7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Continuity

1. The Senior Executive actively supports Business Continuity

The CEODirectorGeneral Manager that believes in and wants a functional Business Continuity program in place is a critical success factor.

To have a senior Executive that is responsible for setting the priorities and vision for the organisation to stand behind BCP and communicate this to the staff is a powerful change motivator. 

2. A Whole of Business Approach

A business continuity program that prioritises the organisation from the Executive’s birdseye perspective as well as analysing business impacts across all business functions in a consistent manner will lead to a better informed business continuity strategy being proposed. It allows the Executive to see the requirements of the business in a single snapshot and make a cost benefit justified decision on the level of continuity required.

3. A Single Point of Business Continuity Management

Someone needs to be responsible for BCP at an organisational level. It needs to be in their job description and a priority for them, otherwise it runs the risk of falling between the cracks. With one person accountable for co-ordinating, aggregating, monitoring the overall Business Continuity program and reporting to the Executive, the program is more likely to stay visible and maintain momentum.

4. Testing, Testing, Testing

Business Continuity should be viewed as an ongoing continuous improvement program. And as such testing is vital. It highlights flaws and validates assumptions in your business continuity plans, giving opportunity to improve them. Testing builds confidence and competence within the business continuity team as it brings home how the strategy would actually work in a variety of scenarios and how the roles will interrelate. An untested Business Continuity Plan cannot be considered viable.

5. Embedding BCP into job descriptions and procedures

The various BCP roles such as BCP Manager, Command Team Leader, Business Unit Leader, etc should be written into position descriptions so that it is very clear that is a part of the responsibilities of the staff members. Procedures for new projects, business changes and IT changes should include provision for ensuring the change has BCP/ IT Disaster Recovery aspects taken into account. All changes should have an impact analysis conducted that includes impact on BCP/IT Disaster Recovery procedures.

6. Starting on the right foot

An induction training package that briefs new employees on the Business Continuity and Emergency Management strategies and plans in place is a great way to start them off on the right foot, highlighting the importance of this to the organisation.

7. Maintenance

The person responsible as BCP Manager should be tasked with ensuring maintenance of the documentation occurs on a regular basis. Outputs from changes and testing sessions all need to be fed into the plans.  Periodically the BIA should be revisited and organisation’s prioritisations and maximum tolerable outages reviewed.