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Business Continuity Planning

 How well your organization is prepared to survive a business - service disruption with minimum interruption to its daily routine will depend on the provisions made for, Resuming,  Recovery and Maintenance.

The description often used for business continuity planning is:    

"the process that defines the procedures employed to ensure timely and orderly resumption of an organization's business cycle through its ability to execute plans with minimal or no interruption to time-sensitive business or service operations."

A Business Continuity Plan is the following:  

"A document containing the recovery timeline methodology, test validated documentation, procedures, and action instructions developed specifically for use in restoring organization operations in the event of a declared disaster. To be effective, the Business Continuity Plans also require testing, skilled personnel, access to vital records, and alternate recovery resources including facilities".

Properly written, a BCP is a collection of procedures and information which has been developed, compiled and maintained in readiness for use in the event of an emergency or disaster. This would include the elements of a disaster recovery plan (DRP).      

Continuity of business  means the business continues without interruption, and that sufficient contingencies have been put in place to allow the organisation to continue processing 

Business Continuity is something every organisation, large or small, should aspire to, amounting to the preservation of the interests of a wide variety of stakeholders.  These include directors, shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and more often than not, the public whose interest (via the media) can help determine whether or not a business survives on reputation alone.  A business continuity plan must preserve intangible as well as tangible values.


Industry observers call such a plan "indispensable to organizations and their stakeholders"

 because it:

  • Provides for an safe and orderly recovery
  • Prevents confusion and reduces the chance of human error due to stress reactions 
  • Allows your organization to avoid certain risks or mitigate the impact of other unavoidable disasters   
  • Prevent  disruption of  critical business functions     
  • Minimizes potential economic loss and legal liability   
  • Reduces reliance on certain key individuals and functions   
  • Provides training materials for new employees   
  • Lowers insurance premiums   
  • Satisfies Regulatory Compliance requirements
  • Protects your organization's assets and employees 

Inadequate plans

In one survey of corporate executives, 81 percent of those responding acknowledged that their existing crisis management plans were inadequate to handle the myriad issues arising from September 11.

In addition, 63 percent of the executives reported that they have readdressed their plans since the attacks.

Experts say that while it's encouraging to learn that ceo's are paying closer attention to disaster preparedness, it is alarming to realize how many businesses have no plans in place at all. Many companies are as unprepared for problems that can be anticipated, such as rising floodwaters, buildings damaged by earthquakes or stockrooms ravaged by fire, as they are for unforeseeable business interruptions like a terrorist attack. Although no one could have adequately prepared for 9/11, the experts warn, companies that do not take steps to ensure business continuity are just asking for trouble.


"Ask Yourself"

* Have you ever tested all applications and are your business personnel willing to guarantee that all applications can be restored correctly?

* Are your business personnel ready to wait 24 or 48 hours for their systems to return and do they know what to do while they’re waiting?

* Does management really understand the extent of your recoverability and exactly what won’t be recovered?

* Are conventional recovery timeframes of 24 or 48 hours simply too long to meet your current business availability requirements?

* Are your contingency planning initiatives meant to really protect the business or simply to satisfy audit or management concerns?

* Are all of your backup files synchronized between all applications, all platforms and all locations?

* Can you really restore all backup data in the time allowed by your recovery time objective?

* Have your recovery architectures significantly improved over the past few years or are you retesting the same old things?

* Does your planned recovery time include the time it will take for management to really "pull the trigger" and declare a disaster?

* Can you really afford to lose the data from the last back-up... do you have plans to reconstruct it or will it be lost forever... have your business personnel ever actually reconstructed it?

        * Do you feel that you are paying more than you should for your recovery capabilities?




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