Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) come in all shapes and sizes depending on the size and type of organisation, and the response plan they choose to follow, but they all start from the same basic principles.
The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has recently published a set of Good Practice Guidelines which can be helpful in contingency planning for any type of organisation. You can find out more about the lifecycle from the Business Continuity Institute, but at the very least, a small business should start by identifying the critical or time-sensitive areas of your business which, if affected, would cause huge disruption. This is called a Business Impact Analysis and should focus on the effects, rather than the cause. Speak directly to each area of the business and get your colleagues and employees to tell you what they think is important in their area of expertise, as you may not know everything which could be important. Whatever kind of business you are, once you have identified your risks, you need to choose a strategy for each one.
This part of your plan your plan should explain your response if any area of business is affected by a disaster.
Your plan must be communicated to everyone in the organisation and not just kept on a shelf to gather dust. If you need some more guidance on where to begin, Harlow Council's Property and Facilities team can point you in the right direction on 01279 446655, or visit some of the many online resources under external links to help you develop your BC plan. Keep your business running with a pragmatic, affordable system that helps create your business continuity plans, integrate existing ones, keep everything up to date and manage your response to an incident or emergency all via your web browser. Business continuity plans are often only perceived as fit for covering big headline scenarios such as earthquakes, floods and terrorism. In all of these scenarios you need to react swiftly and effectively in order to minimise the cost to your business.

Now you can relax as PlanChaser solves all of these issues and more, enabling you to keep your business running and to focus on core activities.
Make a list of all key internal personnel with all contact information including business phone, home phone, cell phone, pager, business email, personal email, and any other possible way of contacting them in an emergency situation where normal communications might be unavailable. It could be a hotel – many of them have very well-equipped business facilities you can use. This is challenging if you either have no business continuity plans, or the business continuity plans you have need to be read and understood before you can start, or you haven't got up to date contact lists.
Unfortunately, many companies never take the time to develop such a plan, typically because they do not feel it is necessary.
The possibility of a disruption shutting down your business operations is scary to think about, but you should always be prepared and willing to accept that risks and threats can cause turmoil for your business. Business Continuity Plans are sometimes referred to as Disaster Recovery Plans and the two have much in common. Business impact analysis plans consider the potential consequences to your business when the ability to function and process has been disrupted by a threat or risk. Following the occurrence of an event that disrupts normal business operations, you will need to quickly mobilize key personnel in order to successfully execute a BCP. On-site business computers often contain the most critical information that you and your employees must be able to access even when working off-site. You should compile all documentation necessary to start your business over again in the event of a fire or other disaster that destroys critical documents located on-site. In the event that business operations cannot continue at the regular location, telecommuting from home is a great way for employees to continue doing work as usual.

No matter how good your BCP, it is likely that there will be disruptive events that are not provided for in your plan. So the pragmatic business takes a view that the lack of a business continuity plan is a risk worth taking. However, creating a comprehensive BCP will allow you to enhance your company’s ability to continue business as usual during or after significant disruptions to business operations. Disaster Recovery Plans should be oriented towards business recovery following a disaster, and mitigating the negative consequences of a disaster.
As a result, creating a BIA allows you to determine which issues, risks and threats that your business continuity plan needs to address. Create a list of internal key personnel and backups --- these are the employees people who fill positions without which your business absolutely cannot function.
However, in any business there are often a large number of similar unexpected events happening all of the time. Some people in your company might be perfectly capable of conducting business from a home office. This way the unforeseeable absence of key personnel will not prevent non-key personnel from knowing how to respond to business operation disruptions.

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