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best business continuity plans

Business Continuity Planning

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Organize a business continuity team and compile a  business continuity plan  to manage a business disruption. Learn more about how to put together and test a business continuity plan with the videos below.

Business Continuity Plan Supporting Resources

  • Business Continuity Plan Situation Manual
  • Business Continuity Plan Test Exercise Planner Instructions
  • Business Continuity Plan Test Facilitator and Evaluator Handbook

Business Continuity Training Videos

The Business Continuity Planning Suite is no longer supported or available for download.

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Business Continuity Training Introduction

An overview of the concepts detailed within this training. Also, included is a humorous, short video that introduces viewers to the concept of business continuity planning and highlights the benefits of having a plan. Two men in an elevator experience a spectrum of disasters from a loss of power, to rain, fire, and a human threat. One man is prepared for each disaster and the other is not.

View on YouTube

Business Continuity Training Part 1: What is Business Continuity Planning?

An explanation of what business continuity planning means and what it entails to create a business continuity plan. This segment also incorporates an interview with a company that has successfully implemented a business continuity plan and includes a discussion about what business continuity planning means to them.

Business Continuity Training Part 2: Why is Business Continuity Planning Important?

An examination of the value a business continuity plan can bring to an organization. This segment also incorporates an interview with a company that has successfully implemented a business continuity plan and includes a discussion about how business continuity planning has been valuable to them.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: What's the Business Continuity Planning Process?

An overview of the business continuity planning process. This segment also incorporates an interview with a company about its process of successfully implementing a business continuity plan.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 1

The first of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should “prepare” to create a business continuity plan.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 2

The second of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should “define” their business continuity plan objectives.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 3

The third of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should “identify” and prioritize potential risks and impacts.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 4

The fourth of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should “develop” business continuity strategies.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 5

The fifth of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should define their “teams” and tasks.

Business Continuity Training Part 3: Planning Process Step 6

The sixth of six steps addressed in this Business Continuity Training, which detail the process of building a business continuity plan. This step addresses how organizations should “test” their business continuity plans. View on YouTube

Last Updated: 12/21/2023

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  • Business Continuity Plan Basics
  • Understanding BCPs
  • Benefits of BCPs
  • How to Create a BCP
  • BCP & Impact Analysis
  • BCP vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Business Continuity Plan FAQs

The Bottom Line

What is a business continuity plan (bcp), and how does it work.

best business continuity plans

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)? 

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.

Key Takeaways

  • Business continuity plans (BCPs) are prevention and recovery systems for potential threats, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks.
  • BCP is designed to protect personnel and assets and make sure they can function quickly when disaster strikes.
  • BCPs should be tested to ensure there are no weaknesses, which can be identified and corrected.

Understanding Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)

BCP involves defining any and all risks that can affect the company's operations, making it an important part of the organization's risk management strategy. Risks may include natural disasters—fire, flood, or weather-related events—and cyber-attacks . Once the risks are identified, the plan should also include:

  • Determining how those risks will affect operations
  • Implementing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
  • Testing procedures to ensure they work
  • Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date

BCPs are an important part of any business. Threats and disruptions mean a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition. It is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.

Business impact analysis, recovery, organization, and training are all steps corporations need to follow when creating a Business Continuity Plan.

Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic. Business continuity planning is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of major disasters such as fires. BCPs are different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's information technology system after a crisis.

Consider a finance company based in a major city. It may put a BCP in place by taking steps including backing up its computer and client files offsite. If something were to happen to the company's corporate office, its satellite offices would still have access to important information.

An important point to note is that BCP may not be as effective if a large portion of the population is affected, as in the case of a disease outbreak. Nonetheless, BCPs can improve risk management—preventing disruptions from spreading. They can also help mitigate downtime of networks or technology, saving the company money.

How To Create a Business Continuity Plan

There are several steps many companies must follow to develop a solid BCP. They include:

  • Business Impact Analysis : Here, the business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive. (More on this below.)
  • Recovery : In this portion, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions.
  • Organization : A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption.
  • Training : The continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies.

Companies may also find it useful to come up with a checklist that includes key details such as emergency contact information, a list of resources the continuity team may need, where backup data and other required information are housed or stored, and other important personnel.

Along with testing the continuity team, the company should also test the BCP itself. It should be tested several times to ensure it can be applied to many different risk scenarios . This will help identify any weaknesses in the plan which can then be corrected.

In order for a business continuity plan to be successful, all employees—even those who aren't on the continuity team—must be aware of the plan.

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis. It identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers who are well acquainted with the business. These worksheets will summarize the following:

  • The impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and process
  • Identifying when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts

Completing the analysis can help companies identify and prioritize the processes that have the most impact on the business's financial and operational functions. The point at which they must be recovered is generally known as the “recovery time objective.”

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

BCPs and disaster recovery plans are similar in nature, the latter focuses on technology and information technology (IT) infrastructure. BCPs are more encompassing—focusing on the entire organization, such as customer service and supply chain. 

BCPs focus on reducing overall costs or losses, while disaster recovery plans look only at technology downtimes and related costs. Disaster recovery plans tend to involve only IT personnel—which create and manage the policy. However, BCPs tend to have more personnel trained on the potential processes. 

Why Is Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Important?

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic and business continuity plans (BCPs) are an important part of any business. BCP is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of threats and disruptions. This could result in a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition.

What Should a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Include?

Business continuity plans involve identifying any and all risks that can affect the company's operations. The plan should also determine how those risks will affect operations and implement safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks. There should also be testing procedures to ensure these safeguards and procedures work. Finally, there should be a review process to make sure that the plan is up to date.

What Is Business Continuity Impact Analysis?

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis which identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis.

These worksheets summarize the impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and processes. They also identify when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts.

Business continuity plans (BCPs) are created to help speed up the recovery of an organization filling a threat or disaster. The plan puts in place mechanisms and functions to allow personnel and assets to minimize company downtime. BCPs cover all organizational risks should a disaster happen, such as flood or fire.  

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15 - 17.

Ready. “ IT Disaster Recovery Plan .”

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15-17.

best business continuity plans

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How to Write a Business Continuity Plan Step-by-Step: Our Experts Provide Tips

By Andy Marker | October 21, 2020 (updated August 17, 2021)

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In order to adequately prepare for a crisis, your company needs a business continuity plan. We’ve culled detailed step-by-step instructions, as well as expert tips for writing a business continuity plan and free downloadable tools.  

Included on this page, find the steps to writing a business continuity plan and a discussion of the key components in a plan . You’ll also find a business continuity plan quick-start template  and a disruptive incident quick-reference card template for print or mobile, and an expert disaster preparation checklist .

Step by Step: How to Write a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan refers to the steps a company takes to help it continue operations during a crisis. In order to write a business continuity plan, you gather information about key people, tools, and processes, then write the plan as procedures and lists of resources. 

To make formatting easy, download a free business continuity plan template . To learn more about the role of a business continuity plan, read our comprehensive guide to business continuity planning . 

  • Write a Mission Statement for the Plan: Describe the objectives of the plan. When does it need to be completed? What is the budget for disaster and recovery preparation, including research, training, consultants, and tools? Be sure to detail any assumptions about financial or other resources, such as government business continuity grants.
  • Set Up Governance: Describe the business continuity team. Include names or titles and role designations, as well as contact information. Clearly define roles, lines of authority and succession, and accountability. Add an organization or a functional diagram. Select one of these free organizational chart templates to get started.
  • Write the Plan Procedures and Appendices: This is the core of your plan. There's no one correct way to create a business continuity document, but the critical content it should include are procedures, agreements, and resources.Think of your plan as lists of tasks or processes that people must perform to keep your operation running. Be specific in your directions, and use diagrams and illustrations. Remember that checklists and work instructions are simple and powerful tools to convey key information in a crisis. Learn more about procedures and work instructions . You should also note who on the team is responsible for knowing plan details.

Michele Barry

  • Set Procedures for Testing Recovery and Response: Create test guidelines and schedules for testing. To review the plan, consider reaching out to people who did not write the plan. Put together the forms and checklists that attendees will use during tests.

Alex Fullick

A business continuity plan is governed by a business continuity policy. You can learn more about creating a business continuity policy and find examples by reading our guide on developing an effective business continuity policy .

How to Create a Business Continuity Plan

Creating a business continuity plan (BCP) involves gathering a team, studying risks and key tasks, and choosing recovery activities. Then write the plan as a set of lists and guidelines, which may address risks such as fires, floods, pandemics, or data breaches.

According to Alex Fullick, your best bet is to create a simple plan. “I usually break everything down into three key categories: people, places, and things. If you focus on a couple of key pieces, you will be a lot more effective. That big binder of procedures is absolutely worthless. You need a bunch of guidelines to say what you do in a given situation: where are our triggers for deciding we’re in a crisis and we have to stop doing XYZ, and just focus on ABC.” 

“Post-pandemic, I think new managers will develop more policies and guidelines of all types than required, as a fear response,” cautions Michele Barry. 

Because every company is different, no two approaches to business continuity planning are the same. Tony Bombacino, Co-Founder and President of Real Food Blends , describes his company’s formal and informal business continuity approaches. “The first step in any crisis is for our nerve center to connect quickly, assess the situation, and then go into action,” he explains. 

Tony Bombacino

“Our sales manager and our marketing manager might discuss what’s going on, and say, ‘Are we going to say anything on social media? Do we need to reach out to any of our customers? The key things, like maintaining stock levels or what if somebody gets sick? What if there's a recall?’ Those plans we have laid out. But we're not a 5,000-person multi-billion-dollar company, so our business continuity plan is often in emails and Google Docs.” 

Mike Semel

“I've done planning literally for hundreds of businesses where we've just filled out basic forms,” says Mike Semel, President and Chief Compliance Officer of Semel Consulting . “For example, noting the insurance company's phone number — you know, on the back of your utility bill, which you never look at, there's an emergency number for if the power goes out or if the gas shuts off. We've helped people gather all that information and put it down. Even if there's no other plan, just having that information at their fingertips when they need it may be enough.”

You can also approach your business continuity planning as including three types of responses:

  • Proactive Strategies: Proactive approaches prevent crises. For example, you may buy an emergency generator to keep power running in your factory, or install a security system to prevent or limit loss during break-ins. Or you may create a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy and offer training for remote workers to protect your network and data security.
  • Reactive Strategies: Reactive strategies are your immediate responses to a crisis. Examples of reactive methods include evacuation procedures, fire procedures, and emergency response strategies.
  • Recovery Strategies: Recovery strategies describe how you resume operations to produce a minimum acceptable level of service. The recovery plan includes actions to stand up temporary processes. The plan also describes the longer-term efforts, such as relocation, data restoration, temporary workaround processes, or outsourcing tasks. Recovery strategies are not limited to IT and data recovery.

Quick-Start Guide Business Continuity Plan Template

Business Continuity Quick Start Guide and template

If you don’t already have a business continuity plan in place, but need to create one in short order to respond to a disruption, use this quick-start business continuity template. This template is available in Word and Google Docs formats, and it’s simply formatted so that you can focus on brainstorming and problem-solving. 

Download Quick-Start Guide Business Continuity Plan Template

Word | PDF | Google Docs | Smartsheet

For other most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates please read our "Free Business Continuity Plan Templates" article.

Key Components of a Business Continuity Plan

Your company’s complete business continuity plan will have many details. Your plan may differ from other companies' plans based on industry and other factors. Each facility or business unit may also conduct an impact analysis and create disaster recovery and continuity plans . Consider adding these key components to your business plan:

  • Contact Information: These pages include contact information for key employees, vendors, and critical third parties. Locate this information at the beginning of the plan. 
  • Business Impact Analysis: When you conduct business impact analysis (BIA), you evaluate the financial and other changes in a disruptive event (you can use one of these business impact templates to get started). Evaluate impact in terms of brand damage, product failure or malfunction, lost revenue, or legal and regulatory repercussions.
  • Risk Assessment: In this section, assess the potential risks to all aspects of the organization’s operations. Look at potential risks related to such matters as cash on hand, stock levels, and staff qualifications. Although you may face an infinite number of potential internal and external risks, focus on people, places, and things to keep from becoming overwhelmed. Then analyze the effects of any items that are completely lost or need repairs. Also, understand that risk assessment is an ongoing effort that works in tandem with training and testing. Consider adding a completed risk matrix to your plan. You can create one using a downloadable risk matrix template . 
  • Critical Functions Analysis and List: As a faster alternative to a BIA, a critical functions analysis reveals what processes are critical to keeping your company running. Examples of critical functions include payroll and wages, accounts receivable, customer service, or production. According to Michele Barry, with a values-based approach to critical functions, you should consider who you really are as a company. Then decide what you must continue doing and what you can stop doing. 
  • Trigger and Disaster Declaration Criteria: Here, you should detail how your executive management will know when to declare an emergency and initiate the plan.
  • Succession Plan: Identify alternate staff for key roles in each unit. Schedule time throughout the year to observe alternates as they make important decisions and complete recovery tasks.
  • Alternate Suppliers: If your goods are regulated (i.e., food, toy, and pharmaceutical manufacturing), your raw resources and parts must always be up to standard. Source suppliers before a crisis to ensure that regulatory vetting and approval do not delay supplies. 
  • Operations Plan: Describe how your organization will resume and continue daily operations after a disruption. Include a checklist with such items as supplies, equipment, and information on where data is backed up and where you keep the plan. Note who should have copies of the plan. 
  • Crisis Communication Strategy: Detail how the organization will communicate with employees, customers, and third-party entities in the event of a disruption. If regular communications systems are disabled, make a plan for alternate methods. Download a free crisis communication strategy template to get started on this aspect. 
  • Incident Response Plan: Describe how your organization plans to respond to a range of likely incidents or disruptions, and define the triggers for activating the plan. 
  • Alternate Site Relocation: The alternate site is the location that the organization moves to after a disruption occurs. In the plan, you can also note the transportation and resources required to move the business and the processes you must maintain in this facility.
  • Interim Procedures: These are the critical processes that must continue, either in their original or alternate forms.
  • Restoration of Critical Data: Critical data includes anything you must immediately recover to maintain normal business functions.
  • Vendor Partner Agreements: List your organization’s key vendors and how they can help you maintain or resume operations.
  • Work Backlog: This includes the work that piles up when systems are shut down. You must complete this work first when processes start again.
  • Recovery Strategy for IT Services: This section details the steps you take to restore the IT processes that are necessary to maintain the business.
  • Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO): RTO refers to the maximum amount of time that a company can stop its processes and the length of time without access to data before productivity substantially drops. Determine RTOs for each unit, factoring in people, places, and things. 
  • Backup Plans: What if plans, processes, or resources fail or are unavailable? Determine alternatives now, so you don't have to scramble. Decide on a backup roster for personnel who are unavailable.
  • Manual Workarounds: This section details how a business can operate by hand, should all failsafe measures break down.
  • External Audit Details: For regulated organizations, external audits may be compulsory. Your scheduled internal audits will prepare you for external audits.
  • Test and Exercise Plan: Identify how and when you will test the continuity plan, including details about periodic tabletop testing and more complex real-world scenario testing.
  • Change Management: Note how you will incorporate learnings from tests and exercises, disseminate changes, and review the plan and track changes.

Key Resources for Business Continuity

To fix problems, restore operations, or submit an insurance claim, you need readily available details of the human resources and other groups that can assist with business continuity. (Your organization's unique situation may also require specific types of resources.) Add this information to appendices at the back of your continuity plan.

Fullick suggests broadening the definition of human assets. "People are our employees, certainly. But we forget that the term ‘people’ includes executive management. Management doesn't escape pandemics or the flu or a car crash. Bad things can happen to them and around them, too." 

Use the following list as a prompt for recording important information about your organization. Your unique situation may require other types of information.

  • Lists of key employees and their contact information. Also, think beyond C-level and response team members to staff with long-term or specialized knowledge
  • Disaster recovery and continuity team contact names, roles, and contact information
  • Emergency contact number for police and emergency services for your location
  • Non-emergency contact information for police and medical
  • Emergency and non-emergency contact numbers for facilities issues
  • Board member contact information
  • Personnel roster, including family or emergency contact names and numbers for the entire organization
  • Contractors for any repairs
  • Client contact information and SLAs
  • Insurance contacts for all plans
  • Key regulatory contacts.
  • Legal contacts
  • Vendor contact information and partner agreements and SLAs
  • Addresses and details for each office or facility
  • Primary and secondary contact and information for each facility or office, including at least one phone number and email address
  • Off-site recovery location
  • Addresses and access information for storage facilities or vehicle compounds
  • Funding and banking information
  • IT details and data recovery information, including an inventory of apps and license numbers  
  • Insurance policy numbers and agent contact information for each plan, healthcare, property, vehicle, etc.
  • Inventory of tangibles, including equipment, hardware, supplies, fixtures, and fittings (if you are a supplier or manufacturer, include an inventory of raw materials and finished goods)
  • Lease details
  • Licenses, permits, other legal documents
  • List of special items that you use regularly, but don't order frequently
  • Location of backup equipment
  • Utility account numbers and contact information (for electric, gas, telephone, water, waste pickup, etc.)

Activities to Complete Before Writing the Business Continuity Plan

Before you write your plan, take these preliminary steps to assemble a team and gather background information. 

  • Incident Commander: This person is responsible for all aspects of an emergency response.
  • Emergency Response Team: The emergency response team refers to the group of people in charge of responding to an emergency or disruption.
  • Information Technology Recovery Team: This group is responsible for recovering important IT services.
  • Alternate Site/Location Operation Team: This team is responsible for maintaining business operations at an alternate site.
  • Facilities Management Team: The facilities management team is responsible for managing all of the main business facilities and determining the necessary responses to maintain them in light of a disaster or disruption.
  • Department Upper Management: This includes key stakeholders and upper management employees who govern BCP decisions.
  • Conduct business impact analysis or critical function analysis. Understand how the loss of processes in each department can affect internal and external operations. See our article on business continuity planning to learn more about BIAs.
  • Conduct risk analysis. Determine the potential risks and threats to your organization.
  • Identify the scope of the plan. Define where the business continuity plan applies, whether to one office, the entire organization, or only certain aspects of the organization. Use the BIA and risk analysis to identify critical functions and key resources that you must maintain. Set goals to determine the level of detail required. Set milestones to track progress in completing the plan. "Setting scope is essential," Barry insists. "You need to define the core and noncore aspects of the business and the minimum requirements for achieving continuity."
  • Strategize recovery approaches: Strategize how your business should respond to a disruption, based on your risk assessment and BIA. During this process, you determine the core details of the BCP, add the key components and resources, and determine the timing for what must happen before, during, and after a disruptive event.

Common Structure of a Business Continuity Plan

Knowing the common structure should help shape the plan — and frees you from thinking about form when you should be thinking about content. Here is an example of a BCP format:

  • Business Name: Record the business name, which usually appears on the title page.
  • Date: The day the BCP is completed and signed off. 
  • Purpose and Scope: This section describes the reason for and span of the plan.
  • Business Impact Analysis: Add the results of the BIA to your plan.  
  • Risk Assessment: Consider adding the risk assessment matrix to your plan.
  • Policy Information: Include the business continuity policy or policy highlights.
  • Emergency Management and Response: You can detail emergency response measures separately from other recovery and continuity procedures.
  • The Plan: The core of the plan details step-by-step procedures for business recovery and continuity.
  • Relevant Appendices: Appendices can include such information as contact lists, org charts, copies of insurance policies, or any supporting documents relevant in a crisis.

Keep in mind that every business is different — no two BCPs look the same. Tailor your business continuity plan to your company, and make sure the document captures all the information you need to keep your business functioning. Having everything you need to know in an emergency is the most crucial part of a BCP.

Disruptive Incident Quick-Reference Card Template

Disruptive Incident Quick Reference Cad Template

Use this quick-reference card template to write the key steps that employees should take in case of an emergency. Customize this template for each business unit, department, or role. Describe what people should do immediately and in the following days and weeks to continue the business. Print PDFs and laminate them for workstations or wallets, or load the PDFs on your mobile phone. 

Download Disruptive Incident Quick-Reference Card Template 

Expert Disaster Preparation Checklist

Business continuity and disaster planning aren’t just about your buildings and cloud backup — it’s about people and their families. Based on a document by Mike Semel of Semel Consulting, this disaster checklist helps you prepare for the human needs of your staff and their families, including food, shelter, and other comforts.

Tips for Writing a Business Continuity Plan

With its many moving parts and considerations, a business continuity plan can seem intimidating. Follow these tips to help you write, track, and maintain a strong BCP:

  • Take the continuity management planning  process seriously.
  • Interview key people in the organization who have successfully managed disruptive incidents.
  • Get approval from leadership early on and seek their ongoing championship of continuity preparedness.
  • Be flexible when it comes to who you involve, what resources you need, and how you achieve the most effective plan.
  • Keep the plan as simple and targeted as possible to make it easy to understand.
  • Limit the plan to practical disaster response actions.
  • Base the plan on the most up-to-date, accurate information available.
  • Plan for the worst-case scenario and broadly cover many types of potential disruptive situations. 
  • Consider the minimum amount of information or resources you need to keep your business running in a disaster. 
  • Use the data you gather in your BIA and risk analysis to make the planning process more straightforward.
  • Share the plan and make sure employees have a chance to review it or ask questions. 
  • Make the document available in hard copy for easy access, or add it to a shared platform. 
  • Continually test, review, and maintain your plan to keep it up to date. 
  • Keep the BCP current with organizational and regulatory changes and updates.

Empower Your Teams to Build Business Continuity with Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

5 Step Guide to Business Continuity Planning (BCP) in 2021

A business continuity plan provides a concrete plan to maintain business cohesion in challenging circumstances. Click here for the key steps that can help you formulate a formidable BCP.

A business continuity plan (BCP) is defined as a protocol of preventing and recovering from potentially large threats to the company’s business continuity. This article explains what a business continuity plan is today, its key benefits, and a step-by-step guide to creating a formidable plan.

Table of Contents

What is a business continuity plan (bcp), key benefits of having a business continuity plan, step-by-step guide to building a formidable business continuity plan (bcp) in 2021.

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a protocol of preventing and recovering from potentially large threats to the company’s business continuity. Such a plan often aims to address the need for updated business norms and operational standards in unpredictable circumstances such as natural disasters, data breach/ exposures, large scale system failures etc. The goal of such a plan is to ensure continuity of business with no or little damage to regular working environments, including job security for its employees.

It covers everything from business processes, human resources details, and more. Essentially a BCP provides a concrete plan to the organization to maintain business continuity even in challenging circumstances. 

Below are key reasons why businesses need to have a BCP today:

  • BCP’s relevance has gone up considerably after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and was also a major testing time for organizations that did have such a plan in place. The organizations which had a business continuity plan in place were better able to cope during these unprecedented circumstances better than those who did not have any such plans.
  • The recorded number of natural disasters has increased from 375 in 2016 to 409 in 2019 Opens a new window . Globally, the loss because of natural disasters was $232 billion in 2019, according to a study by Aon Opens a new window .
  • The number of cyberattacks has also increased in all geographies and all business verticals. MonsterCloud reported that cyberattacks have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. All this means that the organizations have to be better prepared to fight disasters. The importance of BCP can hardly be exaggerated in this context. Preparing a BCP is imperative for any enterprise, big or small, today. 

The end goal of a BCP is to ensure that the essential services continue to run in the event of an incident. For instance, if there is an earthquake where your customer service representatives operate from, your BCP will be able to tell you who will handle customer calls until the original office is restored.

Also Read: What Is Disaster Recovery? Definition, Cloud and On-premise, Benefits and Best Practices

Difference between a business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery plan (DCP)

A BCP is often confused with a disaster recovery (DR) plan. While a DR plan is primarily focused on restoring the IT systems and infrastructure, a BCP is much more than that. It covers all areas and departments of the organization, including HR, marketing and sales, support functions. 

The underlying thought behind BCP is that IT systems can hardly work in silos. Other departments also need to be restored to cater to the client or for meeting the business demands. 

“Many people think a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is the same as a business continuity plan, but a DRP is only a small, yet essential, a portion of a full BCP. A DRP focuses solely on restoring an organization’s IT infrastructure while minimizing data loss. On the other hand, a BCP is a comprehensive guide on how to continue the mission and business-critical operations during a time of an unplanned disruption (natural disasters, pandemics, or malware),” says Caleb Pipkin, a security expert at Logically . 

Whether a business is small, big, or medium-sized, it needs a ‘plan B’ to recover quickly in the event of a natural disaster or a crisis and can survive the disruption. BCP helps you dust yourself and get back to business quickly and easily. It means that the enterprise will be better placed to address their customers’ needs even in the wake of a disaster. 

On the other hand, the lack of a plan means that your organization will take longer to recover from an event or incident. It could also lead to loss of business or clients. Let’s look at some key benefits of BCP.

1. It is a roadmap to act in a disaster

A well-defined business continuity plan is like a roadmap during a disruption. It allows the firms to react swiftly and effectively and maintain business continuity. In turn, this leads to a faster and complete recovery of the enterprise in the shortest possible timeframe. It brings down the business downtime and outlines the steps to be taken before, during, and after a crisis and thus helps maintain its financial viability. 

2. Offers a competitive edge

Fast reaction and business continuity during a disruption allow organizations to gain a competitive edge over its business rivals. It can translate into a significant competitive advantage in the long run. Further, your clients will be more confident in your ability to perform in adverse circumstances allowing you to build a long and sustainable relationship with your business partners.

Developing competence to act and handle any unfavorable event effectively has a positive effect on the company’s reputation and market value. It goes a long way in enhancing customer confidence. 

Also Read: Top 8 Disaster Recovery Software Companies in 2021

3. Cuts down losses

Disasters have a considerable impact on all types of business, whether big or small. Business disruption can lead to financial, legal, and reputational losses. Failure to plan could be disastrous for businesses. You may lose your customers while trying to get your business on track. In the worst circumstances, you may not be able to recover at all. A well-defined business continuity strategy minimizes the damage to an organization and allows you to bring down these losses as much as possible. 

4. Enables employment continuity and protects livelihoods

One of the most significant consequences of a disaster is the loss of employment. The loss of livelihood can be curtailed to an extent if the business continues to function in the event of a disaster. It leads to greater confidence in the workforce that their jobs might not be at risk, and the management is taking steps to protect their jobs. It helps build confidence in senior management’s ability to respond to the business disruption in a planned manner. 

5. Can be life-saving

A regularly tested and updated BCP can potentially help save the lives of the employees and the customers during a disaster. For instance, if the BCP plan for fire is regularly tested, the speed with which the workforce acts can help save lives. 

6. Preserves brand value and develops resilience

Possibly the biggest asset of an organization is its brand. Being able to perform in uncertain times helps build goodwill and maintain its brand value and may even help mitigate financial and reputational loss during a disaster. 

BCP curtails the damage to the company’s brand and finances because of a disaster event. This helps bring down the cost of any incident and thus help the company be more resilient. 

Also Read: 10 Best Practices for Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP)

7. Enables adherence to compliance requirements

Having a BCP allows organizations to have additional benefits of complying with regulatory requirements. It is a legal requirement in several countries.

8. Helps in supply chain security

A precise BCP goes a long way in protecting the supply chain from damage. It ensures continuity in delivering products and services by being able to perform critical activities.

9. Enhances operational efficiency

One of BCP’s lesser-known benefits is that it helps identify areas of operational efficiency in the organization. Developing BCP calls for an in-depth evaluation of the company’s processes. This can potentially reveal the areas of improvement. Essentially, it gathers information that can benefit in enhancing the effectiveness of the processes and operations. 

Also Read: 7 Ways to Build an Effective Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan  

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on preparing for a disaster like never before. We make the job easier for you by listing out the key steps in building a formidable business continuity plan: 

How to Build a Business Continuity Plan

How to Build a Business Continuity Plan

Step 1: Risk assessment 

This phase involves asking crucial questions to evaluate the risks faced by the company. What are the likely business threats and disruptions which are most likely to occur? What is the most profitable activity of your organization? It is vital to prioritize key risks and operations, which will help mitigate the damage in the event of a disaster. 

Step 2: Business impact analysis

The second step involves a thorough and in-depth assessment of your business processes to determine the vulnerable areas and the potential losses if those processes are disrupted. This is also known as Business Impact Analysis . 

Essentially, Business impact analysis (BIA) is a process that helps the organization define the impact if critical business operations are interrupted because of a disaster, accident, or emergency. It helps in identifying the most crucial elements of the business processes. For instance, maintaining a supply chain might be more critical during a crisis than public relations.

While there is no formal standard for a BIA, it typically involves the following steps: 

  • Collating information: As a first step, a questionnaire is prepared to find out critical business processes and resources that will help in the proper assessment of the impact of a disruptive event. One-on-one sessions with key management members may be conducted further to gain insights into the organization’s processes and workings.
  • Analysis: This is followed by analyzing the collected information. A manual or computer-assisted analysis is conducted. The analysis is based on an interruption in which crucial activities or resources are not available. Typically it works on the assumption of the worst-case scenario, even when the chances of a risk likelihood are low. This approach is followed to zero in on the systems that, when disrupted or interrupted, threaten the organization’s very survival. This way, these processes are prioritized in the business continuity plan. 

The analysis phase helps identify the minimum staff and resources required for running the organization in the event of a crisis. This also allows the organizations to assess the impact on the revenue if the business is unable to run for a day, a week, or more. There might be contractual penalties, regulatory fines, and workforce-related expenditure which need to be taken into account while finding out the impact on the business. Further, there might be specific vulnerabilities of the firm, and they need to be considered in the BIA. 

  • Preparing a report: The next step is preparing a BIA report, which is assessed by the senior management. The report is a thorough analysis of the gathered information along with findings. It also gives recommendations on the procedure that should be followed in the event of a business disruption. The BIA report also shares the impact on the revenue, supply chain, and customer delivery to the business in a specific time frame. 

The business impact analysis report may also include a checklist of all the resources, such as the names of key personnel, data backup , contact information, emergency responders, and more.

  • Presenting the report: Usually, this report goes through several amendments before being cleared by the senior management. The involvement of senior management is crucial to the success of the business continuity plan. It sends out a strong signal in the organization that it is a serious initiative. 

Also Read: Will Extreme Weather Events Affect Your Business? Lessons From the Texas Winter Storm

Step 3: BCP Testing

Several testing methods are available to test the effectiveness of the BCP. Here are a few common ones: 

  • TableTop test: As the name suggests, the identified executives go through the plan in detail to evaluate whether it will work on not. Different disaster types and the response to them are discussed at length. This type of testing is designed to make all the key personnel aware of their role in the event of a disaster. The response procedure is reviewed, and responsibilities are outlined, so everybody knows their roles.
  • Walk through: In this type of testing, the team members go through their part in the plan with a specific disaster in mind. Drills or a simulated response and disaster role-playing are part of this. This is a more thorough form of testing and likely to reveal the shortcoming in the plan. Any vulnerabilities discovered should be used to update the BCP accordingly.
  • Disaster simulation testing: In this type of testing, an environment that simulates an actual disaster is created. This is the closest to the actual event and gives the best case scenario about the plan’s workability. It will help the team find gaps that might be overlooked in the other types of tests. Document the results of your testing so you can compare the improvement from the previous tests. It will help you in strengthening your business continuity plan. 

Frequency of testing – Typically, organizations test BCP at least twice a year. At the same time, it depends on the size of your organization and the business vertical you operate in.

Step 4: Maintenance

A business continuity plan should not be treated as a one-time exercise. It needs to be maintained , so the organization’s structural and people changes are updated regularly. The key personnel might move on from the firm, and this would need to be updated in the Business Impact Analysis and BCP. The process for regular updating of the documentation should be followed to ensure that the organization is not caught on the wrong foot in case of a business disruption. 

Also Read: Offsite Data Replication: A Great Way To Meet Recovery Time Objectives

Step 5: Communication

Sometimes executives tend to ignore communication while preparing a BCP. It is a crucial aspect, and your BCP should clearly define who will maintain the communication channels with the employees, regulators, business partners, and partners during the crisis. The contact information of the key people should be readily accessible for the BCP to work without any trouble.

In the end, the organizations should accept that despite preparing a formidable business continuity plan, several factors beyond your control may still affect its success or failure. The key executives might not be available in the event of a crisis; both the primary and the alternate data recovery sites might have been affected by the event; the communications network might be damaged, and so on. Such factors are common during a natural disaster and may lead to the limited success of the business continuity plan. 

The success of a business depends on it acting swiftly and efficiently when confronted with an unanticipated crisis. Any failure to do so results in a financial and reputational loss, which takes up a long time to recover. It can be avoided if the organization quickly gathers itself during a disaster. A business continuity plan is then of paramount importance for a business of any size. At the same time, it is crucial to ensure that the BCP is not a one-time exercise. It needs to be continuously evaluated, tested, amended, and maintained so it doesn’t let you down when you need it the most. 

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What Is A Business Continuity Plan? [+ Template & Examples]

Swetha Amaresan

Published: December 30, 2022

When a business crisis occurs, the last thing you want to do is panic.

executives discussing business continuity plan

The second-to-last thing you want to do is be unprepared. Crises typically arise without warning. While you shouldn't start every day expecting the worst, you should be relatively prepared for anything to happen.

A business crisis can cost your company a lot of money and ruin your reputation if you don't have a business continuity plan in place. Customers aren't very forgiving, especially when a crisis is influenced by accidents within the company or other preventable mistakes. If you want your company to be able to maintain its business continuity in the face of a crisis, then you'll need to come up with this type of plan to uphold its essential functions.

Free Download: Crisis Management Plan & Communication Templates

In this post, we'll explain what a business continuity plan is, give examples of scenarios that would require a business continuity plan, and provide a template that you can use to create a well-rounded program for your business.

Table of Contents:

What is a business continuity plan?

  • Business Continuity Types
  • Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity Plan Template

How to write a business continuity plan.

  • Business Continuity Examples

A business continuity plan outlines directions and procedures that your company will follow when faced with a crisis. These plans include business procedures, names of assets and partners, human resource functions, and other helpful information that can help maintain your brand's relationships with relevant stakeholders. The goal of a business continuity plan is to handle anything from minor disruptions to full-blown threats.

For example, one crisis that your business may have to respond to is a severe snowstorm. Your team may be wondering, "If a snowstorm disrupted our supply chain, how would we resume business?" Planning contingencies ahead of time for situations like these can help your business stay afloat when you're faced with an unavoidable crisis.

When you think about business continuity in terms of the essential functions your business requires to operate, you can begin to mitigate and plan for specific risks within those functions.

best business continuity plans

Crisis Communication and Management Kit

Manage, plan for, and communicate during your corporate crises with these crisis management plan templates.

  • Free Crisis Management Plan Template
  • 12 Crisis Communication Templates
  • Post-Crisis Performance Grading Template
  • Additional Crisis Best Management Practices

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity planning is the process of creating a plan to address a crisis. When writing out a business continuity plan, it's important to consider the variety of crises that could potentially affect the company and prepare a resolution for each.

Business Continuity Plan

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Understanding the Essentials of a Business Continuity Plan


In the face of unforeseen disruptions, a robust business continuity plan (BCP) is essential to preserve the trust of stakeholders. If you are able to seamlessly continue operations even in the face of sudden challenges, stakeholders are reassured of the company’s resilience and commitment to their interests.

In this blog post, we offer a comprehensive guide to business continuity planning, how it can benefit organizations and share key insights into Developing and Maintaining an Effective business continuity plan.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is an essential blueprint that outlines how a company will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It’s more than just a reactive strategy; it’s a proactive measure to ensure that critical business functions can continue during and after a crisis. The purpose of a BCP is to provide a systematic approach to mitigate the potential impact of disruptions and maintain business operations at an acceptable predefined level.

The role of a BCP is crucial in maintaining operations during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or any other incident that could interrupt business processes. By having a well-structured business continuity plan, organizations can:

  • Minimize downtime and ensure that essential functions remain operational
  • Protect the integrity of data and IT infrastructure
  • Maintain customer service and preserve stakeholder trust

Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important

Immediate Response : A BCP ensures that there is a predefined action plan, minimizing downtime and demonstrating control over the situation.

Transparent Communication : Keeping stakeholders informed during a crisis promotes transparency and maintains confidence in the company’s management.

Inclusive Planning : Involve stakeholders in the business continuity plan development process. Their insights can enhance the plan’s effectiveness and ensure their needs are addressed.

Consistency in Service : By prioritizing critical operations, a BCP helps maintain the quality and consistency of services or products, which is important for customer retention.

The absence of a business continuity plan can lead to a domino effect of negative outcomes, including a tarnished reputation and the potential loss of future business. Stakeholders remember how a company responds in a crisis, and a well-executed BCP can be the difference between a temporary setback and a long-term impact on the company’s image and relationships.

Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

When exploring various business continuity plan examples, certain common elements emerge as critical for their effectiveness. These elements serve as the backbone for a robust BCP plan, ensuring that businesses can maintain operations and protect their reputation during unforeseen events. Here are some of the key components found in successful BCP examples:

Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis : Identifying potential threats and assessing their impact on business operations is a foundational step in any BCP plan.

Crisis Communication Plan : A clear communication strategy is essential to manage stakeholder expectations and maintain trust.

Recovery Strategies : Detailed procedures for restoring business functions and services post-disruption are indispensable.

Employee Training and Awareness : Ensuring staff are well-prepared and knowledgeable about the BCP plan is crucial for its successful implementation.

Case studies of successful BCP implementations often highlight how these elements are tailored to fit specific business models and industries. For instance, a financial institution may focus heavily on data security and regulatory compliance within their BCP, while a manufacturing business might prioritize supply chain alternatives and on-site safety protocols. Regular testing and adjustment of these plans are also a common thread, underscoring the importance of adaptability and continuous improvement in business continuity planning.

Business Continuity Plan Toolkit

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Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

It’s important to distinguish between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan. While both are vital, a BCP is broader and focuses on the continuity of the entire business, whereas a disaster recovery plan is more technical and concentrates on the recovery of specific operations, such as IT services. Understanding these differences helps organizations allocate resources effectively and ensures comprehensive preparedness for any type of disruption. Understanding when to activate a business continuity plan (BCP) versus a disaster recovery plan is crucial for maintaining operational resilience.

To ensure a comprehensive crisis management strategy, consider the following integration points:

Pre-emptive Planning : Establish clear triggers for when each plan is activated. For instance, a BCP might be initiated in the face of a supply chain disruption, while disaster recovery would come into play during a data breach or server failure.

Unified Communication : Both plans should have a coordinated communication strategy to inform stakeholders and employees about the status and steps being taken.

Regular Testing : Conduct joint drills that test both the BCP and disaster recovery plans to identify any gaps or overlaps in procedures.

Continuous Improvement : Use insights from drills and actual incidents to refine both plans, ensuring they evolve with the changing business landscape and technological advancements.

By integrating both plans, organizations can navigate crises with agility and confidence, minimizing downtime and protecting their reputation. Tools like Creately, with features such as real-time collaboration and visual project management, can help create and maintain these critical plans, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page and ready to act when necessary.

Crisis Communication Strategies within Business Continuity Planning

A business continuity plan (BCP) is not just about responding to the crisis at hand, but also about how you communicate during the disruptions and the decisions you make. Here are some best practices to ensure your crisis communication and decision-making processes effective:

Clear Communication Channels : Establish predefined channels for internal and external communication. This ensures that messages are consistent and reach all stakeholders promptly.

Designated Spokespersons : Identify individuals who are authorized to speak on behalf of the company during a crisis. This helps maintain a unified voice and message.

Factual Updates : Provide regular, factual updates to keep stakeholders informed. Avoid speculation and commit to transparency.

Decision-Making Protocols : Implement decision-making protocols that are clear and allow for swift action. This includes having a chain of command and predefined criteria for making critical decisions.

Training and Simulations : Regularly train your crisis management team and conduct simulations to prepare for potential scenarios. This ensures that when a crisis does occur, your team is ready to act effectively.

By integrating these best practices into your BCP plan, you can maintain control during a crisis, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively with all parties involved. Remember, the goal is to protect your company’s operations, reputation, and stakeholder relationships during unexpected events.

Utilizing Business Continuity Plan Templates and Tools

When it comes to developing a robust business continuity plan (BCP), leveraging templates can offer a significant head start. These templates serve as a foundational framework that can be customized to align with the specific requirements of your business. Here’s why using BCP templates is advantageous:

Efficiency in Development : BCP templates provide a structured approach, ensuring that all critical elements are considered without starting from scratch. This saves valuable time and resources.

Consistency Across the Organization : Templates help maintain a uniform response strategy, which is crucial for coherent and coordinated action during a crisis.

Ease of Customization : While templates offer a general outline, they are designed to be adaptable. This means you can tailor them to reflect your business’s unique operational processes, risk profile, and recovery objectives.

Incorporating features like crisis response directions into your BCP template is essential. With Creately you can,

  • Visualize these procedures on an infinite canvas, ensuring clarity and accessibility for all team members.
  • Easily modify the plan as your business evolves, with the drag-and-drop functionality, making regular testing and adjustment a seamless process.
  • Create a central repository of information by having docs, links and attachments in the notes panel of any shape in your diagram.

Key Insights for Developing and Maintaining an Effective Business Continuity Plan

A robust business continuity plan (BCP) is not a ‘set it and forget it’ document; it requires ongoing attention and refinement. Here’s why regular testing, updates, and staff training are non-negotiables in business continuity:

Financial Protection : By regularly testing your BCP, you can identify and rectify gaps that could otherwise lead to significant financial losses during a crisis. It’s not just about having a plan, but ensuring it works effectively when you need it most.

Reputational Safeguarding : Your company’s reputation is on the line when disaster strikes. A well-rehearsed BCP means your team can respond swiftly and competently, preserving stakeholder trust and customer loyalty.

Customization for Evolving Threats : The threat landscape is constantly changing. Regular BCP reviews allow you to tailor your plan to new types of risks, ensuring your business remains resilient against the unforeseen.

Empowered Employees : Training staff on the BCP turns theory into practice. When every team member knows their role in a crisis, response times improve, and confusion is minimized.

Remember, a BCP is a living document. It thrives on the feedback loop created by regular drills and updates, ensuring that when a crisis does occur, your business is prepared not just to survive, but to continue operations with minimal disruption.

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Hansani has a background in journalism and marketing communications. She loves reading and writing about tech innovations. She enjoys writing poetry, travelling and photography.

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How to create an effective business continuity plan

A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of disaster, whether fire, flood, or cyberattack. Here’s how to create a plan that gives your business the best chance of surviving such an event.

Professional Meeting: Senior Businesswoman and Colleague in Discussion

The tumultuous events of the past several years have impacted practically every business. And with the number of extreme weather events, cyberattacks, and geopolitical conflicts continuing to rise, business leaders are bracing for the possibility of increasingly more frequent impactful incidents their organizations will need to respond to.

According to PwC’s 2023 Global Crisis and Resilience Survey , 96% of 1,812 business leaders said their organizations had experienced disruption in the past two years and 76% said their most serious disruption had a medium to high impact on operations.

It’s little wonder then that 89% of executives list resilience as one of their most important strategic priorities.

Yet at the same time, only 70% of respondents said they were confident in their organization’s ability to respond to disruptions, with PwC noting that its research shows that too many organizations “are lacking the foundational elements of resilience they need to be successful.”

A solid business continuity plan is one of those foundational elements.

“Every business should have the mindset that they will face a disaster, and every business needs a plan to address the different potential scenarios,” says Goh Ser Yoong, head of compliance at Advance.AI and a member of the Emerging Trends Working Group at the professional governance association ISACA.

A business continuity plan gives the organization the best shot at successfully navigating a disaster by providing ready-made directions on who should do what tasks in what order to keep the business viable.

Without such as a plan, the organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident — or may never recover at all.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategic playbook created to help an organization maintain or quickly resume business functions in the face of disruption, whether that disruption is caused by a natural disaster, civic unrest, cyberattack, or any other threat to business operations.

A business continuity plan outlines the procedures and instructions that the organization must follow during such an event to minimize downtime, covering business processes, assets, human resources, business partners, and more.

A business continuity plan is not the same as a disaster recovery plan , which focuses on restoring IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. Still, a disaster recovery plan is part of the overall strategy to ensure business continuity, and the business continuity plan should inform the action items detailed in an organization’s disaster recovery plan. The two are tightly coupled, which is why they often are considered together and abbreviated as BCDR.

Why business continuity planning matters

Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, it’s vital to retain and increase your customer base. There’s no better test of your capability to do so than right after an adverse event.

Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company’s future depends on your people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on your company’s reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence.

Moreover, there are increasing consumer and regulatory expectations for both enterprise security and continuity today. Consequently, organizations must prioritize continuity planning to prevent not only business losses, but financial, legal, reputational, and regulatory consequences.

For example, the risk of having an organization’s “license to operate” withdrawn by a regulator or having conditions applied (retrospectively or prospectively) can adversely affect market value and consumer confidence.

Building (and updating) a business continuity plan

Whether building the organization’s first business continuity plan or updating an existing one, the process involves multiple essential steps.

Assess business processes for criticality and vulnerability: Business continuity planning “starts with understanding what’s most important to the business,” says Joe Nocera, principle in the cyber risk and regulatory practice at PwC, a professional services firm.

So the first step in building your business continuity plan is assessing your business processes to determine which are the most critical; which are the most vulnerable and to what type of events; and what are the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days, or a week.

“This step essentially determines what you are trying to protect and what you are trying to keep up for systems,” says Todd Renner, senior managing director in the cybersecurity practice at FTI Consulting.

This assessment is more demanding than ever before because of the complexity of today’s hybrid workplace, the modern IT environment, and the reliance on business partners and third-party providers to perform or support critical processes.

Given that complexity, Goh says a thorough assessment requires an inventory of not only key processes but also the supporting components — including the IT systems, networks, people, and outside vendors — as well as the risks to those components.

This is essentially a business impact analysis.

Determine your organization’s RTO and RPO: The next step in building a business continuity plan is determining the organization’s recovery time objective (RTO), which is the target amount of time between point of failure and the resumption of operations, and the recovery point objective (RPO), which is the maximum amount of data loss an organization can withstand.

Each organization has its own RTO and RPO based on the nature of its business, industry, regulatory requirements, and other operational factors. Moreover, different parts of a business can have different RTOs and RPOs, which executives need to establish, Nocera says.

“When you meet with individual aspects of the business, everyone says everything [they do] is important; no one wants to say their part of the business is less critical, but in reality you have to have those challenging conversations and determinations about what is actually critical to the business and to business continuity,” he adds.

Detail the steps, roles, and responsibilities for continuity: Once that is done, business leaders should use the RTO and the RPO, along with the business impact analysis, to determine the specific tasks that need to happen, by whom, and in what order to ensure business continuity.

“It’s taking the key components of your analysis and designing a plan that outlines roles and responsibilities, about who does what. It gets into the nitty-gritty on how you’re going to keep the company up and running,” Renner explains.

One common business continuity planning tool is a checklist that includes supplies and equipment, the location of data backups and backup sites, where the plan is available and who should have it, and contact information for emergency responders, key personnel, and backup site providers.

Although the list of possible scenarios that could impact business operations can seem extensive, Goh says business leaders don’t have to compile an exhaustive list of potential incidents. Rather, they should compile a list that includes likely incidents as well as representative ones so that they can create responses that have a higher likelihood of ensuring continuity even when faced with an unimagined disaster.

“So even if it’s an unexpected event, they can pull those building blocks from the plan and apply them to the unique crisis they’re facing,” Nocera says.

The importance of testing the business continuity plan

Devising a business continuity plan is not enough to ensure preparedness; testing and practicing are other critical components.

Renner says testing and practicing offer a few important benefits.

First, they show whether or how well a plan will work.

Testing and practicing help prepare all stakeholders for an actual incident, helping them build the muscle memory needed to respond as quickly and as confidently as possible during a crisis.

They also help identify gaps in the devised plan. As Renner says: “Every tabletop exercise that I’ve ever done has been an eye-opener for everyone involved.”

Additionally, they help identify where there may be misalignment of objectives. For example, executives may have deprioritized the importance of restoring certain IT systems only to realize during a drill that those are essential for supporting critical processes.

Types and timing of tests

Many organizations test a business continuity plan two to four times a year. Experts say the frequency of tests, as well as reviews and updates, depends on the organization itself — its industry, its speed of innovation and transformation, the amount of turnover of key personnel, the number of business processes, and so on.

Common tests include tabletop exercises , structured walk-throughs, and simulations. Test teams are usually composed of the recovery coordinator and members from each functional unit.

A tabletop exercise usually occurs in a conference room with the team poring over the plan, looking for gaps and ensuring that all business units are represented therein.

In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or her components of the plan in detail to identify weaknesses. Often, the team works through the test with a specific disaster in mind. Some organizations incorporate drills and disaster role-playing into the structured walk-through. Any weaknesses should be corrected and an updated plan distributed to all pertinent staff.

Some experts also advise a full emergency evacuation drill at least once a year.

Meanwhile, disaster simulation testing — which can be quite involved — should still be performed annually. For this test, create an environment that simulates an actual disaster, with all the equipment, supplies and personnel (including business partners and vendors) who would be needed. The purpose of a simulation is to determine whether the organization and its staff can carry out critical business functions during an actual event.

During each phase of business continuity plan testing, include some new employees on the test team. “Fresh eyes” might detect gaps or lapses of information that experienced team members could overlook.

Reviewing and updating the business continuity plan should likewise happen on an ongoing basis.

“It should be a living document. It shouldn’t be shelved. It shouldn’t be just a check-the-box exercise,” Renner says.

Otherwise, plans go stale and are of no use when needed.

Bring key personnel together at least annually to review the plan and discuss any areas that must be modified.

Prior to the review, solicit feedback from staff to incorporate into the plan. Ask all departments or business units to review the plan, including branch locations or other remote units.

Furthermore, a strong business continuity function calls for reviewing the organization’s response in the event of an actual event. This allows executives and their teams to identify what the organization did well and where it needs to improve.

How to ensure business continuity plan support, awareness

One way to ensure your plan is not successful is to adopt a casual attitude toward its importance. Every business continuity plan must be supported from the top down. That means senior management must be represented when creating and updating the plan; no one can delegate that responsibility to subordinates. In addition, the plan is likely to remain fresh and viable if senior management makes it a priority by dedicating time for adequate review and testing.

Management is also key to promoting user awareness. If employees don’t know about the plan, how will they be able to react appropriately when every minute counts?

Although plan distribution and training can be conducted by business unit managers or HR staff, have someone from the top kick off training and punctuate its significance. It’ll have a greater impact on all employees, giving the plan more credibility and urgency.

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Business Continuity Plan: A Complete Guide

Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Business Continuity Plan: A Complete Guide

Featured Bonus Content: Get The Checklist For Business Continuity Planning And Implementation for FREE! Click Here To Download It.

Unplanned downtime costs business enterprises billions of dollars annually. According to IDC , infrastructure failure can cost a large company an average of $100,000 per hour. 

However, critical application failure can ramp up the amount to between $500,000 and $1 million every hour. While your costs may not be on this scale, unplanned downtime costs time and money for every business, no matter what the size.

Most enterprises have realized that to remain afloat and thrive despite the numerous potential threats calls for the creation of effective and reliable infrastructure. This essentially means infrastructure that supports growth while protecting company data and critical applications.

Unexpected events and situations test your company’s capabilities and competitiveness. If your business can manage crises effectively, it will not only survive, but its reputation and market value will soar. A business continuity plan is the key to making this a reality.

Chapter 1: What is a Business Continuity Plan?

Chapter 2: benefits of a business continuity plan, chapter 3: what are the main business continuity plan goals, chapter 4: what major business threats do business continuity plans mitigate, chapter 5: features of a business continuity plan, chapter 6: effective business continuity tools, chapter 7: how to create a business continuity plan that works, chapter 8: common challenges faced when creating and implementing business continuity plans, chapter 9: smoothen your business continuity planning and implementation with sweetprocess.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that details how company operations will continue after an unforeseen service disruption. When carried out effectively, the plan enables an organization to respond swiftly and efficiently when unpredictable events occur.

This comprehensive plan contains contingencies for every aspect of the business that the disruption might impact. They include developing alternative business processes, protecting assets, improving human resources, and safeguarding business partners. 

The BCP creates a system designed to help businesses prevent and recover from potential threats. It ensures that personnel and company assets remain safe and capable of functioning quickly during a disaster.

The business continuity plan: 

  • Provides a summary of critical business processes plus communication strategies.
  • Contains a checklist comprising supplies, equipment, data backups, and backup locations. 
  • Identifies plan administrators, key personnel, provides emergency responders’ contact details, and backup site providers. 
  • Offers detailed strategies on how to maintain both short- and long-term business operations.  

Here is a short video explaining what business continuity planning is all about:

Why a Business Continuity Plan is Important

Any business can suffer from disasters of varying magnitudes, from a minor breakdown to a catastrophic cyber attack. Thus, business continuity plans are crucial in allowing a company to continue operating despite threats and disruptions that could result in revenue loss, higher costs, and low profitability.

Failure to plan can spell disaster for your business. Not only can it cost you loyal clients, but your company might fail to recover from a disaster. Having an established BCP assists in reducing downtime, which helps attain sustainable improvements in business continuity, resiliency, security, crisis management, disaster recovery, and regulatory compliance.

In addition, a good BCP integrates all the key aspects of your business. As such, it:

  • Protects your data
  • Safeguards your brand
  • Helps retain customers
  • Keeps your business running
  • Helps minimize operating costs

The Difference Between a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan forms a crucial part of the business continuity plan. It’s one of the integral steps necessary in safeguarding a business against contingencies. Hence, it contains strategies for managing disruptions to IT infrastructure like servers, networks, computers, and mobile devices. 

The key difference between the two plans is that a BCP focuses on keeping your business open and operational during unfavorable circumstances. Conversely, disaster recovery aims to restore full functionality (data access and IT infrastructure) as soon as possible after a disaster.

An effective disaster recovery plan should include how to re-establish employee productivity and the systems and processes necessary to meet key business needs. As such, it needs to outline manual workarounds so that normal operations can continue until regular computer systems get reinstated.

Other types of BCPs include crisis management plans, crisis communication plans, and emergency response plans. 

Business Continuity Plan Misconceptions

It seems fairly obvious that all businesses should have workable continuity plans. However, the reality is that several misconceptions hamper business continuity planning by generating confusion that could limit a plan’s effectiveness. Some of the most common misconstructions include the following: 

1. The company is insured.

Many business owners believe that as long as they have insurance, they are covered in case of any losses. While this is true to some extent, insurance alone is not enough as a business continuity strategy. Proper insurance coverage forms an essential part of a BCP, but it cannot cover everything, such as loss of market share, customers, or delays in launching new products. 

2. We have a disaster recovery plan. 

A disaster recovery plan and BCP are not synonymous. The former is reactive, responding after an event has occurred. It forms part of a BCP and handles the safety and restoration of critical personnel and operational procedures after a disastrous occurrence. 

On the contrary, a BCP is a proactive plan designed to prevent and alleviate risks resulting from disrupted business operations. It details the exact steps to be undertaken before, during, and after the event to maintain the organization in a financially viable position.

3. We have no time to create a continuity plan.

This perspective is wrong. Any time you spend creating and maintaining a BCP is time spent investing in your business. In the event of an interruption, your business will continue incurring fixed costs even if you are not open for business. 

Therefore, the sooner you can resume normal operations, the faster you can have a successful recovery. Simply put, your business cannot afford to not have a BCP.

4. Our employees already know what to do in an emergency.

When disaster strikes, even the best employees might not know what to do. Without a system, each would respond in their own way, adding more confusion. Besides, relying on them to make correct decisions during an emergency is extremely risky because they have limited or no time to think or collaborate with colleagues. 

Following a well-documented BCP ensures that all employees are trained to follow a safe, systematic, and timely recovery. In addition, identifying critical functions beforehand enables you to build a better plan before a crisis. You’ll also be able to execute it better during a crisis. 

BCP plans should ideally assign particular recovery activities to specific employees, who then receive training on the required procedures. Expecting all personnel to learn every step in the BCP could again create chaos during a crisis. 

5. Testing a business continuity plan is unnecessary.

You need to test your business continuity plan to make certain it has no weaknesses, so check for flaws and missing steps. Besides, without regular testing, you cannot tell whether it will work when the need arises. Some might argue that testing is challenging and costly. However, a BCP that’s hard to understand or implement is already a source of concern. 

An ideal continuity plan should have clear recovery steps for each particular operation. Such a plan is easy to test, and this should be undertaken two to four times annually, depending on the amendments to the BCP or turnover on key roles.

BCPs should be an integral part of standard business operations. To maximize your continuity plans and eliminate any misconceptions, involve all your employees and ensure you cover every business aspect.

Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

Modern businesses are increasingly aware of their vulnerability to business continuity threats. Today’s threats take many forms, ranging from crippling cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and malicious damage to accidents and unintended consequences brought on by hyper-convergence. 

These vulnerabilities require a proactive approach that can offer ample protection plus a strategy to withstand disruptive incidents, such as provided by a BCP. The plans typically include ways to defend against those risks, protect critical applications and data, and recover from security breaches in a controlled, measured manner.

Below are the many benefits of having a business continuity plan :

  • Saves money since your business continues running during and after a disaster
  • Ensures safety of all stakeholders
  • Boosts your brand’s reputation
  • Accelerates disaster recovery effort
  • Smoothens business operations
  • Minimizes disruption after a disaster
  • Builds customer trust
  • Helps you comply with regulatory requirements
  • Protects you against unwarranted risks
  • Gives you valuable business information

Let us explore some of these benefits briefly:

It Saves You Money 

A business that stays closed is bound to suffer revenue loss. The longer the interruption, the more substantial the losses become. Besides, missed supply deadlines and failure to honor service level agreements (SLAs) can translate to extra fees or fines for non-compliance with regulations.

Fortunately, when your business continues running during and after a disaster, you get to save money and mitigate financial risks. Note that small businesses can also incur heavy losses after an unexpected downtime, where one hour can cost a minimum of $100,000, according to a 2019 ITIC survey .   

Ensures Safety of all Stakeholders

A BCP can help keep employees and customers safe. It allows your business to continue running in the midst of a crisis while ensuring the environment is safe for both workers and clients. You will also have an uninterrupted flow of information going out to all stakeholders.

Training staff on how to respond in case of an accident or how to implement evacuation procedures also keeps everyone safe during a disaster. To prevent serious or fatal injuries, your company should have a way of sending out alerts during emergencies. Colleagues need to be able to check in too, confirming they are safe. 

A fall-back plan is invaluable as it eliminates distractions that arise during emergencies. People worry about their safety and that of other colleagues and friends, leading to anxiety and a lack of focus.

Boosts Your Brand’s Reputation

A company that’s well-prepared to handle unexpected disruptions has no fear of appearing incompetent, bungling over what steps to take, or miscommunicating during a crisis. A BCP helps ensure a smooth recovery while safeguarding your brand value and the stellar reputation you’ve built over time. Furthermore, how your business responds to a crisis can affect its reputation for years.

But that’s not all. Business continuity also provides your company with a competitive edge. This is because businesses that pursue business continuity are among the first to get back on their feet after an unfortunate event.  

Smoothens Business Operations

A business continuity plan offers you a blueprint that makes it easier to execute business operations, increasing your chances for success. Additionally, it helps to ensure your company continues functioning smoothly after a disaster. 

Workers receive access to files, applications, and any other resources they might need, and the firm continues providing products or services, thereby reducing or eliminating downtime.

Also, a strong continuity system identifies and trains crisis response managers, ensuring people are equipped to take charge and assign tasks to the team.

Builds Customer Trust

Being transparent about ongoing business continuity efforts communicates powerfully to your customers. It informs them that their needs are important, and you are putting things in place to ensure you are always available, always there for them. 

Showing such high commitment to business continuity helps build confidence amongst both clients and business partners. Customers are assured of continued access to your services. 

Helps You Comply With Regulatory Requirements

Having an emergency action plan (EAP) is a standard business requirement. Your business can find itself playing host to auditors at any time with non-compliance resulting in a hefty fine.

Adopting a system of business continuity standards helps your business become compliant with industry regulations. Compliance also provides your stakeholders with proof that you’re running the business responsibly.

Gives You Valuable Business Information 

Since business continuity planning entails putting your business under a microscope, the process helps you better understand your business processes. 

Business continuity activities help produce lots of valuable company data on business operations, such as critical business units and crucial tasks, giving you a rough idea of the financial impact of a disruption.

With this information, you can focus resources on critical functions and find solutions to operational inefficiencies, thereby improving your processes and making your company more resilient. You can also use the data to plan strategic activities that propel your business forward. 

What Are the Main Business Continuity Plan Goals?

The first step in business continuity planning should be to identify your objectives. These provide a guideline for what the plan aims to accomplish. They pinpoint the areas that need to be addressed during the document’s creation, giving all stakeholders a clearer picture of the plan’s scope and purpose. 

The primary goal of having a business continuity plan is to enable a company to continue supporting critical functions during a crisis while minimizing revenue losses. This allows the enterprise to run on limited resources or restricted access to the physical office while pushing to resume normal operations as soon as possible.  

Here are the most common goals of a business continuity plan :

  • Guide recovery teams
  • Assess risks
  • Analyze the potential impact of disruption 
  • Reveal prioritized emergency communications
  • Identify disaster recovery teams
  • Give step-by-step recovery procedures
  • Show where specific critical assets and data are located
  • Pinpoint weaknesses and suggest solutions
  • Point out preventative measures

Let us explore these goals a little further:

Guide Recovery Teams 

Offering guidance to recovery teams is a fundamental goal of the BCP. This is not a document to be left gathering dust. Instead, the BCP template should provide step-by-step instructions for your recovery teams during an actual emergency, disruption, or disaster.  

Assess Risks

Another key aim of creating a BCP is to establish the potential threats to your business operations. Your plan should also outline the various disasters that could disrupt the business, leading to downtime.    

Analyze Potential Impact of Disruption 

A business impact analysis helps a company project the potential impact a disruption would have on daily operations. This captures the financial impact on the organization too, in terms of operational losses. The information received helps the business continuity planning team determine restoration timelines and prioritize the order of events.

Reveal Prioritized Emergency Communications

Business continuity planning enables your company to have ready answers to pertinent questions during an emergency. These include queries such as who informs personnel, communicates with customers, or talks to media people. It also means that recovery teams understand and appreciate their roles regarding all emergency communications.

Identify Disaster Recovery Teams

Identifying and assigning a business continuity team is essential to your continuity plan’s success. The team is tasked with coordinating and implementing the plan. The plan should contain information on the team members, their contact details, show the management structure, and detail the roles to be played by each team member.

Give Step-by-Step Recovery Procedures

Your BCP will offer the exact steps to be followed in the recovery process. In the event of a disaster, your employees are unlikely to remember exactly what they need to do. While the disaster recovery team might have a general idea, having the document on hand will ensure that the team follows the precise protocols.

Show Where Specific Critical Assets and Data Are

A crucial goal of an IT BCP is to locate the storage point of critical data, backup resources like workstations or devices, plus other company assets. This ensures the recovery teams can commence recovery procedures without any confusion, even without key IT personnel.  

The team also needs to identify where to move operations, how to do that, and the resources to employ. Your plan will also contain information on backup office space, if any, or how to secure one on short notice. 

Pinpoint Weaknesses and Suggest Solutions

The BCP is a dynamic document that requires regular evaluation to address any weaknesses or loopholes. Since business continuity planning is an ongoing process, regular reviews allow for assessing any new risks. During the evaluation, pinpoint any scenarios that would expose operations to threats and suggest workable solutions to immediately address the situation.

Point out Preventative Measures

A BCP helps reassure all stakeholders that the company is doing all it can to prevent potential disruptions. To this end, it describes the tools, technologies, and protocols already established to ward off or alleviate the effects of an unfavorable occurrence. 

What Major Business Threats do Business Continuity Plans Mitigate?

Businesses the world over are grappling with numerous threats that target their day-to-day operations . While some of the threats are natural and beyond human control, others are accidental, and a few are intentional, resulting from malicious attacks.

Being in the know about possible threats to your business continuity is key to creating a comprehensive business continuity plan that can effectively mitigate the threats. Also, knowing the current trends can help you monitor, identify likely threats, and prepare better for any eventuality. 

Below are some of the top business threats in today’s business environment:

  • Natural calamities
  • Cyber attacks and data breaches
  • Disease outbreaks and pandemics 
  • Human error (such as gas leaks, chemical explosions, fire, oil spills, or damage to machines)
  • Deliberate sabotage
  • Reputation and scandalous issues
  • Critical utility outages 
  • Political change or unrest
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Lack of key skills
  • Regulatory changes
  • Terror attacks

Let’s examine some of the key threats:

Natural Calamities

Losing access to your business premises because of a fire or flood means losing your entire company data. That is, if you have no cloud storage or if your disaster recovery strategies are not as efficient as required. Keeping an off-site copy of critical business data means that your employees continue working uninterrupted in the unfortunate event of a natural calamity.

Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Cyber attacks and data breaches take many forms, including ransomware, malware, phishing attacks, or an attack targeting network security vulnerabilities. All companies are vulnerable to such attacks, as shown by the recent attack on Goggle . Your BCP should offer security guidelines on how to prevent and cope with a cyber attack. 

Disease Outbreaks and Pandemics 

Widespread lockdowns over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought into sharp focus the need for businesses to remain open and operational at all times.

Deliberate Sabotage

Burglary or vandalism aimed at disrupting your business poses a substantial risk to on-site data. This is not restricted to your office premises, though, as it can occur wherever your employees work from—public places or at home. Deliberate sabotage could also take the form of data breaches through hacking. Customers’ data could be at risk here, leading to reputational damage in the event of a severe breach.

Critical Utility Outages 

Power, water, communication, and internet outages can cause significant disruptions. Some could result from human error, deliberate action, or inadequate planning. Regional power outages can be quite devastating since they can cause a total loss of essential services. This will, in turn, affect your ability to function or implement recovery strategies as most depend on the internet. 

Political Change or Unrest

Political change or unrest can cause major disruptions to businesses. For instance, political change in the UK due to Brexit means that businesses need to plan how to deal with the repercussions of the UK leaving the EU.

Supply Chain Disruption

Many organizations that rely on digital applications for critical business processes lack viable backup solutions, while others rely on a single vendor or supplier. As a result, disruptions can cause severe adverse impacts on effective business processing, leading to costly losses.  

Lack of Key Skills

Having improperly trained personnel means that you lack specialized people to perform critical tasks during an emergency. If the people assigned to carry out specific duties are also not trained sufficiently, this can only worsen the situation.  

Features of a Business Continuity Plan

Merely having a business continuity plan is not enough. An effective plan must restore regular operations as soon as possible. Every minute lost to downtime translates to revenue loss, unhappy customers who might shift to the competition, negative brand impact, and lost productivity, among others. 

There are several critical components without which a BCP might fail to achieve a successful recovery after an unplanned disruption. So, what elements should characterize an ideal business continuity plan? 

They include:

  • Purpose and scope
  • Impact analysis
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Data and applications
  • Organization
  • Policy information
  • Glossary of terms
  • Schedule for plan reviews 
  • Contact information
  • Service level agreements
  • Identification of critical functions

Let’s unpack some key features next: 

Purpose and Scope

Defining the purpose and scope of your plan is the first step in creating a BCP plan. Large organizations consist of several subsidiaries, and each might have different needs. You can choose to have a BCP covering each location or create one that focuses on a specific portion of the business.

Impact Analysis, Risk Assessment, and Mitigation 

These processes involve identifying, appreciating, and assessing the risks that might affect your organization’s operations, such as natural disasters, cyber threats, and outages. They also identify how to cushion yourself against the likely after-effects such as financial loss, property damage, business interruption, or penalties.

Raising staff awareness about your BCP is important in helping them to appreciate their role in responding to disasters. Regular training sessions are therefore necessary, while staff inductions should include lessons on business continuity. The training can enhance overall company resilience.

Once your BCP is complete, you need to test it regularly. Routine testing helps you ascertain whether the plan adequately suits your needs, identify loopholes, improve processes, anticipate changes, and carry out necessary updates. It entails tabletop testing, walkthroughs, emergency enactments, and practice crisis communication, allowing you to see how personnel react in stressful conditions.

Contact Information 

This is the contact details of all stakeholders, key personnel and backup, service providers, emergency responders, backup site operators, and facility managers. 

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

You need to include SLAs in your BCP. This is because some applications or processes might have a low tolerance for data loss. Examples include:

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Outlines the amount of data your business can afford to lose in a downtime.
  • Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption (MTPD): The point where your organization’s viability will be placed at risk if crucial activities cannot resume.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): The desired timeline for resuming a crucial activity after a disruption.

Identification of Critical Functions

This process helps to reveal the systems and processes that are crucial in maintaining and keeping the business afloat during an unexpected disruption. They are also the kind of processes that would deliver the most harm to the business overall in terms of revenue loss, dented reputation, or the company’s ability to operate.

Therefore, you might want first to establish your company’s primary priorities and focus your recovery efforts there. These may include information security, core functions, data protection, and access management.

Effective Business Continuity Tools

As we have seen, businesses contend with a wide array of threats that can bring their operations to a halt at a moment’s notice. Consequently, companies need to prepare for any eventuality by acquiring effective business continuity tools that can lessen disruption, enabling them to sustain operations despite the interruption. 

That said, it’s essential to get proper tools, as this facilitates efficient execution of your plan and allows for a swift and organized response in a crisis. Proper tools also ensure you keep communicating and operating without interruptions or losing vital data. In other words, business continuity tools are complementary software for your BCP. 

To help you identify the best tools for your business, here’s a list of essential business continuity tools to implement alongside your BCP:

  • Communication software
  • BCP creation tools
  • Tools to help with documentation 
  • Backup tools
  • Software for internal auditing
  • Disaster recovery tools
  • Physical tools
  • Other tools

Here’s a breakdown of the business continuity tools:

Communication Software

Effective communication is vital in maintaining operational stability. As such, you need to perform regular tests on your company’s crisis communication systems to determine whether there are any issues. 

Streamline your communication by using tools that facilitate internal and external communication. You need secure and direct messaging to personnel, recovery teams, shareholders, and suppliers to promote trust and maintain control of assets. Ideal tools here include Convene App and Flock .

Mass communication tools like Crises Control or InformaCast are also suitable for emergencies. They are excellent for alerting all concerned parties about an emergency speedily and efficiently.

Business Continuity Plan Creation Tools

There are tools designed specifically to build data-based BCPs. Such one-stop-shop preparatory solutions help you develop comprehensive plans that streamline the process of company data collection and evaluation. 

The tools assist in analyzing data, identifying risks, testing, and administrative activities, making it easier for you to manage your business continuity program. Examples include Orbit4BC and ResilienceONE .

Tools to Help With Documentation 

You can create your BCP on word processing software like Microsoft Word. Swift and secure access to the BCP in an emergency is a major consideration and Dropbox or Google Docs are cloud-based solutions that can help make this possible. 

However, a better solution is to go for a robust tool that allows you to build an easy-to-read document that’s customizable to your company’s needs. An excellent tool here is SweetProcess .

Backup Tools

Backup solutions allow data storage in off-site locations, facilitating business continuity. They provide data protection, replication, access, recovery, migration, automatic backups, and information management. 

They also enable virtual storage, optimize efficiency across networks and allow for the continuous availability of key data, ensuring business continuity. Good examples include Altaro VM Backup and Unitrends .

Software for Internal Auditing

One way to make your business continuity planning effective is to evaluate your assets thoroughly. This helps to uncover any vulnerabilities, pain points, and irregularities in the infrastructure.

The goal of carrying out an internal audit of your BCP is to assess its scope. The audit also evaluates how outlined procedures can safeguard the company in a crisis. You can perform the internal audit manually by evaluating the processes and confirming their relevance. However, for a more comprehensive audit, opt for specialist BCP auditing applications like Onspring and Open-AudIT .

Disaster Recovery Tools

Safeguarding IT assets during a disaster is fundamental to any viable business continuity program. This might entail data recovery, data backup, infrastructure reinstallation, or creating a cloud environment that simulates corporate assets to provide essential services. 

Disaster recovery tools focus on mitigating interruptions on IT infrastructure. They help restore crucial systems quickly, enabling your company to resume core operations while minimizing losses. Recommended tools include Azure Site Recovery and Ekco Protect .

Physical Tools

These too can alleviate the effects of certain disasters, thus promoting business continuity. Fire suppression tools like extinguishers and fire exits help safeguard computer equipment and data from fire while backup power sources support companies through power outages.

Other Tools  

These include:

  • Cold site : a basic structure where staff can work after a disaster.
  • Hot site : a secondary business location that always maintains up-to-date data copies.
  • Point-in-time copies : These make copies of the complete database regularly.
  • Instant recovery copies : These take snapshots of whole virtual machines, enabling data restoration from the backups.
  • Virtualization : This is a method of backing up a viable replica of a company’s total computing environment.

Business continuity tools are meant to make your business continuity program more efficient. Put simply, they are not a fix for a poorly-designed BCP. When selecting your tool, always start by identifying your need, i.e., documentation or data recovery, then look for the tool that best addresses it.

How to Create a Business Continuity Plan That Works

Creating an effective BCP is no walk in the park. It needs to be a well-thought-out document given its critical role in running a resilient business. Here are the steps you need to take: 

Determine Your Approach 

Decide how your company plans to manage its response to disruptions, the plan’s coverage, and the type of plans to use depending on your firm’s size and complexity.

Build a Team

Create a core team tasked with preparing the BCP and training the support team. Pick key staff in IT, security, finance, and communications. Have a contact list detailing the names, titles, and contact details of the key people in the BCP. Finally, clearly outline their roles and responsibilities so everyone understands what’s expected of them in a crisis and establish proper communication channels.

Gather the Necessary Information

This involves getting all the information necessary to perform the next step—risk analysis. Use your team here to get as much information as possible.

Do a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

Business impact analysis helps you pinpoint threats to your operations, staff, financial well-being, and reputation. It allows you to determine and prioritize processes bearing the highest impact on the company’s finances and operations. Determine what activities need immediate resumption, the timelines, performance level, and resources needed. 

Conduct a Gap Analysis to Identify the Resources Needed

Your BIA might have uncovered the variance between the resources at hand and what is required for recovery. Conducting a gap analysis establishes the gap between current resources and recovery requirements, recovery options, and the strategies agreed upon. After the analysis, you can investigate and execute recovery strategies.

Point Out Your Brand’s Critical Functions

Your company’s critical functions help to maintain essential services during a crisis. You want to prioritize them by starting your recovery efforts here. They might include data protection, access management, order fulfillment, inventory management, customer service, and e-commerce platform functionality.

Assess Risk and Consider Mitigation Strategies

Evaluate the risks that pose the highest threat to your organization and brainstorm potential mitigation strategies. Mitigation activities should aim at reducing the severity of an interruption and should address emergency response, resource management, staff communications, and public relations.

Establish a Business Continuity Process

The BIA results will inform the business continuity requirements. The continuity process covers prevention, response, and recovery strategies. It entails identifying backup suppliers, establishing safety protocols, alternate work locations, work-at-home strategies, outsourcing, and the use of manual working procedures.

Create the Plan Structure

Start by collecting all the information required to respond to an interruption, then write down step-by-step procedures. These are the tasks and processes that staff must perform to keep your business in operation. Create a simple plan outlining the minimum resources necessary for business continuance, potential relocation sites, and the staff and resources required to achieve this.

Implement and Train

Once your plan is ready, implement it. Conduct training for the planning team to familiarize themselves with their roles and obligations and for the rest of the staff to learn what to do in an emergency.

Test and Optimize Frequently

Testing your BCP is essential as it enables you to validate it as well as identify gaps. Continuous improvement happens when you establish your findings via a live exercise then act upon them. Conduct annual tests and exercises or after a significant change to ensure relevant, complete, and accurate procedures.

Common Challenges Faced When Creating and Implementing Business Continuity Plans

A BCP is an invaluable document in protecting your company and minimizing disruptions. Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to develop one due to the many challenges encountered. One way to overcome the obstacles is to appreciate their existence, then formulate strategies to resolve them. Here is a list of the most common challenges.

The process can be highly complex

Creating a BCP can seem overwhelming, especially in a large organization with complex systems and processes. As the business owner, you need to create individual plans for subsidiaries in different locations or a plan that addresses the entire organization. Planners also need to be familiar with basic business continuity planning concepts.

Planning and implementation can be expensive

This is because you need to avail resources that are necessary but not currently available, or hire a consultant to assist. Implementation also entails buying business continuity solutions and templates , which tend to be pricey.

Poor staff involvement may slow down the process

All staff need to have a fair understanding of the BCP. To ensure their commitment, involve them in the planning process and provide training. This will inform them what they need to do in a crisis.

Lack of executive support can be a critical issue

If management is not keen to invest in a BCP, you might not get the resources you need to craft a concrete plan. To get their buy-in, tell them the benefits of having one and the potential damage that lack of a BCP can cause. You can use real case studies.

Insufficient technology can make the plan ineffective

A BCP relates, to a large extent, to technical issues like technology failure, data loss, and communication breakdown. Resolving these challenges requires specific tools and the budget to acquire the same. Try to get comprehensive tools that cover more than one function or process to maximize your technology.

Not routinely testing, even after top-notch planning, can reduce impact

Routine testing using different scenarios helps you determine your BCP’s viability, identify inherent weaknesses and areas for improvement.

Lack of constant training reduces the long-term effect

Constant training is necessary as the BCP keeps changing with new updates or new threats arise. Besides, new employees need to be put on board with the program.  

Reliance on outdated templates can hinder the ability to mitigate new threats

Templates make creating a BCP easier, but they must add value and be customizable to the organization. Otherwise, the plan will be riddled with irrelevant material; hence, it might be hard to read and not actionable. Any tool used should not dictate what’s to be included in the program. Rather, it should complement the BCP.

A plan that’s too generic may not work for your business

This happens when planners fail to incorporate existing strategies well or are unaware of them. Every business is unique, so create a plan that suits your company’s specific circumstances in terms of the business environment, potential threats, and critical business operations.

Lack of focus can hinder the creation process

A BCP can lose focus and become ineffective if recovery requirements are poorly defined. The plan should describe the recovery process clearly, the people involved, recovery performance levels, and how to operate during recovery.

Creating a plan for the wrong audience may decrease efficiency

Assigning the task of documenting the BCP or delegating business continuity activities to unqualified people is the root of this challenge. The core planning team should have experienced team leaders, key staff in each department, and subject matter experts to guide the process.

Smoothen Your Business Continuity Planning and Implementation With SweetProcess

Are you wondering how you can smoothen your business continuity planning and implementation? Look no further. SweetProcess is an invaluable tool that can take the headache out of developing and implementing your BCP. Read the below case studies to get an idea of what SweetProccess can do.

How Streamlining Business Operations Helped Create a Safer Environment Post-COVID Shutdown 

Dr. Olesya Salathe, dentist, and Alex Jacks, office manager, proprietors of The Dentist Off Main , had a passion for providing excellent dental services to their patients but encountered one problem. With COVID-19, the duo needed to ensure the clinic offered maximum safety . They desired to streamline their business operations, but using Word documents wasn’t helpful. 

Thankfully, they discovered SweetProcess, which enabled them to operate safely post COVID restrictions and boosted their staff’s efficiency. It helped create effective documentation for patient care, eased employee training and onboarding, and created an accessible knowledge base.

Dr. Olesya’s recommendation? Find key team members on your team. “You can’t do it alone. You can start identifying the most problems and start with that process first.”

Texas DFPS Streamlines Its Operations to Process 40,000+ Requests Annually

Justin Compton, manager II, and Heather MacLean, management analyst II, from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services , process 40,000+ record requests annually. 

The sheer volumes demand accurate documentation, but after trying different basic workflow software, it was clear their work required a more effective system like SweetProcess. This system eliminated complexity, streamlined operations, and simplified workflow, making the agency more efficient. Heather confesses:;

“I really like SweetProcess because it lets you build a process machine. It lets you plug everything in so that it’s all cohesive and yet independent.”

The key challenge was the information was kept in different places, making access difficult and complex. Also, updating the manuals was cumbersome and took too long, a major setback for an agency required to make quick decisions on custody or childcare. SweetProcess sorted all that. It also made employee training easier and created a remotely accessible knowledge base with controlled access.

Atlantic Sapphire Transfers Operational Knowledge Between Facilities by Documenting Business Processes

Stanley Kolosovskiy’s job as technology process coordinator was to ensure that Atlantic Sapphire’s business operations were optimized. But despite his IT background, he struggled to use the existing software to create an effective workflow system for his colleagues and boost their performance.

The Denmark-based salmon-farming company was opposed to environmental pollution resulting from air freighting salmon in non-sustainable packaging, preferring to distribute them by road transportation instead. 

However, producing salmon locally and sustainably meant strict adherence to operational procedures. The employees needed standard operating procedures to guide them in performing tasks. Stanley sourced a better alternative and found SweetProcess, a more intuitive, easy-to-use software that fostered an eco-friendly environment, expediting their move to the United States.

SweetProcess streamlined process documentation, made employee onboarding straightforward, and decentralized the company’s knowledge base. Stanley was pleased. 

“I just want to implement more SweetProcess everywhere because this means everybody knows what’s going on. Everybody has the right training…incorporating data collection…and being able to get more reports out of the data that’s collected.”

You too can streamline your procedures, making it easier to resume normal operations after an interruption. Sign up for the SweetProcess free trial and experience how it works. No credit card required! 

Conclusion: Create the Shield Your Business Needs to Survive for Generations 

Today’s businesses boast digitally interconnected networks that demand uninterrupted connectivity to run operations. This means that whenever connectivity gets disrupted, business halts. This state of affairs is both expensive and unsustainable. It can also cost you your business since availability, reliability, and strong security are all key in running a successful business.

Fortunately, SweetProcess can help keep your business open during and after a crisis by ensuring all critical processes keep running. Join the free trial (no credit card required) and see the impact SweetProcess can make. Don’t leave without downloading the free Business Continuity Planning and Implementation Checklist below!

Get The Checklist For Business Continuity Planning And Implementation for FREE!

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10 best business continuity software solutions

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  • Agility RecoveryPlanner: Agility
  • Archer Business Resiliency: Archer
  • Castellan Business Continuity Management: Castellan
  • CL360 Business Continuity: CL360
  • Fusion Framework System: Fusion
  • ParaSolution Business Continuity Platform: ParaSolution
  • SAI360 Business Continuity Management: SAI360
  • LogicManager Business Continuity Management: LogicManager
  • Quantivate Business Continuity Management: Quantivate

Business continuity software vendors

What are business continuity management program solutions, how does bcm software work, business continuity software: pros and cons.

Many software providers offer BCM solutions that assist organizations in planning for and responding to disasters. The following BCM platforms are among the leading products within the category.

Agility RecoveryPlanner

The Agility RecoveryPlanner software suite provides a complete business continuity management planning package to assist organizations in maintaining compliance with BCM standards and requirements.

The scalable and customizable software assists firms of all sizes active within all industries with performing business impact analyses and risk assessments, creating and managing continuity plans and fulfilling compliance reporting requirements, among other functions.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Database engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

To assist firms in planning, Agility provides the BIA checklist as shown in Figure A to prospective customers on its website .

best business continuity plans

RecoveryPlanner is appropriate even for organizations that have already implemented business continuity plans. Because the Agility software simplifies data collection — including by encouraging collaboration across departments — and prioritizes operations processes, firms will find it easier to maintain and update plans, manage essential vendors and more efficiently manage crises.

Multiple pricing packages are available, and a work-from-home option can be added to each. The Basic Notifications Package includes the company’s Preparis Agility Alerts and its Business Continuity Training Center, Tabletop Testing Templates, Document Storage, Self-Contained Mobile Command Center and Ship-to-Home Laptops, while the Enhanced Planning Package adds a 10-user license for the Agility Planner and the Annual Business Continuity Plan Review component. A Premier Resilience Package, which adds Expert Consulting Services and an Annual Facilitated Tabletop Testing component, is also available.

Contact the company’s sales team for pricing information, which varies based on numerous factors, including which packages a customer selects. For more information on Agility, complete the company’s Contact Us page or call Agility at 1-866-364-9696.

Archer Business Resiliency

Archer Business Resiliency offers organizations a BCM solution that aligns operations continuity planning, IT disaster recovery, crisis management and incident recovery services with an organization’s overarching business goals. The vendor’s emphasis on automation assists customers in rapidly responding to disruptions and assists coordinating recovery efforts when crises occur.

In keeping with ISO 22301 business continuity standards, Archer Business Resiliency aligns operational continuity planning and recovery efforts with internationally accepted requirements and seeks to grade and surface risks before incidents occur, as shown in Figure B. The company’s approach also supports the flexibility necessary for adapting to businesses’ changing needs and requirements as circumstances evolve and change.

best business continuity plans

Archer pricing is dependent upon several factors, including the specific package components selected, the type of technical support selected and the number of users within the organization. For more information on Archer, complete its Contact Us page .

Castellan Business Continuity Management

Designed for integration within everyday operations and emphasizing automation, Castellan Solutions’ Castellan Business Continuity Management combines program governance and automation features with system integration and cloud-based services to deliver robust and reliable BCM functionality. Castellan’s solution also includes such security-conscious features as support for single sign-on, multi-factor authentication and data security standards.

As should be expected from a BCM solution, Castellan provides business impact and risk management assessment assistance (Figure C), planning and strategy guidance and testing expertise. Reporting and dashboard functionality is customizable and seeks to identify gaps where identification and correction will better prepare customers for crises. Mobile incident support, emergency notifications and communication and crises dashboards are other features designed to assist command and control operations when incidents occur.

best business continuity plans

As is typical for BCM software solutions, pricing is dependent upon components selected and the number of users within a customer’s organization. For more information on Castellan, complete the organization’s Contact page or call the company at 1-800-478-7645.

CL360 Business Continuity

CLDigital’s CL360 Business Continuity Management provides forms, templates, workflows and a comprehensive application that assists organizations in collecting essential operations continuity information from users, processes, systems, applications and vendors, among other sources.

The CL360 software subsequently analyzes that information to help generate visual dependency maps, surface risks, and identify gaps in planning and coverage. Recognizing the complexity of business impact analyses and risk assessments, CL360 Business Continuity software provides customers support features — including field insights and wizards — that assist teams in efficiently completing BCM tasks.

Understanding business continuity requirements change over time, CL360 is a no-code platform that permits customization and updating via simple drag-and-drop operations and pre-prepared tools. Subsequently, maintaining currency is easier and takes less time as new vendors and technologies are added or old suppliers and platforms are terminated.

For CLDigital CL360 pricing or more information on the CLDigital CL360 Business Continuity software solution, call the company at 1-866-321-5079 or complete its Contact form .

Fusion Framework System

Featuring integration compatibility with such popular platforms as Salesforce and ServiceNow, Fusion Risk Management’s Fusion Framework System includes prebuilt connectors and two-way communications with multiple third-party applications to better permit emergency notification and response for critical workflows. Fusion’s Community Connector simplifies connecting customers, partners and employees to better manage operation disruption risks.

Like other BCM solutions, Fusion guides businesses through continuity planning, organization preparedness reviews, risk and impact assessments, tolerance configuration, and prioritization and dependency mapping. The offering also provides context mapping features, which better assist businesses in understanding how they fulfill essential workflows and processes.

For Fusion pricing or more information, call the company at 1-847-632-1002 or complete its Contact form .


Formerly marketed as Lockpath, following its acquisition by NAVEX, the BCM solution is now integrated within the NAVEX One Platform’s Integrated Risk Management solution. With components for surfacing and resolving third-party risks, building an automated risk assessment system and monitoring compliance requirements, the NAVEX One platform approaches BCM challenges from a broad integrated risk management perspective.

NAVEX encourages customers to begin the process by reviewing its core IRM questionnaire online , which explores an organization’s business continuity planning status and preparedness to work with a third-party risk manager. With APIs designed for organizations to select and apply as needed, NAVEX One strives to be an easily administered proactive platform that enhances continuity and risk visibility while also freeing technical employees’ time and reducing corresponding daily operational management expenses.

Pricing is dependent upon multiple factors, including which products a customer selects. Product examples from which customers can select include integrated compliance management, hotline service and incident management, policy and procedure management and third-party risk management. For more information on NAVEX One, call the company at 1-866-297-0224 or complete its Contact Us page .

ParaSolution Business Continuity Platform

Another comprehensive solution that incorporates traditional BCM components as well as an optional ISO 22301 Certification compliance module, among other features, Premier Continuum’s ParaSolution Business Continuity Program offers business continuity, crisis, supplier and IT disaster recovery management features. Whether requiring risk and business impact assessments, crisis planning or guidance structuring emergency recovery processes, ParaSolution is designed to adapt to an organization’s specific needs.

During a crisis, ParaSolution’s mobile app assists an organization’s stakeholders in obtaining the most current emergency information. The tool also offers prebuilt forms and workflows to address dependencies and assist recovery when incidents occur.

Free trials are available, and as is consistent with BCM platforms, pricing varies based on multiple factors including adopted features and user base. For more information on Premier Continuum ParaSolution, call the company at 1-877-761-6222 or complete its Contact page .

SAI360 Business Continuity Management

Noting the variety of threats to a business’ operation include cyber attacks, natural disasters and breaches introduced by third-party vendors, the SAI360 Business Continuity Management platform assists establishing accurate risk assessment and mitigation frameworks with tools that automate BCM processes to improve efficiencies and aid automated incident response. With global scalability and support for multiple languages, SAI360 provides an intuitive software solution that also supports regular recovery testing, dashboard generation and even comprehensive worksite training.

The product offers forms and reporting, as well as authorization processes, that match a business’ existing workflows. Combined with proprietary algorithms and customized reports, SAI360 can speed response actions and minimize disruption when catastrophes do occur, including using its mobile platform as shown in Figure D.

best business continuity plans

For more information on SAI360, complete the company’s Contact Us page or call SAI360 at 1-312-546-4500.

LogicManager Business Continuity Management

LogicManager’s Business Continuity Management is a taxonomy-driven solution, as demonstrated in Figure E, that seeks to track essential internal operations that must be recovered should a disaster occur, as well as other dependencies integral to maintaining business continuity, including with vendors and suppliers.

best business continuity plans

Multiple LogicManager modules are collected within its Business Continuity Management Software Solutions platform, including the company’s Business Impact Analysis tools, Business Continuity Planning development software, disaster scenario planning exercises, and testing software and incident response tools.

The company’s BCM platform offers a wealth of traditional risk management, gap analysis, business continuity planning and disaster recovery features that are carefully integrated to simplify access to essential disaster recovery information. It also assists in performing continual reviews as well as completing corresponding dependence-determination, workflow and recovery process updates. The platform’s disaster recovery process supports identifying and capturing adjustments and enhancements while performing a recovery to to recover efforts.

In keeping with its taxonomic approach, LogicManager associates business-impacting risks and controls directly with business continuity and disaster recovery plans to help firms better understand the relationship between such essential elements.

The software aids in demonstrating BCP compliance with auditors and regulators, too. Such functionality also assists general reporting for corporate governance purposes.

Designed to align BCM planning with the organization’s specific needs, LogicManager also integrates with common human resources information systems to automate updating crisis management call trees. Staff need not continue manually updating key stakeholder names, addresses and contact information as a result. Subsequently, the solution assists in reducing the investment needed to build and maintain proper business continuity plans and recovery processes and helps ensure accuracy and efficient responses when crises arise.

LogicManager offers customers flexible pricing to help meet individual company’s unique risk management and business continuity needs. Complete the company’s pricing request page for or call LogicManager at 1-617-530-1210 for more information.

Quantivate Business Continuity Management

Featuring the range of typical BCM features organizations would expect from a comprehensive solution, Quantivate Business Continuity software includes risk assessment, risk scoring, business impact analysis, scenario-replicating exercises, real-time updates, vulnerability analysis and a mobile application to assist recovery when a disruption occurs. The vendor’s package also includes helpful scoping and operational tools, including a business process library, business continuity templates, a disaster plan editor and centralized storage for business continuity plans, disaster recovery documents and other corresponding BCM materials.

Quantivate also offers optional consulting services. Organizations needing assistance can contract the worldwide provider of governance, risk and compliance technology and services to help guide BCM efforts.

For example, Quantivate’s consultants can assist customers in scheduling and conducting personnel interviews when developing business continuity plans, designing disaster recovery workflows and crafting crisis management processes. The company’s business continuity experts can also perform full business impact analyses, host threat and vulnerability assessment meetings, document critical recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, perform gap analyses within existing BCM and recovery strategies, and inform and educate stakeholders and participants as to their roles and responsibilities.

Whether seeking to improve simple spreadsheet and document-based business continuity planning, better identify and resolve recovery gaps, formalize BCM and disaster recovery processes or modernize corresponding BCM planning, workflows and communication, Quantitative Business Continuity Software is well positioned to assist organizations of all sizes working in most every industry. As noted earlier, customers can outsource BCM planning responsibilities to Quantitative, which employs its own software with proprietary processes to fulfill those tasks.

For more information on Quantivate or to obtain pricing information, complete the company’s Request a Demo page , call 1-800-969-4107 or email [email protected].

BCM solutions help with the advanced planning and preparation organizations undertake to minimize business disruptions due to disasters and enable rapid recovery when a catastrophe occurs.

BCM includes not only the software and hardware components employed to maintain and recover business operations but also the risk and crisis management strategies, contingency planning, business recovery policies, and procedures implemented and continually updated as part of an overall comprehensive operations continuity effort.

BCM software assists organizations by providing a complete framework by which they can review, prepare for and minimize any outages or downtime resulting from crises whether disasters occur due to human error, purposeful malicious activities or natural disasters.

BCM solutions typically help organizations navigate a complete range of essential business continuity elements, including: Performing operations impact assessments; surfacing and tracking risks; developing, monitoring and testing contingency plans; drafting and maintaining business continuity plans and procedures; generating emergency alerts; managing crisis communications; and guiding recovery actions when disasters occur.

BCM solutions assist organizations in identifying operations and preparedness needs, spotting operational coverage gaps, establishing contingency processes, and effectively responding to disasters to minimize if not eliminate downtime and outages.

There are no downsides to using BCM software, as it lays the groundwork for addressing all the corresponding requirements and processes, while also providing visual maps to assist with planning and mobile applications to speed recovery when incidents occur.

Stay aware of the right software with these recent articles on the eight best enterprise accounting software suites and a guide to the best data intelligence software .

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Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)

Business continuity planning.

Business continuity planning enables you to create an easy-to-use, actionable business continuity planning solution to prepare for the impact of a broad range of threats including natural disasters, disease outbreaks, accidents and terrorism. In addition business continuity planning can help when you face technology-related hazards like the failure of systems, equipment or software. MEP Centers can assist you in developing a plan unique to your needs.

If your company needs to create or tweak a business continuity plan, I highly suggest reaching out to Purdue MEP!

—Doug Ellington, Director of Finance, Estes Design and Manufacturing Read the Success Story

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Business Continuity Plans: Lessons Learned From Puerto Rico

For more information or assistance with business continuity planning, please contact your local MEP Center .

If you would like someone to contact you about business continuity planning , please complete the form below.

For General Information

  • MEP Headquarters [email protected] (301) 975-5020 100 Bureau Drive, M/S 4800 Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800

Best Practice Guide: Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

January 2022

best business continuity plans

We are living in difficult, unpredictable times, and for businesses, that means continuity measures are more vital than ever.

But how can organisations feasibly prepare for the unexpected? And what exactly does continuity planning involve?

Here, we’re taking an in-depth look at business continuity planning (BCP), highlighting what it is, why it’s important, and how to get it right. Use the links below to navigate or read on for the full guide.

Quick Links  

What is business continuity planning?

Why is business continuity planning important, what to include in a business continuity plan, how much will your continuity plan cost.

Business continuity planning (BCP) is a way to map out how your business will respond to major challenges, disruptions, and disasters. A BCP document should set out the action needed to mitigate risk and maintain business activity, even in worst-case scenarios when your operation is facing risk of collapse.

Not only is BCP essential for avoiding business capitulation, but it should also outline a roadmap to recovery. For this reason, it needs to be comprehensive and all-encompassing, detailing how every area of the business will be managed and controlled in the wake of a major incident.

BCP is designed to provide actionable contingency measures in the event of a broad range of serious disruptions which threaten operational continuity. Generally, when developing a BCP document, you need to think about three key areas, including:

  • Disaster recovery – the action needed to respond to a direct disaster, with steps outlining how you recover operational control and avoid major data and financial loss.
  • Operational continuity – the measures required to keep your operations ticking over, even in periods of severe disruption and uncertainty. Consider a plan B to guarantee operational integrity, with backups in place to keep the business moving forward.
  • Availability – this mainly concerns IT outage and recovery, particularly as it pertains to local network failures that could render your services inoperable. What technology and equipment do you need to keep processes going, and how will you ensure that IT personnel have access to the right hardware and software provision.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the things you’ll need to cover in your BCP document, but it can help steer your planning in the right direction. The measures you’ll need to consider and implement vary based on your unique operational position, so be sure to involve key personnel in the planning to ensure you have all bases covered.

Business continuity planning has, arguably, never been as vital. With all UK businesses facing major disruption and uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19, Brexit and energy shortages, continuity planning should be high on your list of priorities – irrespective of your business and sector.

But just why is BCP so important? And what does it safeguard against?

Below, we outline the importance of firming up contingency plans for your operations, and list some of the incidents it can help shield your business against.

  • BCP is essential for commercial survival. It effectively safeguards your business against a range of threats, including: Cyberattack, Epidemic illnesses, Natural disasters, Wars and social upheaval, Energy cuts, shortages, and leaks, Theft and associated criminal acts, Industry-wide disruption
  • Allows you to budget and plan ahead to cover the costs of keeping your business going in periods of disruption – something shareholders will want to see
  • Makes it feasible to run your business while dealing with major incidents, setting out an action plan to maintain continuity in the event of any eventuality
  • Essential for emergency situations, detailing how your business will deal with disasters and serious incidents, and who is accountable for this
  • Enables the business to continue trading as quickly as possible after an incident, picking up where you left off to maintain your commercial advantage
  • Covers you in the eyes of insurers; some policies may even require an evidence-based continuity plan to show that you are wholly committed to safeguarding your operations against emergencies, disasters, and outside threats

So, we’ve set out why you need a continuity plan. The next thing is, what should you put in it?

Below, we list the essential factors to cover in your BCP document. Naturally, your requirements may differ depending on your industry area, so carefully consider your individual business needs as a priority.

  • A list of major business threats – this is a great starting point from which to base your BCP. Map out a list of current threats so you know what to prioritise and focus on in the future. These can range from natural disasters to cybercrime, so be as comprehensive as you can.
  • Impact statement – for every recognised threat, write an impact statement detailing how each risk could affect your operations. Potential impacts can include things like loss of income, delayed order fulfilment, fines, and penalties, or even loss of life or damage to physical infrastructure.
  • Resources and monetary considerations – this is where you list your resources and monetary options, which will help support the business in the event of disaster or disruption. An important part of budgeting, it also helps to clarify potential staffing issues, so you can ensure the business is adequately resourced in all situations.
  • Equipment and technology – what equipment and technology could your business feasibly run on in an emergency situation? And what software is essential to the continuation of key processes and workflows? Talk to your IT team and relevant parties to pin down exactly what would be required in an emergency.
  • Stock and inventory management – what would become of your stock if your business faced disruption? And how might this affect your current inventory management system? Consider every eventuality to prevent wastage and over-spending.

Continuity plans don’t come for free, so you need to set aside enough money to cover the measures outlined in your BCP document. Of course, your insurance should cover you in the event of disasters and unexpected disruption, but accounting for other costs is essential to sustained, long-term continuity.

To budget for your BCP, work step by step through the plan and account for things like staffing, equipment, premises, stock, and increased marketing efforts. You also need to consider any areas in which you might make a loss, such as revenue, income, or stock wastage.

When budgeting, always go with the top end, worst-case option. That way you can mitigate against potential shortfalls, so you can be confident you have enough monetary resource in reserve.

We hope this guide helps you to develop a robust business continuity plan. For more business tips and advice, click here to read the Perivan blog in full. If you’d like to learn about our professional marketing and investor communication services, visit the homepage or contact our team today .

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Blog Business

7 Business Continuity Plan Examples

By Danesh Ramuthi , Nov 28, 2023

Business Continuity Plan Examples

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategic framework that prepares businesses to maintain or swiftly resume their critical functions in the face of disruptions, whether they stem from natural disasters, technological failures, human error, or other unforeseen events.

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses face an array of potential disruptions ranging from cyberattacks and ransomware to severe weather events and global pandemics. By having a well-crafted BCP, businesses can mitigate these risks, ensuring the safety and continuity of their critical services and operations.

Responsibility for business continuity planning typically lies with top management and dedicated planning teams within an organization. It is a cross-functional effort that involves input and coordination across various departments, ensuring that all aspects of the business are considered.

For businesses looking to develop or refine their business continuity strategies, there are numerous resources available. Tools like Venngage’s business plan maker and their business continuity plan templates offer practical assistance, streamlining the process of creating a robust and effective BCP. 

Click to jump ahead: 

7 business continuity plan examples

Business continuity types, how to write a business continuity plan, how often should a business continuity plan be reviewed, business continuity plan vs. disaster recovery plan, final thoughts.

In business, unpredictability is the only certainty. This is where business continuity plans (BCPs) come into play. These plans are not just documents; they are a testament to a company’s preparedness and commitment to sustained operations under adverse conditions. To illustrate the practicality and necessity of these plans, let’s delve into some compelling examples.

Business continuity plan example for small business

Imagine a small business specializing in digital marketing services, with a significant portion of its operations reliant on continuous internet connectivity and digital communication tools. This business, although small, caters to a global clientele, making its online presence and prompt service delivery crucial.

Business Consultant Continuity Plan Template

Scope and objective:

This Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is designed to ensure the continuity of digital marketing services and client communications in the event of an unforeseen and prolonged internet outage. Such an outage could be caused by a variety of factors, including cyberattacks, technical failures or service provider issues. The plan aims to minimize disruption to these critical services, ensuring that client projects are delivered on time and communication lines remain open and effective.

Operations at risk:

Operation: Digital Marketing Services Operation Description: A team dedicated to creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for clients across various time zones. Business Impact: High Impact Description: The team manages all client communications, campaign designs, and real-time online marketing strategies. An internet outage would halt all ongoing campaigns and client communications, leading to potential loss of business and client trust.

Recovery strategy:

The BCP should include immediate measures like switching to a backup internet service provider or using mobile data as a temporary solution. The IT team should be prepared to deploy these alternatives swiftly. Additionally, the company should have a protocol for informing clients about the situation via alternative communication channels like mobile phones.

Roles and responsibilities:

Representative: Alex Martinez Role: IT Manager Description of Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the implementation of the backup internet connectivity plan.
  • Coordinate with the digital marketing team to ensure minimal disruption in campaign management.
  • Communicate with the service provider for updates and resolution timelines.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan Template

Business continuity plan example for software company

In the landscape of software development, a well-structured Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is vital. This example illustrates a BCP for a software company, focusing on a different kind of disruption: a critical data breach.

Business Continuity Plan Template

Scope and objectives:

This BCP is designed to ensure the continuity of software development and client data security in the event of a significant data breach. Such a breach could be due to cyberattacks, internal security lapses, or third-party service vulnerabilities. The plan prioritizes the rapid response to secure data, assess the impact on software development projects and maintain client trust and communication.

Operation: Software Development and Data Security Operation Description: The software development team is responsible for creating and maintaining software products, which involves handling sensitive client data. In the realm of software development, where the creation and maintenance of products involve handling sensitive client data, prioritizing security is crucial. Strengthen your software development team’s capabilities by incorporating the best antivirus with VPN features, offering a robust defense to protect client information and maintain a secure operational environment. The integrity and security of this data are paramount.

Business Impact: Critical Impact Description: A data breach could compromise client data, leading to loss of trust, legal consequences and potential financial penalties. It could also disrupt ongoing development projects and delay product releases.

The IT security team should immediately isolate the breached systems to prevent further data loss. They should then work on identifying the breach’s source and extent. Simultaneously, the client relations team should inform affected clients about the breach and the steps being taken. The company should also engage a third-party cybersecurity firm for an independent investigation and recovery assistance.

Representative: Sarah Lopez Role: Head of IT Security Contact Details: [email protected] Description of Responsibilities:

  • Lead the initial response to the data breach, including system isolation and assessment.
  • Coordinate with external cybersecurity experts for breach analysis and mitigation.
  • Work with the legal team to understand and comply with data breach notification laws.
  • Communicate with the software development team leaders about the impact on ongoing projects.

Business Continuity Plan Templates

Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023

Business continuity plan example for manufacturing

In the manufacturing sector, disruptions can significantly impact production lines, supply chains, and customer commitments. This example of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for a manufacturing company addresses a specific scenario: a major supply chain disruption.

Business Continuity Plan Template

This BCP is formulated to ensure the continuity of manufacturing operations in the event of a significant supply chain disruption. Such disruptions could be caused by geopolitical events, natural disasters affecting key suppliers or transportation network failures. The plan focuses on maintaining production capabilities and fulfilling customer orders by managing and mitigating supply chain risks.

Operation: Production Line Operation Description: The production line is dependent on a steady supply of raw materials and components from various suppliers to manufacture products. Business Impact: High Impact Description: A disruption in the supply chain can lead to a halt in production, resulting in delayed order fulfillment, loss of revenue and potential damage to customer relationships.

The company should establish relationships with alternative suppliers to ensure a diversified supply chain. In the event of a disruption, the procurement team should be able to quickly switch to these alternative sources. Additionally, maintaining a strategic reserve of critical materials can buffer short-term disruptions. The logistics team should also develop flexible transportation plans to adapt to changing scenarios.

Representative: Michael Johnson Role: Head of Supply Chain Management Contact Details: [email protected] Description of Responsibilities:

  • Monitor global supply chain trends and identify potential risks.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with alternative suppliers.
  • Coordinate with logistics to ensure flexible transportation solutions.
  • Communicate with production managers about supply chain status and potential impacts on production schedules.

Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning

BCPs are essential for ensuring that a business can continue operating during crises. Here’s a summary of the different types of business continuity plans that are common:

  • Operational : Involves ensuring that critical systems and processes continue functioning without disruption. It’s vital to have a plan to minimize revenue loss in case of disruptions.
  • Technological : For businesses heavily reliant on technology, this type of continuity plan focuses on maintaining and securing internal systems, like having offline storage for important documents.
  • Economic continuity : This type ensures that the business remains profitable during disruptions. It involves future-proofing the organization against scenarios that could negatively impact the bottom line.
  • Workforce continuity : Focuses on maintaining adequate and appropriate staffing levels, especially during crises, ensuring that the workforce is capable of handling incoming work.
  • Safety : Beyond staffing, safety continuity involves creating a comfortable and secure work environment where employees feel supported, especially during crises.
  • Environmental : It addresses the ability of the team to operate effectively and safely in their physical work environment, considering threats to physical office spaces and planning accordingly.
  • Security : Means prioritizing the safety and security of employees and business assets, planning for potential security breaches and safeguarding important business information.
  • Reputation : Focuses on maintaining customer satisfaction and a good reputation, monitoring conversations about the brand and having action plans for reputation management.

Business Continuity Planning Templates

As I have explained so far, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is invaluable. Writing an effective BCP involves a series of strategic steps, each crucial to ensuring that your business can withstand and recover from unexpected events. Here’s a guide on how to craft a robust business continuity plan:

Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Plan Template

1. Choose your business continuity team

Assemble a dedicated team responsible for the development and implementation of the BCP. The team should include members from various departments with a deep understanding of the business operations.

2. Outline your plan objectives

Clearly articulate what the plan aims to achieve. Objectives may include minimizing financial loss, ensuring the safety of employees, maintaining critical business operations, and protecting the company’s reputation.

3. Meet with key players in your departments

Engage with department heads and key personnel to gain insights into the specific needs and processes of each department. This helps in identifying critical functions and resources.

4. Identify critical functions and types of threats

Determine which functions are vital to the business’s survival and identify potential threats that could impact these areas. 

5. Carry on risk assessments across different areas

Evaluate the likelihood and impact of identified threats on each critical function. This assessment helps in prioritizing the risks and planning accordingly.

6. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)

Perform a BIA to understand the potential consequences of disruption to critical business functions. It has to be done in determining the maximum acceptable downtime and the resources needed for business continuity.

7. Start drafting the plan

Compile the information gathered into a structured document. The plan should include emergency contact information, recovery strategies and detailed action steps for different scenarios.

8. Test the plan for any gaps

Conduct simulations or tabletop exercises to test the plan’s effectiveness. This testing can reveal unforeseen gaps or weaknesses in the plan.

9. Review & revise your plan

Use the insights gained from testing to refine and update the plan. Continual revision ensures the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of changing business conditions and emerging threats.

Read Also: How to Write a Business Plan Outline [Examples + Templates]

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should ideally be reviewed and updated at least annually. 

The annual review ensures that the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of new challenges and changes within the business, such as shifts in business strategy, introduction of new technology or changes in operational processes. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to reassess the BCP following any significant business changes, such as mergers, acquisitions or entry into new markets, as well as after the occurrence of any major incident that tested the plan’s effectiveness. 

However, in rapidly changing industries or in businesses that face a high degree of uncertainty or frequent changes, more frequent reviews – such as bi-annually or quarterly – may be necessary. 

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are two crucial components of organizational preparedness, yet they serve different functions. The BCP is aimed at preventing interruptions to business operations and maintaining regular activities. 

It focuses on aspects such as the location of operations during a crisis (like a temporary office or remote work), how staff will communicate and which functions are prioritized. In essence, a BCP details how a business can continue operating during and after a disruption​​​​.

On the other hand, a DRP is more specific to restoring data access and IT infrastructure after a disaster. It describes the steps that employees must follow during and after a disaster to ensure minimal function necessary for the organization to continue. 

Essentially, while a BCP is about maintaining operations, a DRP is about restoring critical functions, particularly IT-related, after a disruption has occurred​

It’s clear that having a robust and adaptable business continuity plan (BCP) is not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental necessity for businesses of all sizes and sectors. 

From small businesses to large corporations, the principles of effective business continuity planning remain consistent: identify potential threats, assess the impact on critical functions, and develop a comprehensive strategy to maintain operations during and after a disruption.

The process of writing a BCP, as detailed in this article, underscores the importance of a thorough and thoughtful approach. It’s about more than just drafting a document; it’s about creating a living framework that evolves with your business and the changing landscape of risks.

To assist in this crucial task, you can use Venngage’s business plan maker & their business continuity plan templates . These tools streamline the process of creating a BCP, ensuring that it is not only comprehensive but also clear, accessible and easy to implement. 

best business continuity plans

The Top 13 Best Business Continuity Books You Need to Read in 2020


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The Top 13 Best Business Continuity Books You Need to Read in 2020

Sometimes, in order to advance technologically, it’s helpful to look at an old-school approach. Business continuity is essential for your organization, but you should first ensure what plan is right for you and your team. While there are many free resources available online, (such as Solutions Review’s best practices articles,   solutions directories,   and  buyer’s guides ), doing things the old-fashioned way can be beneficial. Solutions Review has taken the liberty of doing the research for you, having reviewed a multitude of books. We’ve carefully selected the best business continuity books based on relevance, popularity, review ratings, publish date, and ability to add business value. Here they are in no particular order.

The Best Business Continuity Books

Business continuity and risk management: essentials of organizational resilience, our take: authors kurt j. engemann and douglas m. henderson both have years of experience teaching and consulting in the business continuity and risk space. their textbook is designed to be easy for students to understand and for instructors to present..

Business Continuity and Risk Management: Essentials of Organizational Resilience

Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach

Our take:  this book, written by david lindstedt and mark armour and edited by kristen noakes-fry, provides readers with a realistic methodology to significantly change and improve their business continuity practices. .

Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach

Business Continuity from Preparedness to Recovery: A Standards-Based Approach

Our take:  with this title, eugene tucker uses his 30 years of experience developing business continuity plans to show readers how to avoid common pitfalls and implement successful continuity strategies..

Business Continuity from Preparedness to Recovery: A Standards-Based Approach

The Disaster Recovery Handbook: A Step-By-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets

Our take:  this book by michael wallace and lawrence webber shows readers how to proactively assess risk, develop and document disaster recovery plans, test those plans, and safeguard business-critical data..

The Disaster Recovery Handbook: A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets

Business Continuity Management System: A Complete Guide to Implementing ISO 22301

Our take:  wei ning zechariah wong and jianping shi bring years of experience to this book. wong has written for several journals, including  continuity journal  and  disaster recovery journal,  and shi is the chief executive of instramax, a business continuity service provider..

Business Continuity Management System: A Complete Guide to Implementing ISO 22301

The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected

Our take:  this book from yossi sheffi places an emphasis on corporate responsibility, cybersecurity, long-term disruptions, emergency operations centers, detection, and systemic disruptions. sheffi has also written  the resilient enterprise..

The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected

Mastering Business Continuity Management

Our take:  this title by dr. michael c. redmond ph.d. is targeted at both enterprises and students in business management, disaster recovery, information security, compliance, it, and project management looking to combat today’s ever-increasing disasters..

Mastering Business Continuity Management

Crisis Management: How to Develop a Powerful Program

Our take: author regina phelps has been working in the crisis management field since 1982, working with executive teams and tactical crisis management teams. she has also written cyber breach: what happens when your defenses fail.

Crisis Management: How to develop a powerful program

The Business Continuity Management Desk Reference

Our take:  jamie watters’ book is a reference text directed at experienced professionals and people new to business continuity alike. watters explains the key concepts simply, while also delving deeper, outlining how to complete a business impact assessment..

The Business Continuity Management Desk Reference by [Jamie Watters]

Business Continuity Planning A Complete Guide — 2020 Edition

Our take:  this book from gerardus blokdyk offers multiple self-assessments, as well as in-depth business continuity planning checklists and templates to simplify implementation..

Business Continuity Planning A Complete Guide - 2020 Edition by [Gerardus Blokdyk]

Cyber Resilience

Our take:  this title by sergei petrenko explores modern cybersecurity systems, particularly their shortcomings regarding cyber resilience in the face of cyber-attacks. petrenko also discusses how cyber resilience can be improved in the future..

Cyber Resilience (River Publishers Series in Security and Digital Forensics)

Business Continuity Management Plain & Simple: How to Write a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

Our take: in this book, erik kopp argues that business continuity planning does not need to be an extremely complicated concept, regardless of if you a running a large enterprise or a small business..

Business Continuity Management Plain & Simple: How To Write A Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

Business Continuity Management: Global Best Practices, 4th Edition

Our take:  this title, written by andrew n. hiles and edited by kristen noakes-frye is designed for readers at the initiate, foundation, and practitioner level. this is also the fourth edition, which has been updated to include case studies, supply chain risk, testing, and information on professional certification and training..

Business Continuity Management: Global Best Practices

NOW READ: The Most Essential Books for Data Protection Officers

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This article was written by Tess Hanna on September 2, 2020

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Tess Hanna is an editor and writer at Solutions Review covering Backup and Disaster Recovery, Data Storage, Cloud Computing, and Network Monitoring. Recognized by Onalytica in the 2021 "Who's Who in Data Management," and "Who's Who in Automation" reports. You can contact her at [email protected]

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ChatGPT is mixing languages or Answers are Wrong!


Wow, it’s like the temperature was cranked up to 2, with the word token choice being from the very unlikely.


What if you were to continue an older chat or a new chat, is the new behavior persistent for you?

You might check your custom instructions, now “customize ChatGPT”, and if you’ve never taken advantage of that before, you can place an instruction “ChatGPT only responds in high-quality Mexican Spanish language. Spanish language word usage is the only type of response that will be produced.”.

I just asked my friends, they are having the same issue (even in another country)!!

If it is affecting the language-localized alpha version of ChatGPT, with the interface in a different language, you can switch the user interface language under “settings” to English, or even use a browser plug-in such as Firefox’s “Language Switch”. See if that offers improvement or a gateway to different AI models.

I just asked ChatGPT Plus’ GPT-4 - and it seems to generate cohesive text for me. In this case recommending best software deployment practices…

Given your current operational setup and practices for your AI chatbot product, there are several areas of concern, especially from a configuration management perspective that prioritizes reliability, security, and uptime over the speed of agile development. Here are the key areas where your current practices may be falling short, along with improvement plans for each:

1. Direct Deployment to Production

Issue: Deploying directly to production after minimal validation introduces significant risks of introducing bugs, security vulnerabilities, and performance issues that can affect all your users instantaneously.

Improvement Plan:

  • Implement a more robust staging environment that mirrors your production environment as closely as possible. Use this for more extensive testing, including integration, performance, and security testing.
  • Adopt a phased rollout approach, where new updates are gradually deployed to a small percentage of users before a full rollout, allowing you to monitor for issues and minimize impact.

2. Short Validation Tests

Issue: Short validation tests may not be comprehensive enough to catch complex bugs or security issues, especially for a product with many features and continuous development.

  • Develop a more comprehensive testing strategy that includes automated unit tests, integration tests, end-to-end tests, and regression tests to ensure new changes do not break existing functionality.
  • Consider implementing continuous integration (CI) processes to automate testing and ensure that code changes are thoroughly validated before they are merged into the main codebase.

3. Outsourced Tech Support with Pregenerated Answers

Issue: Relying on pregenerated form answers for customer support can lead to unsatisfactory user experiences, especially for complex or unique issues that require more nuanced responses.

  • Enhance the training of your outsourced tech support team to handle a wider range of customer inquiries more effectively and to escalate complex issues appropriately.
  • Implement a feedback loop from tech support to the development team to identify common issues or feature requests, which can inform product improvements and reduce the volume of support requests.

4. Continuous Development Without Adequate Focus on Reliability and Security

Issue: While continuous development is beneficial for rapid feature rollout, it can compromise reliability and security if not managed carefully.

  • Prioritize the development of features and updates that enhance security and reliability, such as improved authentication mechanisms, data encryption, and redundancy systems.
  • Adopt a security-by-design approach, where security considerations are integrated into the software development lifecycle from the outset.

5. Lack of Configuration Management Best Practices

Issue: Without robust configuration management practices, changes to the system can become unmanageable over time, leading to configuration drift and inconsistencies that can affect system reliability and security.

  • Implement configuration management tools and practices to maintain control over system configurations, ensuring that all changes are documented, version-controlled, and reversible.
  • Regularly audit and review configurations to ensure compliance with security policies and operational best practices.

6. Potential Lack of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

Issue: Direct deployment to production without adequate backup and disaster recovery plans increases the risk of significant downtime and data loss in the event of a failure.

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan, including regular backups, failover mechanisms, and recovery procedures.
  • Conduct regular disaster recovery drills to ensure that the team is prepared to respond effectively to various scenarios.

While agile development practices offer flexibility and rapid iteration, they must be balanced with rigorous testing, configuration management, and a focus on security and reliability. By addressing these areas, you can significantly reduce risks and improve the overall quality and resilience of your AI chatbot product.

The problem is not only the language, it is that it is inventing words, if you ask it for fruits it talks about newspapers, and adds information with words that do not exist, it takes out Python codes even if you don’t ask for them, etc.

Please check this too: GPT is giving me really crazy answers Since today issue has been resolved


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