How Should a Business Review and Reinforce Its Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan should be a critical part of your risk management strategy. Lack of one increases the risk of occurring disruptions, which can have disastrous effects on some critical business functions. But having a BCP is not enough. You also need to make sure it’s effective.

And what can provide you with such assurance? Regular testing, of course. Many companies omit that step in their disaster recovery planning, only to realize that their BCP needs improvements when it’s too late.

Without testing, you won’t be able to determine your plan needs and its strengths and weaknesses, which makes it a crucial part of your business continuity management. But if you want to ensure your review is reliable, you have to know how to perform such tests.

That’s what we’ll focus on in the article, so if you want to find out more, keep reading.

How to Review Your Continuity Plan

As mentioned above, testing is a vital step in business continuity planning. It provides you with the analysis, helping you to identify if there’s room for improvement. That’s why your review should include detailed results of your emergency strategies.

You have to test everything from your preparation and communication to your company’s time to deal with various threats. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s necessary for the process of identifying what your plan truly needs.

When it comes to testing your business continuity plan, you have four main options to do that. You can perform:

  • Checklist test
  • Structured walk-through
  • Emergency evacuation drill
  • Recovery simulation

Checklist

A checklist means precisely what you think it means. You perform such a test by going through your assets, contact information, etc. to determine whether everything is up to date. It also involves updating your list of potential threats.

What’s more, since it takes care of potential improvements to your continuity management, it often includes additional training for your employees to keep them well-informed on the procedures.

Walk-Through

A walk-through test includes simulating various disaster scenarios and going through them to determine how your team deals with the threats. You basically go through every aspect of your plan, which will allow you to choose the parts of it that work, and the ones that don’t.

Evacuation Drill

You should perform this type of test at least once a year to see how your employees deal in stressful situations. Of course, you don’t have to take the road The Office showed with its famous fire-drill. Nevertheless, checking whether your team performs during an emergency is critical.

Of course, during the pandemic, it doesn’t make any sense when most people work from home. But when (or if) we get back to normality, don’t forget to test your personnel’s emergency preparedness.

Recovery Simulation

Since data is your most valuable asset, you have to do everything possible to protect it. Stolen or lost data can have disastrous effects on your business. In fact, the impact can be so catastrophic that you may never recover from it.

That’s why testing your data recovery solutions is vital when reviewing your business continuity plan. It’s best to prepare a time objective so that your team knows how fast they should identify the reason for data loss and recover it.

Keep in mind that the longer the downtime, the more it hurts your business. That’s why your continuity plan must allow you to get your operations going after any disruption.

Keep Your BCP Up to Date

The world of business is continuously evolving, and with it, the number of potential threats awaiting your company. Sure, their type may differ, depending on your business size, the market it operates on, and the industry.

Nevertheless, no matter what type of venture you run, the list of threats is getting longer each year. What does it mean for your business continuity planning? It requires constant updates and improvements.

As you already know, to identify what your BCP needs, you have to test it regularly. It’s the only way to determine whether your company has the right recovery solutions to deal with risks and if your team will know what to do when the time comes.

Many companies believe that their business continuity plans are so great that they don’t require any improvements. Don’t make the same mistake.

Bottom Line

Creating a business continuity plan should be every company’s priority. When prepared right, a BCP can make the difference in dealing with a potential threat, allowing your organization to decrease the damage, and prevent any significant disruptions from occurring.

But to ensure your business continuity plan is efficient, you need to keep it up to date. And to achieve that goal, you have to test it regularly. Reviewing your plan should include various strategies, disaster scenarios, and an in-depth analysis of your company’s recovery effectiveness.

If you test your business continuity the right way, you’ll be able to determine what it may need and how you can improve its efficiency.

Fabrizio VanMarcino