What is a Business Continuity Plan?
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A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a document that outlines how a business will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. The BCP defines any and all risks that can affect the company's operations, including natural disasters—such as fire, flood, or weather-related events—and cyber attacks, and how they will be managed. The BCP is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.
A Business Continuity Plan is different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's IT system after a crisis. A full Business Continuity Plan should address all business-critical areas, such as communication, supply chain disruption, labor supply and training, physical site access, decision making continuity and IT continuity.
Developing a Business Continuity Plan
There are several steps many companies must follow to develop a solid Business Continuity Plan. They include:
- Performing a business impact analysis of all potential risks to the business and how they affect time-sensitive functions and resources.
- Identifying the steps necessary to recover critical business functions.
- Creation of a continuity team for the organization that will develop a plan for managing disruptions.
- Training of the continuity team and continuous simulations to test the plan.
The BCP document should include key details such as emergency contact information so that team members can contact each other and make plans for resuming operations, on-site if possible, or at home offices and offsite locations. This includes use of data backup and disaster recovery plans.
The BCP 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 identified and corrected.
The role of high availability and disaster recovery solutions
Precisely offers IBM i and IBM AIX high availability and disaster recovery solutions, key elements of a full Business Continuity plan. With high availability or disaster recovery software from Precisely, companies can protect their business from downtime and data loss by maintaining a real-time copy of production servers and their data at a remote location. In the event of a disruption, a failover can be performed to move production operations to the recovery server with minimal business disruption, or data can be recovered from that replica.