of concern:

  • Initial response.
    Identify and grade the criticality of key Information System Assets.  Should an asset become compromised, what are the initial steps to be taken?
  • Relocation.
    Determine if assets, such as people or computer systems, must be relocated.  Are they critical to continuing business operations?
  • Recovery.
    Ensure all assets have a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and create processes to achieve them.  Which assets must be recovered and in what order?
  • Restoration.
    With recovery in place and systems back online to maintain the business, a larger plan for the overall restoration of the business and how normal operations will be achieved must also be considered.

Business Continuity Technology

Cloud Backup Technology

With processes and data identified for business continuity, an off-site data backup plan using cloud backups will ensure information and applications are accessible when your primary business location is offline. Cloud backup data must not only be available offsite, but it must also be able to be mounted and brought online in a usable fashion by displaced employees. This can happen with a VPN or a remote desktop solution.

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Warm Co-Location Site

Instead of buying additional servers and looking for office space to setup shop in another city or state during a disaster, consider a "warm site". A warm site is a private cloud where copies of your servers with backups can reside, ready to work at short notice. Combine the warm site with ready to use virtual desktops and your business won't miss a beat.

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Remote Support Desk

Organizations that have local IT support may find that those resources are not available to support them during a disaster. Those resources may be relocating and fighting the same disaster challenges as the rest of your business and are not able to meet the emergency needs of your relocating business. Supplementing your IT support with a remote IT support company can help get you the support you need when you most need it.

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Business Continuity Plan

Need Business Continuity Planning Help?

Server@Work employs professional Information System Auditors to guide and manage Business Continuity Planning before, during, and after disasters.