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3 Steps to Creating a Successful Business Continuity Plan

True North Mergers & Acquisitions

June 10, 2023

It’s an unpredictable world—yet the success of your business hinges on your ability to deliver predictable service without disruptions. Whether you encounter a natural disaster, cyberattack, or global pandemic, every organization must establish a continuity plan to ensure seamless operations when calamity strikes.

But what exactly is a continuity plan, and how can you create one effectively? We’ll tell you everything you need to know here.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan outlines strategies, procedures, and resources that enable organizations to continue operating and delivering essential services without disruption.

Business continuity plans empower organizations to take a proactive approach, ensuring they are prepared for and recover from natural disasters, cyber breaches, pandemics, or any other unforeseen event.

Here’s how you create a continuity plan.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Conducting a risk assessment involves identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities that could impact daily operations. These risks may vary depending on your industry. However, common risks include power outages, supply chain interruptions, cyberattacks, and public health emergencies.

By identifying these risks, you gain insight into your organization's challenges, which allows you to allocate resources more effectively. To identify these risks:

  1. Review historical data and incident reports
  2. Conduct site surveys and inspections
  3. Perform regular vulnerability assessments
  4. Consult with industry and risk-management experts

Perform an Impact Analysis

Now that you’ve identified risks, you must assess their impact on your business. These risks may include lost revenue, increased expenses, fines, and erosion of trust and customer satisfaction.

Additionally, you must set the following:

  1. A recovery time objective: the amount of disruption time your organization can reasonably accept
  2. A recovery point objective: the amount of data loss your organization can accept

Prioritize Mission-Critical Systems

Once you’ve determined risks and their impact on your organization, you must identify the systems vital to your core operations—those systems you cannot survive without.

Start by talking with stakeholders from different departments and determining which systems they rely on. Additionally, conduct a dependency mapping exercise to give you insight into the interdependencies between systems. This process may involve mapping the following:

  1. Network infrastructure
  2. Hardware
  3. Software
  4. Data flows

Plan and Test Your Continuity Plan

Once the new continuity plan is in place, it's time to put it to the test. Start by creating a clear implementation roadmap—assigning responsibilities and ensuring everyone knows what to do and when. Conduct training sessions and keep employees in the loop so they understand their roles during a disruption.

To ensure the plan works, run tests and simulations—whether tabletop exercises or full-scale drills—to simulate different scenarios and see how the plan holds up.

Doing so will help you identify gaps, refine procedures, and make necessary adjustments.

Access Our Experience to Achieve Your Goals

Whether you want to set long-term goals, scale your business, build an exit strategy, or build a continuity plan, our experienced business advisors can help. With decades of experience and a track record of successful mergers, acquisitions, and growth, we have the expertise to ensure the long-term success of your business. Contact us today!

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