Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Plan
Business Continuity Plan

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Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Few businesses across the globe feel they are confident enough to quickly recover from a disaster. The ability of a firm to effectively recover from a disaster relies directly to the degree of an established business continuity plan before the occurrence of the disaster. 

Managers have acknowledged that developing a robust business continuity plan is at times quite intimidating especially when one turns to the bookshelves and find volumes of thick-inch books on the subject. However, I am against this notion. I believe that a solid business continuity strategy can be implemented easily by following these steps.

Step 1: Start

According to Torabi et al, acquiring an executive-level support for the business continuity program is one of the biggest challenges for getting the initiative off the ground (Torabi et al, 2014). Therefore, when developing this program, I will ensure that I have the support of the CEO or any other senior executive. By so doing, I will have put the strategy in a different light in the presence of functional leaders who might be tempted to dismiss it as just another IT program. The top level management will then provide the necessary resources required for the plan.

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Step 2: Determine Business Requirements

I will then identify and document the critical business functions that would require support in the aftermath of a tragedy. This step deserves a rigorous analysis as it aims at allocating properly the resources of the business continuity plan. To acquire the correct information, I will business leaders in each department this simple question. To achieve this, I will use the administrative management theory.

This is a theory that states that the executives are charged with the mandate of ensuring that organizational operations are maintained. It also enlightens on the need for managers to develop a sense of unity and willingness to communicate and operate with the workforce. “In an event of a disaster, what systems in your business would you like to operate immediately to avoid disruption of your activities, and how long can you do without them?”

The answers I will obtain will be the Maximum Tolerable Downtime (MTD) for the operations. This question should be asked in a manner that is political savvy to ensure that the systems mentioned are critical and not convenient.

Step 3: Identify Recovery Speed

Järveläinen proved in his study that although 85% of small businesses recognize the need of recovering their data during a disaster, just 45% of them carry out offside data backups (Järveläinen, 2013). I will determine the recovery speed by asking technology specialists the following questions. “In case of a disruptive emergency, how long will your system take to restore to working order?” The value I will obtain will be my recovery time objective (RTO).

Step 4: Dealing with the Gaps

After including the RTOs to my list of MTDs, I will have the necessary data for conducting an assessment on the impact of an emergency on my technology operations. I will begin by revisiting the numbers. Before this, I will ensure that the MTDs I obtained from the business leaders are accurate and the technologists’ recovery times are indeed insufficient for achieving business needs.

I will then scrutinize keenly the list and identify areas where the RTO is greater than the MTD. These are the areas where functional leaders will have expressed the need for a recovery that the current organization will not be in a position to meet in the aftermath of a tragedy.

After the conversations, the gaps that will have remained will be candidates for investment. Here, I will use the decision-making theory which basically focuses on the significance of decision making and choosing alternatives that achieve the minimum success criteria rather than seeking for an optimal intervention.

For instance, I will recommend for the purchase of additional systems, and addition of fault tolerance systems. Moreover, I can suggest that commitments of time and money to be made in order to increase the MTD and minimize the RTO.

Step 5: Sustaining the Program

Business Continuity Strategies are living documents that keep evolving in accordance to the changes of the business and technological capabilities (Faertes, 2015). I will sensitize the management on the importance of this plan and why it needs to be reviewed from time to time. I can use the systems approach theory to determine institutional behavior as a function of input, system processes, and output. Then I will recommend modifications to be done with regards with the organization’s progress.

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2. Importance of Business Continuity Plan

The significance of Business Continuity Plans is something that each and every company has been compelled to deal with due to the current events. For instance, there has been a current increase in business threats such as cyber-terrorists, hackers, and natural as well as unnatural disasters. It is for this reason that organizations have been urged to execute business continuity plans so that they can sustain flexibility and operational effectiveness in case of any scenario.

A survey by Faertes, revealed that two out of five organizations that experience an emergency go out of the business within the first five years of the tragedy (Faertes, 2015). As a result, most businesses have realized that for them to efficiently maintain operation continuity, they must be accustomed to specific risks and catastrophic scenarios ranging from system failure to major building loss. It is crucial for organizations to plan for the recovery of the significant business functions using timescales and priorities obtained from evaluated risks and the accompanying data.

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Business Continuity Strategies are also vital since they promote transparency and continuity of all business activities. In recent years, companies have become increasingly reliant on technology to conduct their operations. With such emphasis on IT and communications services, organizations become paralyzed and less tolerant of information and loss of services in the event of a disaster. Therefore, for them to manage their supply chains or support communications and transactions with their customers, they need to implement business continuity plans.

References

Faertes, D. (2015). Reliability of Supply Chains and Business Continuity Management. Procedia Computer Science55, 1400-1409.

Järveläinen, J. (2013). IT incidents and business impacts: Validating a framework for continuity management in information systemsInternational Journal of Information Management33(3), 583-590.

Torabi, S. A., Soufi, H. R., & Sahebjamnia, N. (2014). A new framework for business impact analysis in business continuity management (with a case study)Safety Science68, 309-323.

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