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Five steps towards a business continuity plan
Step 1 - analyse the business
- Where is the business most vulnerable?
- What would be the worst thing for the business?
For both of these questions, think about:
- IT systems and processes
For further ideas, think about the strongest and weakest links
in the business and maybe what would happen in a particular
Step 2 - assess the risks
What are the most likely and greatest risks to the business?
Analyse the risk by asking the following questions:
- How likely is it to happen?
- What effect will it have on the business?
- What might happen?
- What would be the worst thing for the business and how likely
is it to happen?
- How would you cope with it?
- Is there anything you can do to minimise the risk of it
- How long can the business last during an incident?
Step 3 - develop the strategy
The plan should include:
- a description of what the plan is trying to achieve and how to
make it work
- essential check lists
- a description of the premises
- the structure of the crisis team – who needs to do what
- staff focus
- arrangements to test the plan and train the staff.
Step 4 - develop and keep developing the plan
It is important to update the plan regularly: you do not want to
be in a crisis with an out of date plan.
- what emergency services need to know in case of an
- how to keep in touch with neighbouring businesses and help each
- what information utility companies will need in case of an
- what information will an insurer need
- who else will be affected by your decisions and how to involve
them, if possible, in the planning process
- how others will need the information communicated if an
Step 5 - rehearsal and staff training
Once the plan has been developed, it needs to be tested. How
will you know whether you have omitted something if you do not test
Testing should be carried out in an environment that will
reproduce authentic conditions. Although it might not be
practicable to change premises for a few days, it might be a good
idea to test the plan at another premises with key staff for a few
It is vital to test the plan with all the staff, so that each
employee is fully aware of their responsibilities.
It is very important to train your staff:
- make sure all your staff have a copy of the plan
- ensure they have the chance to read through the plan and that
they understand their own role and particular responsibilities
- give them an opportunity to ask questions and clarify issues,
as they might highlight some aspects that need to be changed.
Remember, it is important to revise the plan regularly.