While globally, the level of maturity of business continuity programs continues to rise, there are still many organizations that do not feel fully prepared. With so many potential sources of business disruption, one of the first challenges for a business continuity team to tackle is to prioritize which events they will create plans for.
Once your team has identified exactly which events to plan for, then it is time to work through the details of plan development. Team Identification: Every type of event will require a different set of team members to tackle. Response Planning: Once the team has determined that an event is serious enough to merit a response, the functional teams must do specific assessments to solidify and communicate their response plans.
Recovery: At this stage approved plans will be executed by all of the functional teams with each team updating their task lists to share status on action items and facilitate additional decisions as the situation unfolds. Post Event Metrics Review: Every good business continuity plan includes a section for key performance metrics and post event review. Creating effective business continuity plans for the most likely events to disrupt your organization is a critical step towards BCM program maturity. Business continuity planning (BCP), one of the most talked about topics in business circles, high-profile meetings and presentations today, has yet to make a real mark. To simplify the task, some probable scenarios can be presented and the team members can be asked to assess their confidence level as high, medium and low. Once business continuity plans are developed, it is equally important for management to ensure that periodic testing of the plan is carried out under different scenarios. The first step in identifying who needs to be on a Business Continuity Team is to determine what potential events the team will be planning for.
Once the team has been assembled and systems are in place to facilitate communications across multiple device types to notify the group and sub-groups in the event of an emergency, it is important to make sure each team member understands their specific roles and responsibilities and plans are in place to execute these tasks effectively.

Response can be limited to employee communications or may require full cross-functional team activation. IT will play a significant role in the development and design of IT recovery strategies to meet business needs; however, when it comes to development of alternative business recovery plans, the presence of key business decision makers is extremely important.
Once you have identified the threats, you will be in a better position to determine which people inside and outside your organization should be invited onto the BCM team to support continued business operations. Far more than 15 years in market place research want to keep several plan team business continuity members months to possibly medical doctors.
Dhiraj Lal is Executive Director and Principal Consultant of Continuity and Resilience(CORE).
In addition to the Business Continuity Director, it is critical to identify which functional areas will be impacted by a specific event type. Planning templates must be created to guide this effort by including checklists of likely impacts that each functional team needs to consider in plan evaluation.
Because many of the teams have inter-dependencies, full visibility to the incident management dashboard is essential to efficient program management. BCP is a complex process, as one not only needs to prioritize business processes, taking into consideration the current and future plans of the organization, but also to understand the downturn impact of a business process failure on the organization. All these steps are over and above a basic business continuity plan or framework document, which acts as a road map for all other supporting continuity plans and recovery processes.
Plans should reflect which team members own risk monitoring and at what point team activation is needed.
By event type, different team members will be responsible for following the situation and activating the BC team as needed. For fast, effective impact assessment, team-wide access to quality information is essential.

Functional plans should be shared across the full BC team for approval and funding if needed.
Management has a key role to play in the planning, business process prioritization and risk assessment, and development and finalization of continuity plans for the organization. The objective of a business continuity plan is to ensure the recovery of business processes to an acceptable level within a predefined time frame, thereby minimizing the loss impact to the organization.
Teams that operate with a centralized incident management system are assured full visibility to all needed information as soon as it is available. For each event type, primary and secondary team leads should be identified by functional area and all contact information collected across multiple devices for emergency notification purposes. During a quarterly meeting, the team members should be asked the level of confidence they have in the organization’s capability to handle an unexpected disaster. This questionnaire can further cover areas such as potential loss to the organization in the event of a disaster and the organizational business areas that will be most severely impacted. Leaving the complete task to IT can result in significant gaps in the continuity plans and lead to the failure of the plans. The plan should be designed in such a manner that it is accommodating enough to meet changes in the business environment and precise enough to be carried out in case of a contingency. Detailed, well-defined, updated recovery plans and procedures, with adequate training of the BCP team members and periodic testing exercises, are required to meet the objective of a business continuity plan. Membership in the association, a voluntary organization of persons interested in information systems (IS) auditing, control and security, entitles one to receive an annual subscription to the Information Systems Control Journal.

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