Create your complete Business Continuity Plan

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The Business Continuity Planning Template: Your Guide to Creating a Complete Business Continuity Plan

Creating a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan is a critical step in the development of your BCM program. A few weeks ago, we posted our ultimate guide to developing a risk mitigation plan, but this week we’re going to take another step toward program maturity by looking at the development of the Business Continuity Plan itself.

This Business Continuity Plan is the aggregate of your planning and analysis processes (risk assessment, business impact analysis, and threat and risk assessment). It includes various documentation and checklists that allow your organization to continue to function effectively (or to restore business functions) during an emergency event. With that in mind, we developed the following checklist to help you develop an overall Business Continuity Plan, as well as other plans and action items for specific areas in your organization. We suggest the use of checklists as they are efficient, straightforward, and ensure important items are not missed.

Business Continuity Plan Checklist

 

Action Date Completed
1 Communicate/Gain Management Support
2 Identify Team Members (lead, subject matter experts, business and technical experts, technical writers)
3 Perform/Update Assessments to Identify Requirements (RA, BIA, TRA, IT DR Assessment)
4 Create an Action Items List to Monitor and Track Progress
5 Based on Assessments, Develop Individual Business Unit Recovery Plans
6 Determine Current Technical Recovery Capability and Document Gaps
7 Develop Mitigation Plan for any Technical Gaps
8 Document Contact Information (for business recovery and technical recovery teams)
9 Document Contact Information (for critical vendor and third party contacts)
10 Develop a Crisis Management Plan
11 Develop a Crisis Communication Plan
12 Implement/Update Organization Emergency Notification Capability – email, voice, text (consider the use of cloud or third party services)
13 Implement/Update Organization Status Update Capability – email, webpage, etc. (consider the use of cloud or third party services)
14 Monitor the Plan (action items on track, changes to business environment, etc.)
15 Develop Technical Test Plan and Strategy; perform tests based on the plan
16 Develop Business Continuity Test Plan and Strategy; perform tests based on the plan including relocation exercises
17 Perform Regular Mock Exercises for the Crisis Management and Crisis Communication Plans
18 Review/Update Plan (Steps 4 – 17)
19 Identify and Implement a Common Storage Location for all Documentation
20 Develop a Summary Document of the Recovery Strategy (both business and technical); include a listing of all the plans and documents supporting recovery and crisis management

The items above may seem obvious and uncomplicated, but the key in Business Continuity Plan development is to get it done. Your Business Continuity plan is the sum of various components and parts. Even a partially complete plan is better than nothing. Remember the words of Dwight Eisenhower – plans are worthless, but planning is everything. Good luck as you develop and implement your program.

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