Business Continuity Planning: Just the Basics

Stefani Laszko | Mythos Technology

by Stefani Laszko

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a pretty daunting topic. Simply asking ‘where do I start?’ is enough to make most business owners run and hide. Regardless, it is a crucial component to the longevity of your business and it cannot be ignored.  A well written BCP can consist of hundreds of pages but there are a few basics to get you started. To make it simple think of a BCP as a noun, you need to protect your people, places and things.

People – Communication is your top priority immediately after a disaster. You must have a plan to communicate with your employees, customers and vendors.  A simple phone tree for your employees that includes their close family members will do. For your customers and vendors consider physical signage at your location and an email distribution list.

Places – If the particular disaster leaves your office space unavailable, how are you going to continue business?  If you don’t have a second location that you can move into, consider your vendors or business partners. Do they have a space you can temporarily work from or will your employees be able to work from home?

Things – Things is a broad topic and you must start by assessing your critical business functions. Planning for your things will require a conversation with your IT provider and your insurance agent.   With your IT provider discuss how you will go about recovering data and getting back up and running as fast as possible. Meet with your insurance agent to make sure your insurance coverage is adequate. Don’t forget to take pictures of your building and keep an inventory of what’s inside. 

According to the National Archives and Records in Washington, D.C. historically 93 percent of businesses suffering more than 10 days of system downtime filed for bankruptcy within a year.  A BCP will make the difference of a couple hours of downtime versus days or weeks. Whether it’s just a couple of pages or a couple hundred, a BCP is a living document that must be tested and re-evaluated at least annually. It’s up to you to take the steps (even small ones!) to protect the future of your business.

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