Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Managing a Crisis - A Plan for Business Continuity

image In a previous post introducing Business Continuity (See: Surviving a Crisis - Business Continuity), it was recommended to define a policy setting out the responses in the event of disruption.

Having assessed your organisation, identified the more likely threats and defined your high level response in a policy, the next step is to think about the actions and initiatives to be taken to reduce the impact of a crisis.

Implement the Policy

The initiatives and actions may take the form of business-as-usual initiatives, such as reviewing insurance or suppliers. They may also result in projects such as technology replacement or premises relocation.

The policy will also identify which business activities require revised or new continuity plans.

You might want to create a strategy document to set out the overall risk reduction approach or you may includes this as part of the policy.

The Business Continuity Plan

The Business Continuity Plan addresses business disruption, interruption or loss from the initial response to the point at which normal operations are resumed. It is based upon the agreed responses set out in the Business Continuity Policy and provides procedures and processes to be followed in the event of a crisis. In particular the plan will:

  • Allocate roles and their accountability, responsibility and authority
  • Detail the interfaces and the principles for dealing with external players in the response such as recovery services suppliers and emergency services
  • Identify a role for communication and the communication plan with senior managers, employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

The typical contents of a BC Plan are listed below.

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Once the plan is defined and agreed, implement it to ensure all responsibilities are understood. Think about testing the plan (possibly on an annual basis) and how it will be maintained over time when changes occur.

Other Plans You Might Need

  • Incident Management

An incident management plan defines how the strategic issues of a crisis affecting the organisation would be addressed and managed by the Executive.

The media response to any incident is usually managed through an incident management plan though some organisations would manage the media under a business continuity plan.

  • Restoration

The business continuity plan will address the immediate response to a disruption and implement the processes and procedures to deliver an interim operation. Whilst this is in play, departments will be working to achieve full restoration of their activities to return the organisation to its "normal" operation. The business continuity policy/strategy will have identified which departments are to prepare and maintain restoration plans.

A MindGenius map is available that provides a guide to creating your own Business Continuity Plan. As with the Policy map, it may also be used as a template or checklist and exported to Word.

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The map is available at Biggerplate as Business Continuity Plan - Template.

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