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If you wouldn't embark upon a trip without including important survival items and a list of emergency phone numbers, then you intuitively understand what a business continuity plan is at its core. Preparing for a disruptive change in business as usual is what business continuity planning is about. Preparation is accomplished by assessing risk potential, identifying critical business processes, analyzing business impacts of a disruption, creating a plan to mitigate identified risks and participating in exercises or tests that help refine the plan. Upon completion your department or business unit will be resilient and well-prepared to stay in operation under circumstances that are anything but business as usual.
View our business continuity planning presentation planning document (PDF) for more information.
The Importance of Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity helps your department or business unit continue to function as a viable part of the entire organization in the event of a disruption to one or more critical locations, people or systems. Having a plan in place means your department or business unit will effectively respond to disruption by safeguarding people, minimizing loss of essential business services, and maximizing timely recovery of critical functions. Business continuity planning benefits the larger organization by maintaining a good public image and reputation, reducing loss potential, and enhancing operating efficiencies.
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Business continuity planning at Wright State is organized based on three planning phases: building a site emergency management plan, conducting a business process analysis, and building the business continuity plan. Complete each phase in order to learn valuable information that will build upon the previously completed phase. The planning process is greatly facilitated if you complete the pre-work worksheets first. The information can be gathered in one or more business unit planning meetings and, then using special planning software known as LDRPS, the information is entered into the system. Having your plan in LDRPS will ensure that it is securely housed, allowing easy updates to plan information and downloadable reports that can be held on portable storage devices or printed as hard copies. The planning phases tab contains important resources that will guide you through the three planning phases. Although there are some things that you can complete on your own, you may find that you need step-by-step guidance in order to fully reap the benefits of the planning process.
Building a Site Emergency Management Plan
The site emergency plan serves to guide activities within the first four hours after a disruptive event that impacts one or more critical locations, people, or systems. It documents essential information you will need to respond quickly, appropriately, and, above all, safely. Essential information includes, a contact list or call tree of team members, key decision makers, vendors, and others you may need to contact. It establishes the initial response team members and positions for key personnel, assigning essential tasks to each. It establishes an initial response location away from your usual work location that serves as an assembly place for initial response operations. Lastly, it houses essential documents specific to your business unit that you may need to access to initiate response operations.
Business Impact Analysis
In this phase, you will examine all of your business processes, determining which processes will have the highest priority, so that your plan will cover the most critical processes. Once critical processes are identified and prioritized, you will decide on business continuity strategies around them in the third planning phase.
Building a Business Continuity Plan
In this final phase, you will formulate and construct detailed plans around three outage scenarios; loss of location, loss of essential systems, and loss of essential personnel. Loss of location involves determining an alternative work location where your operations will go until restoration of your primary work location and its contents is complete. Loss of essential technology systems will involve developing manual techniques that will allow you to replicate critical processes. Loss of essential personnel involves designating alternate personnel that could be tapped, streamlining critical processes, and identifying procedural documents.
You will need to determine the types of resources you will need to continue the critical processes identified in the second phase. Resources can include office furniture, office equipment, computer and telecommunications equipment, and other equipment specific to your operations, as well as the human resources or teams that will be required to perform the identified critical business processes. Documentation important to the conduct of operations will be housed in the business continuity plan as well. A completed business continuity plan will allow your office to continue critical operations of your business unit. Your plan should address all business unit activities from about four hours after a disruptive event until such time that restoration of primary facilities and operating conditions are complete.