Business Continuity Planning:The Initial Stages

13 Jan

Billynomates provided us with a great introduction into Business Continuity, with a particular focus on the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery. This blog post will expand on this and look at how companies can form a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

In a time where globalization drives market forces, change does not only affect the centre or surrounding areas, but can ultimately have a global impact. For example, the outbreak of SARS disrupted trade finance flows and inventory in transit destined for Australia. Disasters are inevitable, and companies that foresee and plan for these in advance ultimately have an upper hand. (Gary. S. Lynch).

Before starting a BCP, there are a number of key considerations that companies need to take into account.  (Ian Dunlop, Continuity Central)

  • Support from senior management, sponsorship and having the importance of business continuity on the board’s agenda is fundamental in forming a BCP. (Ian Dunlop).
  • Organisations need to consider their motives for creating a BCP and these motives need to be clearly defined. (Ian Dunlop).
  • Ownership of the BCP needs to be from the business perspective, and cannot be seen simply as an extension of the IT department. (Ian Dunlop).
  • Organisations need to evaluate structures that they already have in place that could potentially help in the event of an incident. (Ian Dunlop.)
  • Keeping a BCP as simple as possible is vital to its success. In the event of an incident a complicated plan simply will not work. (Ian Dunlop).

These are a number of steps that organisations need to consider before implementing a BCP. But what steps should they consider when looking to implement the actual plan itself?

According to Public Safety Canada there are 5 main sections associated with a BCP.

These include

  1. 1.      BCP Governance

A BCP needs to contain a structure, usually in the form of a committee, to ensure that senior management are aware of their commitments and their roles. This committee is ultimately responsible for overseeing, initiating, planning, approving, testing and auditing the BCP. (Public Safety Canada)

  1. 2.      Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

The main purpose of BIA is to, identify the organisations mandate and the main services and products that they provide, clarify the impact of a disruption, identify areas that could lead to revenue loss, identify potential additional expenses, identify intangible losses, study the organisations insurance requirements, and identify interdependencies between products or services. (Public Safety Canada).

  1. 3.      Plans, measures and arrangements for business continuity

This step is concerned with the actual preparation of a detailed response/recovery arrangement to ensure business continuity. These plans provide detail of the means through which an organisation can provide a minimum level of service in a time of crisis/disaster. BCP’s need to be made for each product or service associated with the organisation. (Public Safety Canada).

  1. 4.      Readiness procedures

The BCP’s need to be smoothly implemented in the event of a disaster and this can be achieved by having staff members adequately briefed on the actual contents of the plan and ensuring that each person is clearly aware of their own responsibilities. Staff members with direct responsibilities need to be adequately trained and kept up to date.  (Public Safety Canada).

  1. 5.      Quality assurance techniques.

Reviewing and evaluating the BCP is also essential and the review should assess the accuracy, effectiveness and relevance of the BCP in question. The review should help companies assess what parts of the plan needs improvement. (Public Safety Canada).

This blog post has outlined what organisations should do prior to forming a BCP and provides some basic guidelines for forming an organisational plan. What do others think of these steps?

Gary S. Lynch

Ian Dunlop, Continuity Central

Public Safety Canada



2 Responses to “Business Continuity Planning:The Initial Stages”


  1. Business Continuity Planning: Testing « So Opinionated … - January 14, 2013

    […] as it is implemented. Business Continuity can be tested prior to such an event taking place. Sully1210 already discussed the 5 main sections of a BCP. In this post, using information provided by Goh Moh […]

  2. Business Continuity Planning: Common Mistakes « So Opinionated … - February 7, 2013

    […] Many of the above issues relate to the main areas of a BCP, something that has been posted by sully1210 previously. For example, leadership is a governance issue, and a standard by which BCP tests are […]

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