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A business continuity plan describes how to keep an organization operating and deal with business recovery in order to ensure further existence and development of the organization.
Preparation for the air vacation is actually the beginning of the trip, because when you start planning, it gives you a thrill of anticipation. Leadership statement defining the executive management team responsible for oversight, implementation and quality assurance of the policy. Certification statement defining what skills and knowledge human resources should obtain to meet policy compliance.
Support statement defining people (the support team) who assist with meeting policy compliance requirements. Business continuity is back on the agenda, as companies recover from a year of snow, ash clouds, and snow again. Severe weather, flu pandemics, power failures and transport chaos: events that disrupt a business come in many guises. However, despite the clear dangers, only around half of all businesses are said to have a business continuity plan, and even fewer have one that can really be considered effective. Stuart Hotchkiss, author of the recent BCS book Business Continuity Management: In Practice, believes the problem goes deeper. This lack of preparation comes despite evidence that disruption can be fatal to a business.
As Forrester Research points out, one reason for low levels of preparedness is that it can take a headline-grabbing disaster to force boards to pay attention to business continuity. For IT departments, though, it is vital to recognise that a good business continuity plan has both IT and non-IT elements.
To do this, IT departments can turn to technologies such as remote and mobile working and, increasingly to cloud-based services, from simple online backups or Google Apps to more complex systems employing cloud infrastructure to store data remotely and run backup copies of applications. Good communications management is also essential: companies need to ensure that they can circulate alternative email addresses and contact numbers of key personnel, and that staff working on a Plan B can connect to backup services, for example if the main VPN or datacentre is down. The fact that good continuity measures go beyond IT recovery plans emphasises the need for IT to be part of a multi-disciplinary team. Then, the project planning team needs to look at the organisation's business processes, to see which need protecting or replicating.
Forrester calculates that business continuity and disaster recovery should account for six to seven per cent of IT budgets.
Stuart Hotchkiss' Business Continuity Management: In Practice is available from the IT PRO bookstore.
Would your business be able to carry on your  normal day-to-day activities in the event of a fire, damage to your stock, key personnel being taken ill, your IT systems failing etc? Having a tried and tested business continuity plan in place whether you are a sole trader or a large multi-national company which details the steps to be taken in the event of an incident will go a long way to help your business continue to operate and recovery more quickly.
Business Link in particular their interactive tool will help you to assess and minimise potential risks to your business.
Detailed background on CISSP exam Domain 7, covering business continuity and disaster recovery. Disaster recovery focuses on how to survive a disaster and what to do right after a disaster. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning: Management leadership, goals and requirements, business impact analysis, team building and implementation.
Backup alternatives: Hardware and software approaches, collocation, electronic vaulting, offsite facilities requirements and types.
Recovery and testing: Strategies for executing recovery, carrying out drills and types of plan testing.
Business continuity and disaster recovery planning It's critical that companies understand the degree of potential damage and revenue losses that different types of business interruptions can cause. The main goals of a business continuity plan are to improve responsiveness by the employees in different situations, ease confusion by providing written procedures and participation in drills and help ensure logical decisions are made during a crisis. Backup alternatives When we think of backup, we generally think of secure, offsite tape storage that will be available should we accidentally damage or destroy a needed file. The necessary software -- the operating systems, programs and utilities used during regular business -- must also be backed up regularly to the offsite facility. Too often our attention is only on backing up data and technology, and we over look people and the necessary skill set to continue the operation of the company. Recovery and testing After a disaster, there are usually two teams assembled -- the salvage team that assesses damage and works to bring the primary facility back on-line, and the recovery team that coordinates bringing up the alternative site.
Emergency response Finally, emergency response drills are necessary not only to minimize asset damage and preserve life, but to reduce the chance of fraud, theft and vandalism since the security mechanisms usually in place may be completely disabled.


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It isn't only customer-facing mobile apps that are changing how work gets done at enterprises. Below, is a sample business continuity plan template form created with MS Word for the Mission Critical Planner. Try CentriQS complete task management solution for planning, tracking and reporting tasks, projects, and schedules.
In this Business Continuity Plan Checklist you will read on how to plan for continuity of your business.
Before you can plan for business continuity, you need to have a foundation for your plan to define, approve, communicate and integrate the plan into your organization’s business environment. Establishing control over business continuity planning (BCP) means creating governance structure in the form of a committee to ensure senior management commitments and define roles and duties.
The coordinator  estimates funding requirements, develops the business policy, oversees the continuity planning processes, ensures effective participant input, establishes teams and defines their duties, coordinates appropriate training, and tests and audits the business continuity plan.
This person works with the coordinator to ensure that all aspects of BCP meet security requirements of your company. CIO closely cooperates with the coordinator and security officer to plan for effective and harmonized continuity of your business.
Experts from departments of your organization provide input to the continuity planning process and assist in analyzing results of the business impact analysis. Analyzing business impact means identifying the company’s critical services or products, prioritizing these services or products for continuous delivery or rapid recovery, and estimating impacts of potential disruptions.
You must determine what goods or services are critical to business success of your company.
You need to consider recovery arrangements your firm has already in place and try to ensure their continued applicability.
But creating a good continuity plan neither just about planning for disasters, nor a task for IT alone, says Stephen Pritchard. Bharat Thakrar, the global head of BT Global Services’ business continuity portfolio, puts the percentage of companies with that have a BC plan at 48 per cent, with the figure for SMEs “even lower”. According to research carried out by RISE, a cloud-based provider of data centres, which recently launched a business continuity service, 20 per cent of companies will suffer an outage. But there are other ways to focus directors' minds on the issue, including the risk of falling behind competitors – who will be more attractive to customers and more profitable if they suffer fewer failures – and the pressure of industry regulation.
For Magnus Leask, IT director of Fast Track, a sports marketing company that runs events such as the Aviva UKA (Athletics) Grand Prix, the cost of continuity planning is low, when set against the cost of lost business. Conventional, IT focused disaster recovery keeps systems running, but does little, for example, to help employees caught out by the weather. Few organisations will be able to protect all their processes, systems or applications to the same degree. Businesses need to test both the practicalities of their BC arrangements – can staff reach a recovery centre, do emergency communications work – as well as the technical recovery of IT systems and data.
But for IT directors who have had to deal with an outage, it is testing that can make the difference between survival, and failure. Today, approximately 65% of companies could not stay in business if they had to be closed for a week or longer.
These plans are usually technology-oriented and focus on getting the network and systems up and running as quickly as possible.
Qualitative and quantitative impact information should be gathered and then properly analyzed and interpreted. If the employees know where to go when the all-hands-on-deck alarm is called, and are familiar with what tasks are expected of them and how to perform these tasks, then the people in position to make decisions on how to properly deal with the event can do so in a calmer and more controlled manner. Although access to up-to-date data is critically important to disaster recovery, it's not the only thing that must be backed up.
A hot site is a geographically remote facility that is fully equipped and ready to power up at a moments notice. If a program is built for a particular version of an operating system, it will not run if the wrong version of the operating system is installed at the offsite facility.
There are different reasons why the current employees may not be available after a disaster, including death, injury, or family responsibilities.


If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Increase productivity of your small business or office by better organizing your employees' tasks and time. Executive sponsor elicits senior management's support and ensures that adequate funding is available for your continuity planning effort. If you detect that such procedures and processes are inoperable then most likely your company loses revenue. You need to answer this question by estimating financial losses and defining legal responsibilities of your company to customers. Of the remainder, half have out-of -date plans, which would never work in practice, and I would guess that only 10 per cent of companies do any kind of yearly testing,” he says. Of those that do not have a recovery plan 43 per cent will never re-open, 80 per cent will fail within 13 months and 53 per cent fail to recoup losses incurred as a result of the incident. But an IT system that is prone to failure poses its own challenge to the business' operations.
An orderly system for recovering data and bringing applications and processes back on line should also be part of the plan, so that all employees know what is offline, and how quickly it is likely to be recovered. Only testing shows that the chain in command does work, and reveals where bottlenecks or vulnerabilities sit within systems themselves. It's estimated that less than 5% of companies are truly prepared to endure and survive a disaster. Business continuity deals with keeping a company and business after a disaster has been experienced and takes a lot more into account than just technology. Almost every type of business interruption causes some direct or indirect affect on the productivity of a company, thus its revenue stream.
A less expensive alternative would be a warm site, which includes the needed communications components but does not have computers installed. If data is formatted to a particular version of a spreadsheet program, and that version is not also updated to the backup facility, it's possible that the necessary data will not be available in the time of need. The business continuity committee must identify the necessary skill set for each critical task and come up with back up solutions as in using temp agencies or cross training individuals.
These can range from troubleshooting the plan by simply walking through the documents detailing the sequence of events, to actually rehearsing the plan up to the point of actual data or resource recovery at the main site. You can also choose which forms are critical to creating a successful business continuity plan for your business or organization. For example, your customers can’t access product catalogues of your online shop because the website is unavailable or includes broken links. More and more companies are developing business continuity into their environment because of the raised awareness of tragic possibilities, but also because of new regulatory requirements that infer executive management obligations for fiscal responsibility. It's prudent to identify the large and small issues that can negatively affect a company and identify backup alternatives before experiencing them. The business case can include current vulnerabilities, regulatory and legal obligations, current status of recovery plans and recommendations. You would need to replace all computer resources, networking -- maybe even people -- as well as find a new site to get your business running again.
Less expensive still, is a cold site, which provides only the basic environment that can be outfitted with communication components and computers, though this may take from one to several weeks. A CISSP candidate must know the difference between, checklist, structured walk-through, simulation, parallel and full-interrupt tests.
This information can be gathered through standard survey tools or questionnaires given to the most knowledgeable people within the company. Companies unable to support the ongoing service fees required for these options sometimes make arrangements with compatible companies who will host each other's employees and business functions in the event of a disaster. The decision of how a company should plan to recover is purely a business decision and should be treated as such. How to choose a backup facility site is covered in this section, and different approaches to data backup are detailed. This is by far the least expensive, but is also the most risky since few companies maintain the extra capacity and equipment that would be suitable to host another company's business processes.



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