Tips for Creating and Using a Strategic Business Continuity Plan Beyond COVID-19 

May 26th, 2020
Tips for Creating and Using a Strategic Business Continuity Plan Beyond COVID-19 

In last week’s Tech Tuesday Tip series, we learned when unplanned disasters occur, a proper Business Continuity Plan can help minimize downtime, protect what is important, and ensure recovery if necessary.

Just 12% of organizations were highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus, according to Gartner’s recent Business Continuity Survey. Pandemics are not our typical business disaster, but in the next few months, businesses need to be able to transition back and forth between the workplace and home.

But how do we create a strategic Business Continuity Plan (BCP) beyond COVID-19?

If your organization does not have a BCP in place, now is a good time to put one together. These steps will help you formulate an effective BCP that will ensure your company keeps running even during a major crisis. Troy Gill, manager of security research at Zix-AppRiver, suggests, “Strongly consider leveraging a consultant or Managed Service Provider. Shifting an entire business overnight can be a daunting task even for the tech-savvy. There will be many opportunities for missteps, which can be greatly reduced by having someone with experience on your side.”

1 Business impact analysis (BIA)
A BIA will help you determine how a disruption can affect your company's current functions and processes, such as personnel, equipment, technology, and physical infrastructure. This step will determine which areas are vulnerable and will help you calculate the potential financial and operational loss from each function and process affected.

2 Plan development
This step involves assembling your company's continuity team, which will be responsible for developing and implementing your BCP. Everyone who has responsibilities in the BCP should have a clear understanding of the roles they will play in executing the plan.

The plan should include:

  • A summary of the most critical business processes.
  • Potential threats that could disrupt business operations.
  • A listing of both onsite and offsite IT contact information.
  • Proper set up to operate remotely: system setup, equipment logistics services, establishing secure VPN, etc.

3 Recovery options
Most businesses have a fixed cybersecurity budget. Many of the IT resources used to cut costs by businesses have an increased chance of being targeted by cybercriminals, thus creating a financial impact on the business.  Disaster recovery can minimize disaster costs and ensure business continuity, so they don’t face negative impacts. Developing a DR plan if you do not already have one should be part of your plan. You need to be sure that restoration time is defined. This step will help you identify key resources essential to returning your business to minimum operational levels. Some recovery options you can take include letting employees work from home or operating from a secondary location.

4 Testing and training
Once your BCP is in place, your continuity team needs to perform regular tests to identify gaps and make necessary changes to ensure the plan’s effectiveness. Avoid creating a BCP and just hoping for the best. You also need to conduct regular training for your employees so everyone knows their respective roles when a disaster strikes.

Having a foolproof BCP is a great way to ensure your business can quickly bounce back after a major disaster. If you are thinking about creating a BCP for your company but do not know where to start, give NDSE, Inc. a call today.