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The Do's of BCP

Business continuity planning is an extensive, ever-changing process that has many potential pitfalls for the unprepared. In a previous article we discussed the Don'ts of BCP. Now, we would like to go through a few tips that you will want to incorporate to really ensure you’re creating a complete and successful plan to get your business recovered quickly in the event of a business interruption. 

DO: Keep open communication

During an outage, communication is incredibly important.  Not only do you need to be able to keep everyone in the company apprised of the situation on a regular basis, you also need to plan for many different avenues of communication, so if one isn’t available people can still get critical information disseminated.

The most important thing is to plan for communication outage before something happens. The last thing your organization needs is a half dozen people all messaging different information, and giving their own, potentially incorrect, version of what’s happening to customers or media (including social media). It’s best to assign one person responsible for internal communication, and one person responsible for external. This will ensure that, in a disaster the messaging will be optimized, and uniform. Very important: Be sure your employees understand that if they aren’t responsible for external communication, they should be not be interacting with external outlets.

This communication reaches into how you plan as well. Open up a dialogue with the fire and police departments about specifics in your plan. They likely have some insight that can help you create a more efficient process. These professionals are a great resource, so don’t shy away from utilizing that expertise.

DO: Vet your third party providers

Every organization has a group of vendors that they use to help make their products and services available. You need to understand how each of those vendors fits into your business continuity plan.

Make sure your providers take business continuity planning as seriously as you do, because if they go down, you’ll be dependent on their plan to get your services back up.

DO: Test

Testing…testing…1, 2, 3.

We cannot emphasize enough how important testing is to a business continuity plan. Having good documentation is a good first step, but can you carry out your plan?    Consider testing your plan against various scenarios or performing smaller tests on a more frequent basis.   

Testing has the added bonus of giving not only the plan itself some practice, but the people. Employees need to understand their role in the business continuity plan, and a test is a great way to prepare them. When your systems are down, every moment is a loss of revenue and reputation. The last thing you’re ever going to want is an employee who is trying to learn what their role is for the very first time in the middle of your outage. 

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