Businesses had to face many unplanned natural, health and economic challenges over the last few years and this trend is likely to continue. Companies must anticipate and have plans to protect against threats and continue their operations.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a prevention and recovery system for possible threats, such as cyber-attacks and natural disasters. A BCP is intended to protect a business’s assets and personnel. A good BCP allows companies to continue to function and engage in business transactions and operations if there is a disaster.
BCPs involve identifying any risks that can affect business operations such as a flood, fire, cyber-attack, pandemic, or other business interruption. Businesses should determine how these risks will affect operations and develop safeguards and procedures to reduce these risks.
A disaster recovery plan is similar to a BCP. However, a discovery recovery plan is less encompassing and focuses only on information technology.
The BCP should be continuously tested to assure it works. A review process determines whether the plan is current. All employees, even those who are not participants in the BCP, should be aware of the plan to assure its success.
A business continuity impact analysis is the first part of the plan. It sets forth the various disruptions and their financial and operational effects on functions and processes. Information is used to set forth priorities on recovery and strategies.
This helps businesses identify and place priorities on processes that have the greatest impact on its operations. The recovery point for processes is often referred to as the recovery-time objective.
Recovery is the next part. The business needs to identify and carry out steps to recover important business functions.
Organization is the third component. This involves the creation of a continuity team, which will develop a plan to manage disruptions.
Finally, the continuity team should undergo training and testing. Team members need to engage in exercises involving plans and strategies. The BCP should also undergo testing to assure that it addresses many risk situations and its deficiencies can be corrected.
Other steps often include creation of a checklist including emergency contract information, resources that the continuity team may need and the location of backup data and other essential information.
Attorneys can assist business engagement in transactions and planning. They can also provide guidance on related legal issues.