photo of a business continuity plan checklist on a desk next to a keyboard

There is nothing worse than the feeling that you are completely unprepared for something. Emergency response leaders and key stakeholders need a business continuity plan to know what to do, who to call, how to respond, and procedures that should be performed when faced with a business-critical event. Having a continuity strategy in place speeds up reaction times, improves worker safety, and safeguards the company's IT system as a whole. It is like a study guide, but for all possible emergency scenarios. A well-developed business continuity plan functions as an emergency checklist. So what constitutes a good business continuity plan checklist?

Pre-Planning 

Take some time to analyze the potential threats that face your specific business. You will also want to determine the impact on various areas of your business and how that extends to others outside your business that may be affected in the event of an unexpected disaster. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • You need to think about the circumstances that might affect the productivity of your personnel. In order for your company to continue providing goods and services to clients, who or what job activities are the most important?
  • On which partners and service providers do you rely the most? When a partner's activities are disrupted, what impact does that have on your business?
  • What may happen if one or more of your work locations were to go offline? Do you have a strategy in place in the event that a site or an area goes offline?
  • In order to provide goods and services to customers, what systems or tools are employed? What internal communication and coordination methods are in place?
  • Is your company's financial or brand reputation in jeopardy should it be unable to function? What can you do to prevent clients' perceptions of your company from being permanently tarnished?

Create Your Team and Define Roles and Responsibilities

For essential decisions, it's important to have a clear chain of command in place. Make a list of alternate contacts in case your major stakeholders are unable to be reached. Make sure you know who will be in charge of maintaining and implementing the strategy. As part of a disaster recovery team, it's important to think about which other departments would be crucial in the event of a crisis. 

You will also want to assign a recovery team. In the event of a disaster or disruption of operations, the people in charge of organizing, communicating, and managing workers and stakeholders should form part of the recovery team. Restoring company activities will also fall to the recovery team, which will be in charge of everything from setting up a second location for operations to connecting with software providers so that plans can be updated as new information becomes available.

Get Accurate Emergency Contact Information

Make sure to have phone numbers for your workers, local police and fire departments, power providers, and any other external groups that may be able to assist in the case of a crisis available. Integrating your HRIS with an emergency communication system can assist in keeping this data up-to-date with current information from your personnel. 

Perform a Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis (BIA) forecasts the outcomes of a company function or process being disrupted and collects data necessary to establish recovery plans. While a BIA is similar to a threat analysis, it examines risks from a financial standpoint and estimates the overall time required to restore an organization's most critical functions—including dependencies such as people and communities. 

Establish a Plan

Develop a strategy for maintaining business operations—easily the most critical component of a business continuity plan checklist. Make a list of your organization's most vital functions and the potential interruptions that might jeopardize them, and design effective recovery methods for each situation. Consider a variety of "what ifs" to create confidence in your team's ability to respond in any circumstance.

Educate and Train Staff

Once you have a plan created, it's time to train your staff. Make use of tabletop exercises and emergency drills to ensure that everyone is prepared in the event of a crisis. Employees will be more prepared if the event is more "realistic." Training sessions for first responders and key workers will help you determine if there are any gaps or flaws in your strategy.

Analyze and Make Updates as Needed

Businesses face new threats every year as the risks continue to grow. Prior to 2020, few institutions likely anticipated coping with a prolonged worldwide pandemic, but they swiftly adapted. Business continuity demands immediate and continuous attention, and strategies should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis in light of current events and forecasts.

Establish a Business Continuity Plan Today

Don't take the chance of being unprepared in the event of a crisis! JS Computek can assist you in developing a business continuity strategy to ensure that your data is backed up and the future of your company is secure. Our team of IT specialists provides 24/7 support, ensuring that you are secured regardless of the time of day you want assistance. To discover more about how we can assist your organization, contact one of our specialists now.