Business Continuity Plan Best Practices

Business Continuity Plan Best Practices-84
For continuity of business, your organization should plan for what to do in case of a long-term outage (more than the hour or less that your uninterruptible power supplies will keep your computers and network equipment running).If you have backup generators in place, ensure that key personnel know how to switch to generator power and know the fuel requirements for the generators (must they be fueled or do they run off the natural gas line? Consider cost factors to determine when and for how long the generators should be run.Just as important, key personnel should know where it's stored and have the keys, passwords, etc., to be able to restore it to get users back to a productive state as soon as possible.

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Providing full electrical power to a building with a generator can cost much more than using the power grid, so the BCP should discuss in what situations it's better to close down operations and send everyone home rather than run on generator power, and it should define who has the authority to make that decision.

If your company's phones and/or Internet connection are down, how will you keep in touch with customers, employees who are off-site, contact emergency services, etc.?

Your BCP must be thought out, written down, and distributed to key personnel well ahead of any incident that could cause a disruption to your operations.

Copies should be stored off-site — an obvious but often overlooked requirement. Your company's response to a disaster will depend on both the nature and the extent of the disaster.

Any good business continuity plan will address restoration of your company's important digital data if it is destroyed.

Too many organizations meticulously make backups of everything and then store those backups in the server room.If a tornado, flood, or bomb destroys the building, that (often irreplaceable) data is gone, too.You should store copies of important data on removable media that's kept at a different physical location or back it up over the Internet to a remote server, or both.It will take teamwork to manage the crisis itself and to put things back together once the immediate crisis is over.The BCP should appoint members of a disaster recovery team (DRT) made up of specialists with training and knowledge to handle various aspects of common disasters (safety specialist, IT specialist, communications specialist, security specialist, personnel specialist, etc.).The DRT members will work with emergency services during the disaster and should have access to equipment they'll need during an emergency (cell phones, flash lights, hard hats, protective clothing, etc.).A business recovery team is responsible for reestablishment of normal operations after the crisis is over.And remember that some types of disasters may result in loss of personnel (or some of your staff may be on vacation or out sick when the event occurs), so be sure to assign alternates in case some of the important players are not available.Your plan should include up-to-date contact information on people and entities that may need to be contacted when a disaster occurred.A power outage could render your equipment unusable, but do no lasting damage.Thus your plan should cover contingencies for as many threat types as possible.

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