Business continuity plan best practice – best for whom?

Even businesses that compete in the same market may be very different in structure and operations. For a generic approach, business continuity best practice is available in any number of books or training courses, but best practice for the detail of what goes into your plan may be harder to come by.

The enterprise next door may be re-planning its loading bays to ensure 24 hour operability in any weather, but that won’t have the same relevance to you if you’ve just outsourced your manufacturing and shipping to third parties. When it comes down to the detail there may be no absolutes, but rather comparisons, by looking at other organisations in the same market or professional space. To identify business continuity “better” practices rather than business continuity “best” practices, you’ll also need a reference point. Your first move therefore is to complete a first draft of your own Business Continuity plan, tailored to your organisation and your requirements. Then you can compare with what’s out there – or ask a knowledgeable Business Continuity specialist to read your plan and comment on “better” or “best” as appropriate.

Still can’t get the data you need to compare with your plan? Then make your own. You will need: one aspect of your BC plan you want to improve; an alternative for business continuity for that aspect; one scoresheet to assess existing and alternative (for factors like reliability/risk, flexibility, cost to maintain ready, cost to apply and so on); and one way of testing both possibilities in a non-destructive way. Now use simple A/B testing: if the alternative works better, update the plan with the alternative; if it’s not as good, leave the plan as it is, but look for another alternative. And as they say in marketing, “rinse and repeat” to continually move towards your own business continuity plan best practice.