An IT business continuity plan: Why you need one and what it entails


Business continuity and disaster recovery plans ( BCDR ) are organization-wide plans to help prepare your business for a wide range of potential crises and to mitigate the impact of such events.

Threats to your business can take various forms—from global pandemics that disrupt supply chains to natural disasters that threaten your physical workspace. However, as businesses rely increasingly on various systems to manage core operations and house crucial information, including customer, employee, and financial data, threats to IT systems loom largest for many business owners.

That’s where your IT business continuity planning comes in. This may be part of a larger business continuity plan or may be conducted in isolation if IT is the sole concern of your business continuity management.

A deeper dive into business continuity planning

When an event disrupts your business’s operations, a business continuity and disaster recovery plan (BCDR) comes into action. Downtime can lead to financial losses for companies, so minimizing its impact is crucial to ensure prompt business recovery and minimize revenue loss.

Although disaster recovery is a critical function of IT systems, BCDR is much broader than merely ensuring the stability and security of your tech stack. It encompasses various aspects, such as ensuring employee safety, managing brand reputation, crisis management, identifying alternative work locations, and ensuring systems security and data protection.

Therefore, developing a comprehensive b usiness continuity and disaster recovery plan requires thoroughness. While it may not be possible to predict every potential disaster that could befall your business, you can develop fallback plans to utilize when disasters inevitably occur.

Threats to your IT systems

When you think of your IT systems, it’s natural to think of things like cyberattacks or systems downtime as posing potential threats to your business continuity. However, IT systems can face various threats that can cause significant damage and disrupt business operations. These threats include:

  • Natural disasters , such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and tornadoes, which can damage physical infrastructure (like servers) and cause business disruptions.
  • Cyberattacks and data breaches , which can result in data loss, system downtime, reputational damage, financial losses, regulatory fines, and legal liability. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, and companies must take necessary precautions to secure their systems and data.
  • Human errors made by employees, contractors, or vendors can also lead to system failures, data breaches, or other disruptions to business operations. Companies must invest in training and implementing proper protocols to mitigate such risks.
  • Power outages can result in system downtime and data loss. Companies must implement backup power systems and disaster recovery plans to minimize the impact of such events.

It’s important for your organization to identify the specific threats that are most relevant to their business and to develop appropriate plans and strategies to mitigate those risks.

Where to start when developing an IT business continuity plan (BCP)

Most good plans start with information-gathering, and your IT business continuity plans are no different. The components of gathering the right information are outlined here:

Business continuity management (BCM)

Business continuity management (BCM) is the process of identifying potential threats and risks to an organization, developing plans to mitigate those risks, and ensuring that the organization is prepared to respond effectively to a crisis or disruption. 

The goal of BCM is to enable an organization to continue its critical operations during and after a catastrophic event, whether that event is a natural disaster, cyber-attack, or any other unexpected occurrence that could impact the organization’s ability to function.

The role of a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) in business continuity management 

A business impact analysis (BIA) is a key component of your business continuity management or BCM process. The BIA identifies and evaluates the potential impact of a disruption on critical IT functions and business processes.

When doing a BIA, you’ll:

  • Identify the essential IT functions and processes your business needs to restore quickly after a disruption. For example, if you’re an e-commerce business, your website and payment processing systems are critical IT functions that need to be restored quickly to avoid losing revenue and customers.
  • Assess and quantify the potential impacts of a disruption on each function or process. These impacts can range from shipping delays to customers to regulatory non-compliance. By understanding the potential impacts, you’ll be able to prioritize your disaster recovery efforts and allocate resources effectively.
  • Understand the resources required to support each IT function or process. This can include personnel, technology, and facilities. This can help you identify single points of failure, such as only one person who knows how to operate a certain system. If that person is unavailable, it could result in significant downtime and lost revenue.

A team of coworkers collaborate on a crisis management plan over an iPad

By conducting a BIA, you can develop targeted and effective recovery strategies that minimize the impact of a disruption on your IT systems. It’s recommended that organizations conduct a BIA at least once a year or whenever there are significant changes to the organization’s operations or risk profile.

How your IT business continuity plan comes to life

As business continuity and disaster recovery are interdependent, there is a significant overlap in devising an IT disaster recovery (DR) plan and an IT business continuity (BC) plan. As such, we like to consider all three branches of BCDR when developing an effective business continuity plan. Those three branches are:

  • Emergency response: This branch of business continuity focuses on the immediate response to a crisis or emergency situation. Think of it as the immediate “to-do plan” if there’s a natural disaster, cyber-attack, or any other unexpected event that can disrupt business operations.
  • Crisis management & business continuity: Crisis management deals with the restoration of critical business functions after an interruption, including the recovery of data, systems, and operations. The objective is to ensure that business operations can be resumed as quickly as possible and minimize the impact of the disruption.
  • Disaster recovery: Time to recover critical business functions! Whether you’re rebuilding infrastructure, replacing equipment, or upgrading systems, this stage is about getting your business back to where it was. This branch also focuses on the proactive measures that organizations can take to mitigate the impact of another potential disaster or crisis.

For each IT function, you should have a plan in place that covers all three branches. Let’s look at an example:

Example: A power outage impacts critical IT systems

Power outages or blackouts can happen for a number of reasons, but if your business is located in a region that is prone to volatile weather or extreme heat, power outages are something you should prepare for well in advance. If and when a power outage occurs, you might have the following steps in place:

Your emergency response to a power outage: 

With the correct procedures and training in place, your team will know exactly how to respond the next time there’s a blackout. This might include:

  • Using personal wireless hotspots for urgent tasks that require web access
  • Unplugging devices from power sources so they don’t short circuit when power returns
  • Reporting the outage to the relevant authorities 
  • Seeking to understand the extent of the problem (often this can be found on websites or through social media accounts of power companies)
  • Notifying key people (customers/leaders) about the situation (this can even be done through social media

Roles and responsibilities will also be clear so people do not duplicate efforts or create confusion.

Crisis management & business continuity: 

Now that initial steps and actions have been taken, you can move to actively manage your business while the power is out. Actions taken now will depend on the duration of the power outage, but some options include:

  • Sending employees home if it’s easier for them to simply work from home or it looks like the outage may impact the rest of the business day
  • Investing in a backup generator if the power will be out for a prolonged period (this might also be part of disaster recovery if it’s a proactive step to be taken for next time)
  • Continuing to keep customers and stakeholders up to date via essential channels like social media, email, and even phone

Disaster recovery from power outages: 

Hooray! The power is restored. Your office can now return to normal productivity. But before everybody jumps in, your tech team might want to:

  • Reset the circuit breaker before turning on devices and network routers
  • Confirm any steps for restarting systems that have not been shut down properly

business continuity plan it department

Having survived an outage, your business might now reassess your preparedness for such events and decide to implement some changes. This can include things like:

  • Setting up an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to allow people to safely shut down their computers
  • Ensuring all staff members store all business documents, contact lists, and other critical information in the cloud so it’s accessible from anywhere with an internet connection

Who’s responsible for your IT business continuity plan

Going through each and every IT system, from hardware to software, that your company uses may seem like a daunting task. That responsibility typically falls on the organization’s IT department or a designated IT team. 

However, depending on the organization’s size and structure, the responsibility for a successful business continuity plan may also fall on other departments or individuals, such as risk management, operations, human resources, or a business continuity team.

Moreover, your IT team will likely depend on all staff and even business partners for inputs on the nature of certain systems, how essential they are to maintaining business operations, and the revenue implications of those systems being down.

For example, your marketing team may use various systems for email deployment, social media monitoring, content production, and more. As such, your IT team may require information from them on which systems you use that are most critical to maintaining productivity and which systems are most closely tied to revenue.

The importance of staff training

Because human error puts your IT systems at risk, all staff should also be required to undergo annual training on data security and emergency procedures. Depending on the compliance frameworks your company adheres to, certification may also be required for all employees. 

For example, if your company processes credit card information, it may be required for all employees to complete PCI compliance training. PCI compliance training refers to a program or series of courses designed to educate individuals and organizations on the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and the requirements for complying with these standards. 

PCI DSS is a set of security standards developed by major credit card companies to help ensure that businesses that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information do so in a secure manner and protect against fraud and data breaches.

The importance of testing & iterating your IT business continuity plans

Just like running regular fire drills, your IT business continuity plan needs to be constantly tested and updated. Plus, every time you do a new business impact analysis (or BIA), you’ll potentially identify new areas of vulnerability that your BCDR needs to account for.

Here are some steps to follow when testing your BCDR plan:

  • Define the testing objectives: Defining the objectives of the test can include testing the effectiveness of specific recovery procedures, identifying weaknesses in the plan, or assessing the readiness of key personnel.
  • Develop a testing strategy: A testing strategy will outline the scope of the test, the testing approach, and the expected outcomes. This should include a detailed test plan that identifies the testing scenarios, the resources needed to conduct the test, and the criteria for success.
  • Conduct the test: Run the test according to the testing plan. This may involve simulating a disaster scenario, testing specific recovery procedures, or conducting a tabletop exercise to test the response of key personnel.
  • Evaluate the results: This may involve reviewing the test data, conducting post-test interviews with key personnel, or analyzing the effectiveness of specific recovery procedures.
  • Improve: Based on your results, improvements to the BCDR plan may be identified and implemented. These may include revising specific recovery procedures, updating the contact list for key personnel, or investing in additional resources to improve the organization’s overall readiness for a disaster.

Need help? Working with the experts at Thoropass can help you build the foundations for a resilient business that stands the test of time.

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Blog Business 7 Business Continuity Plan Examples

7 Business Continuity Plan Examples

Written by: Danesh Ramuthi Nov 28, 2023

Business Continuity Plan Examples

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategic framework that prepares businesses to maintain or swiftly resume their critical functions in the face of disruptions, whether they stem from natural disasters, technological failures, human error, or other unforeseen events.

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses face an array of potential disruptions ranging from cyberattacks and ransomware to severe weather events and global pandemics. By having a well-crafted BCP, businesses can mitigate these risks, ensuring the safety and continuity of their critical services and operations. To further safeguard their operations, integrating measures to protect against ransomware into their BCP is a natural and essential step.

Responsibility for business continuity planning typically lies with top management and dedicated planning teams within an organization. It is a cross-functional effort that involves input and coordination across various departments, ensuring that all aspects of the business are considered.

For businesses looking to develop or refine their business continuity strategies, there are numerous resources available. Tools like Venngage’s business plan maker and their business continuity plan templates offer practical assistance, streamlining the process of creating a robust and effective BCP. 

Click to jump ahead: 

7 business continuity plan examples

Business continuity types, how to write a business continuity plan, how often should a business continuity plan be reviewed, business continuity plan vs. disaster recovery plan, final thoughts.

In business, unpredictability is the only certainty. This is where business continuity plans (BCPs) come into play. These plans are not just documents; they are a testament to a company’s preparedness and commitment to sustained operations under adverse conditions. To illustrate the practicality and necessity of these plans, let’s delve into some compelling examples.

Business continuity plan example for small business

Imagine a small business specializing in digital marketing services, with a significant portion of its operations reliant on continuous internet connectivity and digital communication tools. This business, although small, caters to a global clientele, making its online presence and prompt service delivery crucial.

Business Consultant Continuity Plan Template

Scope and objective:

This Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is designed to ensure the continuity of digital marketing services and client communications in the event of an unforeseen and prolonged internet outage. Such an outage could be caused by a variety of factors, including cyberattacks, technical failures or service provider issues. The plan aims to minimize disruption to these critical services, ensuring that client projects are delivered on time and communication lines remain open and effective.

Operations at risk:

Operation: Digital Marketing Services Operation Description: A team dedicated to creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for clients across various time zones. Business Impact: High Impact Description: The team manages all client communications, campaign designs, and real-time online marketing strategies. An internet outage would halt all ongoing campaigns and client communications, leading to potential loss of business and client trust.

Recovery strategy:

The BCP should include immediate measures like switching to a backup internet service provider or using mobile data as a temporary solution. The IT team should be prepared to deploy these alternatives swiftly.

Immediate measures within the BCP should encompass alternatives like switching to a backup internet service provider or utilizing mobile data, supplemented by tools such as backup and recovery systems, cloud-based disaster recovery solutions, and residential proxies , while the IT team should be prepared to deploy these swiftly. 

Additionally, the company should have a protocol for informing clients about the situation via alternative communication channels like mobile phones.

Roles and responsibilities:

Representative: Alex Martinez Role: IT Manager Description of Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the implementation of the backup internet connectivity plan.
  • Coordinate with the digital marketing team to ensure minimal disruption in campaign management.
  • Communicate with the service provider for updates and resolution timelines.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan Template

Business continuity plan example for software company

In the landscape of software development, a well-structured Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is vital. This example illustrates a BCP for a software company, focusing on a different kind of disruption: a critical data breach.

Business Continuity Plan Template

Scope and objectives:

This BCP is designed to ensure the continuity of software development and client data security in the event of a significant data breach. Such a breach could be due to cyberattacks, internal security lapses, or third-party service vulnerabilities. The plan prioritizes the rapid response to secure data, assess the impact on software development projects and maintain client trust and communication.

Operation: Software Development and Data Security Operation Description: The software development team is responsible for creating and maintaining software products, which involves handling sensitive client data. In the realm of software development, where the creation and maintenance of products involve handling sensitive client data, prioritizing security is crucial. Strengthen your software development team’s capabilities by incorporating the best antivirus with VPN features, offering a robust defense to protect client information and maintain a secure operational environment. The integrity and security of this data are paramount.

Business Impact: Critical Impact Description: A data breach could compromise client data, leading to loss of trust, legal consequences and potential financial penalties. It could also disrupt ongoing development projects and delay product releases.

The IT security team should immediately isolate the breached systems to prevent further data loss, leveraging data loss prevention tools to further enhance protection. They should then work on identifying the breach’s source and extent to assess the effectiveness of their existing security controls validations and identify any gaps or weaknesses that need to be addressed

Simultaneously, the client relations team should inform affected clients about the breach and the steps being taken. The company should also engage a third-party cybersecurity or pentest firm for an independent investigation and recovery assistance.

Remember, to ensure the IT security team is equipped to handle such situations effectively, it’s imperative to invest in their training. Resources like CCNA Certification Dumps provide valuable training materials to enhance the team’s knowledge in cybersecurity protocols and practices.

Representative: Sarah Lopez Role: Head of IT Security Contact Details: [email protected] Description of Responsibilities:

  • Lead the initial response to the data breach, including system isolation and assessment.
  • Coordinate with external cybersecurity experts for breach analysis and mitigation.
  • Work with the legal team to understand and comply with data breach notification laws.
  • Communicate with the software development team leaders about the impact on ongoing projects.

Business Continuity Plan Templates

Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023

Business continuity plan example for manufacturing

In the manufacturing sector, disruptions can significantly impact production lines, supply chains, and customer commitments. This example of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for a manufacturing company addresses a specific scenario: a major supply chain disruption.

Business Continuity Plan Template

This BCP is formulated to ensure the continuity of manufacturing operations in the event of a significant supply chain disruption. Such disruptions could be caused by geopolitical events, natural disasters affecting key suppliers or transportation network failures. The plan focuses on maintaining production capabilities and fulfilling customer orders by managing and mitigating supply chain risks.

Operation: Production Line Operation Description: The production line is dependent on a steady supply of raw materials and components from various suppliers to manufacture products. Business Impact: High Impact Description: A disruption in the supply chain can lead to a halt in production, resulting in delayed order fulfillment, loss of revenue and potential damage to customer relationships.

The company should establish relationships with alternative suppliers to ensure a diversified supply chain. In the event of a disruption, the procurement team should be able to quickly switch to these alternative sources. Additionally, maintaining a strategic reserve of critical materials can buffer short-term disruptions. The logistics team should also develop flexible transportation plans to adapt to changing scenarios.

Representative: Michael Johnson Role: Head of Supply Chain Management Contact Details: [email protected] Description of Responsibilities:

  • Monitor global supply chain trends and identify potential risks.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with alternative suppliers.
  • Coordinate with logistics to ensure flexible transportation solutions.
  • Communicate with production managers about supply chain status and potential impacts on production schedules.

Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning

BCPs are essential for ensuring that a business can continue operating during crises. Here’s a summary of the different types of business continuity plans that are common:

  • Operational : Involves ensuring that critical systems and processes continue functioning without disruption. It’s vital to have a plan to minimize revenue loss in case of disruptions.
  • Technological : For businesses heavily reliant on technology, this type of continuity plan focuses on maintaining and securing internal systems, like having offline storage for important documents.
  • Economic continuity : This type ensures that the business remains profitable during disruptions. It involves future-proofing the organization against scenarios that could negatively impact the bottom line.
  • Workforce continuity : Focuses on maintaining adequate and appropriate staffing levels, especially during crises, ensuring that the workforce is capable of handling incoming work.
  • Safety : Beyond staffing, safety continuity involves creating a comfortable and secure work environment where employees feel supported, especially during crises.
  • Environmental : It addresses the ability of the team to operate effectively and safely in their physical work environment, considering threats to physical office spaces and planning accordingly.
  • Security : Means prioritizing the safety and security of employees and business assets, planning for potential security breaches and safeguarding important business information.
  • Reputation : Focuses on maintaining customer satisfaction and a good reputation, monitoring conversations about the brand and having action plans for reputation management .

Business Continuity Planning Templates

As I have explained so far, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is invaluable. Writing an effective BCP involves a series of strategic steps, each crucial to ensuring that your business can withstand and recover from unexpected events. Here’s a guide on how to craft a robust business continuity plan:

Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Plan Template

1. Choose your business continuity team

Assemble a dedicated team responsible for the development and implementation of the BCP. The team should include members from various departments with a deep understanding of the business operations.

2. Outline your plan objectives

Clearly articulate what the plan aims to achieve. Objectives may include minimizing financial loss, ensuring the safety of employees, maintaining critical business operations, and protecting the company’s reputation.

3. Meet with key players in your departments

Engage with department heads and key personnel to gain insights into the specific needs and processes of each department. This helps in identifying critical functions and resources.

4. Identify critical functions and types of threats

Determine which functions are vital to the business’s survival and identify potential threats that could impact these areas. 

5. Carry on risk assessments across different areas

Evaluate the likelihood and impact of identified threats on each critical function. This assessment helps in prioritizing the risks and planning accordingly.

6. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)

Perform a BIA to understand the potential consequences of disruption to critical business functions. It has to be done in determining the maximum acceptable downtime and the resources needed for business continuity.

7. Start drafting the plan

Compile the information gathered into a structured document. The plan should include emergency contact information, recovery strategies and detailed action steps for different scenarios.

8. Test the plan for any gaps

Conduct simulations or tabletop exercises to test the plan’s effectiveness. This testing can reveal unforeseen gaps or weaknesses in the plan.

9. Review & revise your plan

Use the insights gained from testing to refine and update the plan. Continual revision ensures the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of changing business conditions and emerging threats.

Read Also: How to Write a Business Plan Outline [Examples + Templates]

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should ideally be reviewed and updated at least annually. 

The annual review ensures that the plan remains relevant and effective in the face of new challenges and changes within the business, such as shifts in business strategy, introduction of new technology or changes in operational processes. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to reassess the BCP following any significant business changes, such as mergers, acquisitions or entry into new markets, as well as after the occurrence of any major incident that tested the plan’s effectiveness. 

However, in rapidly changing industries or in businesses that face a high degree of uncertainty or frequent changes, more frequent reviews – such as bi-annually or quarterly – may be necessary. 

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are two crucial components of organizational preparedness, yet they serve different functions. The BCP is aimed at preventing interruptions to business operations and maintaining regular activities. 

It focuses on aspects such as the location of operations during a crisis (like a temporary office or remote work), how staff will communicate and which functions are prioritized. In essence, a BCP details how a business can continue operating during and after a disruption​​​​.

On the other hand, a DRP is more specific to restoring data access and IT infrastructure after a disaster. It describes the steps that employees must follow during and after a disaster to ensure minimal function necessary for the organization to continue. 

Essentially, while a BCP is about maintaining operations, a DRP is about restoring critical functions, particularly IT-related, after a disruption has occurred​

It’s clear that having a robust and adaptable business continuity plan (BCP) is not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental necessity for businesses of all sizes and sectors. 

From small businesses to large corporations, the principles of effective business continuity planning remain consistent: identify potential threats, assess the impact on critical functions, and develop a comprehensive strategy to maintain operations during and after a disruption.

The process of writing a BCP, as detailed in this article, underscores the importance of a thorough and thoughtful approach. It’s about more than just drafting a document; it’s about creating a living framework that evolves with your business and the changing landscape of risks.

To assist in this crucial task, you can use Venngage’s business plan maker & their business continuity plan templates . These tools streamline the process of creating a BCP, ensuring that it is not only comprehensive but also clear, accessible and easy to implement. 

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IT Business Continuity Plan (BCP): What It Is, Why Have One, and Key Features

Giva Authorship Team

In today's society, several factors can impact the business continuity of IT environments. In addition to physical threats like theft and natural disasters, the Internet — despite its many benefits — can also wreak havoc. Downtime, in any form, can cost a company money and, perhaps, its reputation if not managed correctly.

IT Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

The good news is that an IT Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can lessen the impact of downtime by helping your organization take the appropriate steps toward a quick resolution. In many cases, plans can be built in-house with the proper coordination of different departments.

Despite growing security risks, the uptake of emergency preparedness plans remains low. According to WifiTalents , as of 2021, 52% of global companies do not have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

And it is no less essential for an IT environment. If you fall into this statistic, it is time to learn more about the critical components of building a disaster recovery and business continuity plan for your IT organization.

What is an IT Business Continuity Plan?

In its most simple form, it is developing a written strategy to ensure that your IT organization's key business processes can keep running, even when a disruptive event occurs. A BCP will act as a guidebook on tackling specific issues, like a cyberattack or damaged equipment. It reduces improvisation and widespread panic.

IT teams play an essential role in a BCP. Nowadays, when a disruptive incident occurs, it usually involves an organization's tech. Who understands your organization's tech best? IT, of course! Planning and execution should be left with them. However, it may be a good idea to hold emergency preparedness sessions with other organizational teams. When disaster strikes, internal teams must be on the same page, working together toward a solution.

Examples of Business Interruption in IT

Interruptions to your organization can come in several forms. When they do happen, it can frustrate employees and clients alike. The biggest frustration may come from the fact that it was avoidable to begin with! Many organizational disruptions can be less intrusive or avoided entirely with better planning:

  • Natural disasters: Large storms can knock out power or wreak havoc with flooding at brick and mortar locations, damaging physical equipment. Moving data to the cloud and reducing the amount of physical tech that you have on-site can be helpful. This is especially in climates prone to tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Theft: Equipment can be stolen off your premises. It would be wise for an organization to recommend that employees lock away equipment when they go home for the day. Having the ability to remotely wipe data off a stolen device would also work in the favor of an organization in order to minimize the impact of the theft.
  • Human error: This can include employees clicking on malicious links received by email or via a web page. IT should consider hosting regular training sessions on cyber security awareness.
  • Software updates: Unplanned updates, which are then forced onto the system, can cause hours of downtime. Ensure you build a software update schedule inline with your provider. Trigger updates to occur on weekends or in the early hours of the morning (i.e. between 2 and 5 AM).

Business interruptions are not only costly to the bottom line of an organization, they can also have even greater effects. For example, when work-stop issues occur in a hospital, it can quickly become a life and death situation for patients. Learn more about the costs of downtime in healthcare .

Key Features of an IT Business Continuity Plan

  • Create a response team: When disaster strikes, it can be cause for panic. This panic can lead to further despair and confusion. Therefore, businesses should build a response team with employees from all departments, including IT. This group would be in charge of several areas of response in the case of an interruption. Other employees outside of this group should hold until direction from the response team is provided.
  • Conduct a critical service and risk assessment: Once a team is assembled, determine what are the critical services (including recovery time objectives), business functions and risks the organization is most prone to. This can involve taking a look at historical instances of downtime, new world threats like those posed by cyber criminals, and the climate in which equipment is stored. Decide the strategy for scheduled data backups and storing them and other devices off-site or at other secure locations.
  • Run different disaster test scenarios: Although you may feel prepared, there is nothing quite like encountering a realistic scenario. Running test situations can help the response team to better understand if their plan is actually workable. For example, IT teams can develop mock cyber attacks and recovery tests.
  • Develop a crisis communications plan: Organizational interruptions can be costly. Ensuring your customers know what is happening is important. Providing estimated "online" timing is also essential. Frustrations can mount quickly. However, maintaining an open line of communication can help to reduce the pain for your clients.

Final Take: Keeping a Business Going with a Good IT Business Continuity Plan

Why have an IT business continuity plan? It could be the difference between an organizational disaster or a seamless hiccup. With so much technology involved in the operation of a modern organization, it would be naive to think that disaster could never strike. Over time, your organization will likely face a disruption that knocks specific services or the entire system offline. These instances are frustrating for clients and businesses alike. They can hurt both your bottom line and your reputation. When disaster strikes, every minute counts. An IT business continuity plan can help you proactively avoid situations and react quickly when they do happen.

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How to create an effective business continuity plan

A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of disaster, whether fire, flood, or cyberattack. here’s how to create a plan that gives your business the best chance of surviving such an event..

Professional Meeting: Senior Businesswoman and Colleague in Discussion

The tumultuous events of the past several years have impacted practically every business. And with the number of extreme weather events, cyberattacks, and geopolitical conflicts continuing to rise, business leaders are bracing for the possibility of increasingly more frequent impactful incidents their organizations will need to respond to.

According to PwC’s 2023 Global Crisis and Resilience Survey , 96% of 1,812 business leaders said their organizations had experienced disruption in the past two years and 76% said their most serious disruption had a medium to high impact on operations.

It’s little wonder then that 89% of executives list resilience as one of their most important strategic priorities.

Yet at the same time, only 70% of respondents said they were confident in their organization’s ability to respond to disruptions, with PwC noting that its research shows that too many organizations “are lacking the foundational elements of resilience they need to be successful.”

A solid business continuity plan is one of those foundational elements.

“Every business should have the mindset that they will face a disaster, and every business needs a plan to address the different potential scenarios,” says Goh Ser Yoong, head of compliance at Advance.AI and a member of the Emerging Trends Working Group at the professional governance association ISACA.

A business continuity plan gives the organization the best shot at successfully navigating a disaster by providing ready-made directions on who should do what tasks in what order to keep the business viable.

Without such as a plan, the organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident — or may never recover at all.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a strategic playbook created to help an organization maintain or quickly resume business functions in the face of disruption, whether that disruption is caused by a natural disaster, civic unrest, cyberattack, or any other threat to business operations.

A business continuity plan outlines the procedures and instructions that the organization must follow during such an event to minimize downtime, covering business processes, assets, human resources, business partners, and more.

A business continuity plan is not the same as a disaster recovery plan , which focuses on restoring IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. Still, a disaster recovery plan is part of the overall strategy to ensure business continuity, and the business continuity plan should inform the action items detailed in an organization’s disaster recovery plan. The two are tightly coupled, which is why they often are considered together and abbreviated as BCDR.

Why business continuity planning matters

Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, it’s vital to retain and increase your customer base. There’s no better test of your capability to do so than right after an adverse event.

Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company’s future depends on your people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on your company’s reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence.

Moreover, there are increasing consumer and regulatory expectations for both enterprise security and continuity today. Consequently, organizations must prioritize continuity planning to prevent not only business losses, but financial, legal, reputational, and regulatory consequences.

For example, the risk of having an organization’s “license to operate” withdrawn by a regulator or having conditions applied (retrospectively or prospectively) can adversely affect market value and consumer confidence.

Building (and updating) a business continuity plan

Whether building the organization’s first business continuity plan or updating an existing one, the process involves multiple essential steps.

Assess business processes for criticality and vulnerability: Business continuity planning “starts with understanding what’s most important to the business,” says Joe Nocera, principle in the cyber risk and regulatory practice at PwC, a professional services firm.

So the first step in building your business continuity plan is assessing your business processes to determine which are the most critical; which are the most vulnerable and to what type of events; and what are the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days, or a week.

“This step essentially determines what you are trying to protect and what you are trying to keep up for systems,” says Todd Renner, senior managing director in the cybersecurity practice at FTI Consulting.

This assessment is more demanding than ever before because of the complexity of today’s hybrid workplace, the modern IT environment, and the reliance on business partners and third-party providers to perform or support critical processes.

Given that complexity, Goh says a thorough assessment requires an inventory of not only key processes but also the supporting components — including the IT systems, networks, people, and outside vendors — as well as the risks to those components.

This is essentially a business impact analysis.

Determine your organization’s RTO and RPO: The next step in building a business continuity plan is determining the organization’s recovery time objective (RTO), which is the target amount of time between point of failure and the resumption of operations, and the recovery point objective (RPO), which is the maximum amount of data loss an organization can withstand.

Each organization has its own RTO and RPO based on the nature of its business, industry, regulatory requirements, and other operational factors. Moreover, different parts of a business can have different RTOs and RPOs, which executives need to establish, Nocera says.

“When you meet with individual aspects of the business, everyone says everything [they do] is important; no one wants to say their part of the business is less critical, but in reality you have to have those challenging conversations and determinations about what is actually critical to the business and to business continuity,” he adds.

Detail the steps, roles, and responsibilities for continuity: Once that is done, business leaders should use the RTO and the RPO, along with the business impact analysis, to determine the specific tasks that need to happen, by whom, and in what order to ensure business continuity.

“It’s taking the key components of your analysis and designing a plan that outlines roles and responsibilities, about who does what. It gets into the nitty-gritty on how you’re going to keep the company up and running,” Renner explains.

One common business continuity planning tool is a checklist that includes supplies and equipment, the location of data backups and backup sites, where the plan is available and who should have it, and contact information for emergency responders, key personnel, and backup site providers.

Although the list of possible scenarios that could impact business operations can seem extensive, Goh says business leaders don’t have to compile an exhaustive list of potential incidents. Rather, they should compile a list that includes likely incidents as well as representative ones so that they can create responses that have a higher likelihood of ensuring continuity even when faced with an unimagined disaster.

“So even if it’s an unexpected event, they can pull those building blocks from the plan and apply them to the unique crisis they’re facing,” Nocera says.

The importance of testing the business continuity plan

Devising a business continuity plan is not enough to ensure preparedness; testing and practicing are other critical components.

Renner says testing and practicing offer a few important benefits.

First, they show whether or how well a plan will work.

Testing and practicing help prepare all stakeholders for an actual incident, helping them build the muscle memory needed to respond as quickly and as confidently as possible during a crisis.

They also help identify gaps in the devised plan. As Renner says: “Every tabletop exercise that I’ve ever done has been an eye-opener for everyone involved.”

Additionally, they help identify where there may be misalignment of objectives. For example, executives may have deprioritized the importance of restoring certain IT systems only to realize during a drill that those are essential for supporting critical processes.

Types and timing of tests

Many organizations test a business continuity plan two to four times a year. Experts say the frequency of tests, as well as reviews and updates, depends on the organization itself — its industry, its speed of innovation and transformation, the amount of turnover of key personnel, the number of business processes, and so on.

Common tests include tabletop exercises , structured walk-throughs, and simulations. Test teams are usually composed of the recovery coordinator and members from each functional unit.

A tabletop exercise usually occurs in a conference room with the team poring over the plan, looking for gaps and ensuring that all business units are represented therein.

In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or her components of the plan in detail to identify weaknesses. Often, the team works through the test with a specific disaster in mind. Some organizations incorporate drills and disaster role-playing into the structured walk-through. Any weaknesses should be corrected and an updated plan distributed to all pertinent staff.

Some experts also advise a full emergency evacuation drill at least once a year.

Meanwhile, disaster simulation testing — which can be quite involved — should still be performed annually. For this test, create an environment that simulates an actual disaster, with all the equipment, supplies and personnel (including business partners and vendors) who would be needed. The purpose of a simulation is to determine whether the organization and its staff can carry out critical business functions during an actual event.

During each phase of business continuity plan testing, include some new employees on the test team. “Fresh eyes” might detect gaps or lapses of information that experienced team members could overlook.

Reviewing and updating the business continuity plan should likewise happen on an ongoing basis.

“It should be a living document. It shouldn’t be shelved. It shouldn’t be just a check-the-box exercise,” Renner says.

Otherwise, plans go stale and are of no use when needed.

Bring key personnel together at least annually to review the plan and discuss any areas that must be modified.

Prior to the review, solicit feedback from staff to incorporate into the plan. Ask all departments or business units to review the plan, including branch locations or other remote units.

Furthermore, a strong business continuity function calls for reviewing the organization’s response in the event of an actual event. This allows executives and their teams to identify what the organization did well and where it needs to improve.

How to ensure business continuity plan support, awareness

One way to ensure your plan is not successful is to adopt a casual attitude toward its importance. Every business continuity plan must be supported from the top down. That means senior management must be represented when creating and updating the plan; no one can delegate that responsibility to subordinates. In addition, the plan is likely to remain fresh and viable if senior management makes it a priority by dedicating time for adequate review and testing.

Management is also key to promoting user awareness. If employees don’t know about the plan, how will they be able to react appropriately when every minute counts?

Although plan distribution and training can be conducted by business unit managers or HR staff, have someone from the top kick off training and punctuate its significance. It’ll have a greater impact on all employees, giving the plan more credibility and urgency.

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How to Create an IT Business Continuity Plan

  • October 27, 2022

Every year seems to bring more events that require solid business IT continuity planning to avoid costly downtime for small businesses to global enterprises. Disasters – including hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, cyberattacks, deliberate attacks, pandemics, and supply chain disruptions – are on the rise and often interconnected. These complex risks to business continuity will happen more frequently in the future, according to 77% of risk leaders surveyed for Accenture’s 2021 Global Risk Management Study.

The greater challenge when preparing for these disasters is in developing a business continuity plan (BCP) that is comprehensive enough. It has to bring resiliency to today’s high-level IT infrastructure systems, platforms, applications, workloads, and dependency integration across a distributed hybrid IT environment. Developing such an IT business continuity plan requires understanding its expansive nature. (This is part of an extensive series of guides about data breaches .)

Table of Contents

What Is Business Continuity Planning?

A business continuity plan spells out exactly how an organization will continue functioning when business processes and systems are interrupted because of a disaster, including the latest pandemic. According to PwC, COVID-19 resulted in 67% of organizations implementing a business continuity plan. While more expansive than a disaster recovery (DR) plan—because it looks at every system, human, process, and physical asset—the BCP should work holistically with an organization’s DR plan.

The DR plan is a major component of the BC plan because it covers the strategies for dealing with IT disruptions to every asset. These include everything from physical and virtual servers, devices, and networks to applications, workloads, and databases.

An IT business continuity plan looks at these DR aspects in terms of the people and processes, along with their access and communication across physically disparate locations during a disaster. The goal is to maintain high availability of and between these aspects of the business during any failure. This supports the ability to maintain continuous operations, which is where disaster recovery takes over.

IT Asset Mapping for Business Continuity

DR planning is where the organization determines the needed resources that will make IT business continuity possible. The process starts with mapping and categorizing all assets and classifying their level of criticality to business operations. The organization can then determine the recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) to identify how much downtime and data loss the organization can endure before risking major damage to the business.

The Components of Business Continuity

Long before the organization can start developing the DR plan, it must develop the business continuity plan that will guide the processes, roles, tools, backup, and recovery following a disaster like the recent pandemic. The resulting BCP must be based on a strategy where the components revolve around how business processes and IT assets work together to enable the continuous operation of the organization.

Assessing Organization Processes

The next step is to look at the overall organization from the standpoint of its workforce and departmental structures as they pertain to business processes, IT assets, and systems. This will holistically go together with an understanding of the applications and data that make business operations possible, which requires comprehensive mapping of applications, networks, databases, and other application dependencies.

Defining Mission-Critical Processes

Once the business creates the previously mentioned map, it can determine which processes are mission-critical and which it can classify as less critical or non-critical. All these components of an IT business continuity strategy have technology as their foundation, which is what will drive the DR strategy for backup and recovery tools and processes.

Remote Office Facilities During a Disaster

This includes facilities such as on-premises data centers and hybrid environments (mix of public and private cloud) to ensure the right choices for physical and virtual disaster recovery sites in the event of a natural disaster. Even in a post-pandemic remote workforce world, many organizations are moving to a hybrid on-premises/remote workweek schedule or returning fully to the office.

This is where the broader aspects of business continuity planning must make accommodations for the workforce displaced from the office during a natural disaster. This can mean the use of remote office facilities for the displaced workforce, going fully remote via a VPN and cloud portal access, or a combination of the two, depending on the organization.

Although every organization is different, the development of every business continuity plan and strategy can be complex since it must result in a holistic BCDR plan. Creating an optimum business continuity plan requires the organization to proactively account for the challenges that are inherent to this process.

BCP Challenges

The first challenge that any organization will face in BC planning is process discovery. Today’s businesses have highly integrated processes and systems that are often distributed across hybrid IT environments. This hybrid IT distribution increased during the pandemic era and has morphed into a hybrid remote workforce structure in the post-pandemic era.

The complexity of this hybrid structure also made it difficult for organizations to determine the interconnection, integration, and dependencies of processes across IT systems, applications and their dependencies, devices, platforms, and networks.

The Role of IT Mapping for Processes and Services

Applications and their dependencies are at the heart of every business process across a distributed organization and its departments. Without the means to see the detailed connection of applications, dependencies, and IT infrastructure in real time, organizations have an incomplete picture of business processes. This requires understanding the best practices for IT asset discovery and management to develop a complete picture for BCDR planning.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Processes and Services

The processes built on applications and infrastructure also span multiple cloud environments, which makes it even more challenging to gain a complete picture. The dependency of processes on varied applications alone can mean that any missed links across dozens of applications can spell disaster when it comes to business continuity for the entire organization. Every organization runs on a mix of processes and services , so they must have the ability to map and view both for a comprehensive business continuity plan.

Regulatory Compliance

The data used and/or produced by the applications and their dependencies is often governed by regulatory compliance laws, such as GDPR and a host of data protection laws enforced by the Privacy Protection Authority (PPA). This requires a clear system that defines the rules, practices, and processes governing business continuity across the organization. This system of compliance and governance will become an integral part of defining and building the BCP structure.

Building a Business Continuity Plan

‍Since business continuity and disaster recovery work together, there is a great deal of overlap in creating an IT DR plan and an IT BC plan. The primary difference is that the BCP looks at IT assets and components primarily from the standpoint of business processes and overall operations.

The IT business continuity plan will be a living document that includes all procedures, agreements, and resources. It will also have individual and team responsibilities, as well as work roles that organizations must follow during and after a disaster that threatens business operations. These directly align with the disaster recovery plan process while focusing on the business’s people, processes, services, facilities, and procedures.

Business Continuity Team and Governance

The first step is setting up BCP governance, as discussed earlier. This will detail who handles each aspect of the plan and what processes they follow. These organizational change management processes are headed up by a central BCDR team made up of business stakeholders, IT leaders, and designated department heads or representatives. This group will delegate and ensure all aspects of the governance process are adhered to, from documentation to process completion, via a sound change management process approach.

Business Impact Analysis

The BCDR team will oversee the business impact analysis (BIA) based on mission-critical and secondary processes, along with their dependencies across systems, applications, devices, and departments. Organizations use BIA tools to identify critical business processes, services, and risks regarding how different IT change management disruptions will impact the business.

This forms the basis of the recovery strategy and documentation guiding the workforce. This documentation will define the step-by-step actions and responsibilities of staff during downtime and as part of the pre- and post-recovery process.

RTO/RPO Development for Income/Productivity Loss Analysis

The BCDR team will develop the RTO and RPO based on the mission-critical processes and change management models and the backup and disaster recovery tools and processes. However, their primary focus will be to use the RPO and RTO to determine projected loss of income and productivity, recovery tools and process expenses, potential impact on customer experience and brand, and potential service and product delays where they apply.

Organizations should store the IT BC plan documentation in more than one location and on more than one medium source, just like with the backup approach to systems, applications, and data. This documentation will include how they can further develop, track, and review the implementation, response plans, and recovery strategy.

Testing, Training, and Monitoring

While testing and monitoring are part of the DR portion of the BCDR plan, the governance and auditing processes should flow directly from the business continuity plan and the BCDR team. This is where the documentation guides:

  • Testing processes and procedures
  • Workforce training and drills
  • Testing and IT mapping schedules and tools
  • Shadow IT risks
  • Compliance standards and processes
  • Timetables and personnel responsibilities

The documentation will also include post-test KPIs and standards that are weighted against the test outcomes to ensure the testing works as intended.

In Conclusion

The realities of a post-pandemic world are defined by a hybrid remote world. However, no matter where a workforce is located, on-premises and cloud IT infrastructure, applications, workloads, and databases are critical to every organization. Thus, business continuity plans must start with a thorough mapping of IT infrastructure and applications along with their dependencies to create a risk-free BC plan.

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What Is A Business Continuity Plan? [+ Template & Examples]

Swetha Amaresan

Published: December 30, 2022

When a business crisis occurs, the last thing you want to do is panic.

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The second-to-last thing you want to do is be unprepared. Crises typically arise without warning. While you shouldn't start every day expecting the worst, you should be relatively prepared for anything to happen.

A business crisis can cost your company a lot of money and ruin your reputation if you don't have a business continuity plan in place. Customers aren't very forgiving, especially when a crisis is influenced by accidents within the company or other preventable mistakes. If you want your company to be able to maintain its business continuity in the face of a crisis, then you'll need to come up with this type of plan to uphold its essential functions.

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In this post, we'll explain what a business continuity plan is, give examples of scenarios that would require a business continuity plan, and provide a template that you can use to create a well-rounded program for your business.

Table of Contents:

What is a business continuity plan?

  • Business Continuity Types
  • Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity Plan Template

How to write a business continuity plan.

  • Business Continuity Examples

A business continuity plan outlines directions and procedures that your company will follow when faced with a crisis. These plans include business procedures, names of assets and partners, human resource functions, and other helpful information that can help maintain your brand's relationships with relevant stakeholders. The goal of a business continuity plan is to handle anything from minor disruptions to full-blown threats.

For example, one crisis that your business may have to respond to is a severe snowstorm. Your team may be wondering, "If a snowstorm disrupted our supply chain, how would we resume business?" Planning contingencies ahead of time for situations like these can help your business stay afloat when you're faced with an unavoidable crisis.

When you think about business continuity in terms of the essential functions your business requires to operate, you can begin to mitigate and plan for specific risks within those functions.

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Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity planning is the process of creating a plan to address a crisis. When writing out a business continuity plan, it's important to consider the variety of crises that could potentially affect the company and prepare a resolution for each.

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What Is Business Continuity?

What is business continuity

Business continuity is an organization's ability to maintain or quickly resume acceptable levels of product or service delivery following a short-term event that disrupts normal operations. Examples of disruptions range from natural disasters to power outages.

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Is business continuity the same as business resilience or disaster recovery?

Business continuity, disaster recovery, and business resilience are not the same, but they are related.

  • Business continuity is a process-driven approach to maintaining operations in the event of an unplanned disruption such as a cyber attack or natural disaster. Business continuity planning covers the entire business—processes, assets, workers, and more. It isn't focused solely on IT infrastructure and business systems.
  • Business resilience encompasses crisis management and business continuity. It requires a response to all types of risk that an organization may face. An organization that is business resilient is essentially in a constant state of "expecting the unexpected." It means continuously preparing to meet disruptions head-on, including events of extended duration that may affect more than one facility or region.
  • Disaster recovery focuses specifically on how to restore an enterprise's IT infrastructure and business systems following a disruption. It is considered an element of business continuity. A business continuity plan (BCP) might contain several disaster recovery plans, for example.

What is a business continuity strategy?

A business continuity strategy is a summary of the mitigation, crisis, and recovery plans to be implemented after a disruption to resume normal operations. "Business continuity strategy" is often used interchangeably with "business continuity plan." Both consider the broader goals, legal and regulatory requirements, personnel, and even the business's clients and partners.

What does a business continuity plan mitigate?

A relevant and well-tested BCP can help ease the negative impacts of an unexpected business disruption in many ways.

  • Financial impact: Disruptions to product supply chains and critical services to customers can directly affect sales and revenue. Downtime caused by unplanned disruptions can also result in higher costs for a business as it looks to repair operations and mitigate previously unidentified threats.
  • Reputation and brand impact: Failure to resume operations quickly and supply customers with the products or services they expect can prompt customer defections and tarnish the brand. Damage to reputation can in turn cause investors and capital sources to pull back funding, exacerbating the financial impact of a business disruption.
  • Regulatory impact: Customers and vendors are likely to complain when businesses fail to respond appropriately to disruptions, which may result in regulatory scrutiny or even censure. In highly-regulated industries, such as energy and financial services, business continuity planning is mandatory to ensure regulatory compliance.

Business continuity planning activities

A well-crafted and tested BCP can go a long way toward helping a business recover swiftly from a disruption. These are key steps a business may want to take.

Identifying critical business areas and functions

Business continuity planning begins with identifying an organization's key business areas and the critical functions within those areas. A business needs to determine and document the acceptable downtime for each area and function considered vital to operations. Then a plan to restore operations can be established, documented, and communicated.

Analyzing risks, threats, and potential impacts

Creating appropriate response scenarios requires knowing what disruptions the business could experience. An upfront analysis of risks and threats is necessary in order to prepare contingency responses to events. Organizations can also conduct a back-end analysis after an event to gather metrics and assess lessons learned. This information can drive improvements in how the business responds to disruptions.

Outlining and assigning responsibilities

A BCP details which personnel will be responsible for implementing specific aspects of the plan. It also identifies key decision-makers and a chain of command. The plan should include alternative options in case primary personnel are incapacitated or unavailable to respond to the disruption.

Defining and documenting alternatives

A business continuity plan should define and document alternative communication strategies in case telephone services or the internet are down. Enterprises should also have alternatives for mission-critical spaces such as data centers or manufacturing facilities in case buildings are damaged.

Assessing the need for critical backups

Essential equipment may be damaged or unavailable during a disruptive event. A business should consider whether it has access to backup equipment and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) during extended power outages. Business-critical data needs to be backed up regularly, and is mandatory in many regulated industries.

Testing, training, and communication

Business continuity plans need to be tested to ensure they will be effective. (Disaster recovery plans should be tested as well.) A best practice is to conduct a plan review at least quarterly with leadership and key team members who are responsible for executing the plan.

Many companies use role-playing sessions, simulations, and other types of exercises several times per year to test their BCPs. This approach helps to identify gaps, develop strategies for improvement, and determine if more resources are needed. Targeted staff training and communicating to the whole workforce the benefits of having a business continuity plan are also vital to its success.

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Information Technology Business Continuity Plan Template

Information Technology Business Continuity Plan Template

What is an Information Technology Business Continuity Plan?

An Information Technology Business Continuity Plan (IT BCP) is an organized set of procedures to ensure that critical IT systems, data protection, and technology support are available and functioning during crises or disaster events. It provides a blueprint of the steps that need to be taken before, during, and after a disaster to ensure the continuity of operations and the safe recovery of data, systems, and assets. The IT BCP should be developed, tested, and updated on a regular basis.

What's included in this Information Technology Business Continuity Plan template?

  • 3 focus areas
  • 6 objectives

Each focus area has its own objectives, projects, and KPIs to ensure that the strategy is comprehensive and effective.

Who is the Information Technology Business Continuity Plan template for?

This template is designed to help IT departments and technology-focused organizations to develop their business continuity plans. It will help guide the IT team in creating comprehensive plans for protecting data, systems, and assets in the event of a disaster or crisis.

1. Define clear examples of your focus areas

Focus areas are the broad topics that require attention when developing an IT BCP. Examples of focus areas include Backup & Recovery, Risk Prevention, and Vendor Management. Each focus area should include a set of objectives and associated actions that need to be taken in order to ensure the continuity of operations.

2. Think about the objectives that could fall under that focus area

Objectives are specific goals that need to be achieved within each focus area. Objectives should be measurable and actionable, and should be based on the organizational needs and the potential risks associated with the focus area. Examples of some objectives for the focus area of Backup & Recovery could be: Ensure data recovery, and Minimize downtime.

3. Set measurable targets (KPIs) to tackle the objective

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that indicate whether or not an objective is being met. KPIs should be measurable, realistic, and have an associated target value. The target values should be tracked and reported on regularly to ensure that the objectives are being met. An example of a KPI for the focus area of Backup & Recovery could be: Reduce data recovery time.

4. Implement related projects to achieve the KPIs

Projects, or actions, are the steps that need to be taken in order to meet the objectives and KPIs associated with each focus area. Projects should be specific and actionable, and should include resources, timelines, and measurable results. An example of a project related to Backup & Recovery could be: Develop data recovery plan.

5. Utilize Cascade Strategy Execution Platform to see faster results from your strategy

Cascade Strategy Execution Platform is a platform designed to help organizations create and execute effective BCPs. By utilizing the platform, organizations can easily track and report on the progress of their IT BCPs, and make sure that their plans are effective and up-to-date.

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Simplified: Fortify Your Business Against Disruption

By Andy Marker | June 22, 2020 (updated September 15, 2022)

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In this article, you’ll find expert tips and implementation guides, and you'll learn how ISO 22301 can buffer your business against disasters. 

Included on this page, you’ll find an International Standards Organization (ISO) 22301 audit checklist template , a simplified ISO 22301 cheat-sheet , and an ISO 22301 self-assessment checklist , as well as examples of ISO 22301 in action and an ISO 22301 quick-start guide .

What Is ISO 22301?

ISO 22301 is a global standard for business continuity planning requirements to help organizations protect themselves against disruptions. The most current version is 22301:2019, Security and resilience - Business continuity management systems - Requirements.

The requirements in ISO 22301 address disruptive incidents that can be natural or human-made, widespread or local, intentional or unintentional, such as a snowstorm, a broken water main, an epidemic, a data breach, or a phishing attack. Large or small, for- and nonprofit organizations alike can use ISO 22301.

The Business Manager’s Quick-Start Guide to ISO 22301

The ISO 22301 standard can provide benefits for your business continuity planning, even if your organization chooses not to pursue certification, or the review process that confirms your business continuity system meets all ISO 22301 requirements. 

"Certification is nice, but not required,” says Mart Rovers of InterProm. “First, seek compliance. That way, you know that your business continuity management practices are in better shape." You can start to create a solid business continuity plan with just a few simple steps, which you can also download as this ISO 22301 Quick-Start Guide .

  • Check If You Already Have Continuity Plans: Find out if your organization already has business continuity plans. Search through your document management system and ask management or long-time employees. Organizations sometimes create and quickly forget about resources, or store responses locally in an informal system.  As Andrew Nichols of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center suggests, if your organization already implements other ISO standards, such as ISO 9001 or ISO 27000, you can leverage some of the common requirement elements for your 22301 plan.
  • Identify Missing Components: Conduct a gap analysis of existing policies and processes to see what business continuity resources you need. According to Mart Rovers, one way to conduct a self-assessment is to copy into a spreadsheet each phrase of the ISO 22301 standard that contains the word "shall." Then, determine gaps between your company and the standard. "Use the standard as your guide to establishing a coherent set of practices to address business continuity management for your organization," says Rovers. You can also use Smartsheet's ISO 22301 Self-Assessment Checklist and ISO 22301 Simplified Cheatsheet for your gap analysis.
  • Keep It Simple: Having binders full of perfectly formatted procedures won’t help in an emergency. Create easy-to-follow guidelines and checklists and, more importantly, build "muscle memory" in your employees through training and drills. That way, in a panic, people understand what to do without having to be told.
  • Make Your Plan a Living Document: Ticking off items on an audit checklist doesn't mean you’re prepared. Frequently read, revise, and practice your plan to keep it relevant and to train new staff.

Alex Fullick

  • Communicate Your Plan to Staff and Other Stakeholders: Even the most well-written plan is useless if the people who can benefit from it don't know about it. Inform everyone covered by the plan that it exists, including your supply chain and other outside stakeholders.

ISO 22301 Requirements

The ISO 22301 standard offers a framework for planning, testing, and monitoring a business continuity management system (BCMS). The ISO 22301 document contains 10 sections, which introduce the standard and definitions, as well as actionable requirements of the standard. 

As with other ISO requirement documents, ISO 22301 describes only what organizations must do to reach minimum proficiency — it does not prescribe how to achieve these standards. Each organization must consider its distinct conditions and obligations to find the best way to follow the requirements.

Here is an overview of the clauses in ISO 22301 that impact an organization most: 

  • Clause 4, Context: Your organization must understand what it is, what it does, and what outputs and processes it must sustain. You must also determine who has a stake in the continuity of your operations — in other words, the interested parties. For example, customers have a stake in your organization continuing to function.
  • Clause 5, Leadership: Few organizational initiatives thrive without the sustained support and championship of top management. Management must commit to a business continuity plan and make available any resources — human, financial, or otherwise — to ensure its success. 
  • Clause 6, Planning: To plan for sustainability, you must understand what disruptions could potentially occur and how these incidents affect the business — in other words, potential risks and their impact. Set measurable business continuity objectives to guarantee the minimum viable products or services, as well as compliance with any legal or regulatory requirements. 
  • Clause 7, Support: No program can advance without resources and support. Decide what personnel, roles, and teams you need for threat response and how you can best enhance their effectiveness. Create internal and external communication procedures for reference, and communicate the continuity plan to all necessary parties before and during a crisis. Establish a document management system for key continuity documents, such as procedures.
  • Clause 8, Operation: Conduct your risk assessment and business impact analysis , and plan your disruption recovery approach. Implement the recovery plan with detailed procedures, and test it regularly to verify that it works. Make sure people can find the procedures (and other documents) they need, and revise your plan as necessary.
  • Clause 9, Evaluation: Establish a process to regularly measure and assess your continuity policies and procedures and their execution. Review and revise your plan and documents to ensure they are effective and relevant
  • Clause 10, Improvement: Seek continual improvement in all functional and operational areas, including through periodic management reviews. Improvements in day-to-day activities help bolster the organization in times of disruption. When processes veer from the standard or fail to conform with ISO and quality management standards, implement corrective action.

Key Definitions Related to ISO 22301

Some of the following key terms and concepts originate with ISO, some with ISO 22301, and some with business continuity and risk management:

  • Context: The purpose and character of the organization and the environment in which it operates. This includes internal and external influences that shape the business continuity management system.
  • Disruptive Incident: A disruptive incident is an event that stops or slows the everyday work of an organization. Examples of disruptive incidents include earthquakes, internet stoppages, broken fans in a data center, or food poisoning in a cafeteria. 
  • Interested Parties: Interested parties are stakeholders in the successful operation and outcomes of your business continuity plan. They can include customers, employees, suppliers, or regulatory officials.
  • Leadership: In ISO 22301, leadership refers to top management or the person or people who run the organization and champion the business continuity effort. 
  • Maximum Acceptable Outage (MAO): The length of time an activity or process can be unavailable or ineffective before the health and survival of the organization are threatened. 
  • Minimum Business Continuity Objective (MBCO) : The lowest level of products or services that is acceptable for a business to offer during a disruption.
  • Recovery Timeframe Objectives (RTO): This refers to the prioritization of key activities and the timing that makes those activities operational.

Benefits of ISO 22301 and Business Continuity Management System

If teams are already overwhelmed with their workload, they may not like to think about disasters. Furthermore, organizations might think that ISO standards include difficult jargon and that pursuing a continuity plan adds unnecessary work. However, management systems practitioners suggest that continuity preparations produce substantial gains.

Andy Nichols

“I think it's a truism that many organizations can benefit from the principles and some of the practices of resiliency and contingency planning,” says Andrew Nichols, Quality Program Manager at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center .

As an example of the benefits that risk analysis and preparation can yield, Nichols relates his experience of visiting a small northeastern town during a widespread winter power outage. The whole town was closed, with the exception of one restaurant that had a generator. 

“They had a line of people out the door every mealtime because nowhere else was capable,” Nichols remembers. “Somebody had the foresight to think about the loss of power. And that organization cleaned up financially because they were able to provide what the customers needed.” 

Consider these specific benefits to using ISO 22301 business continuity planning:

  • Protect against and recover from disruptive incidents.
  • Identify and control current and future threats.
  • Improve your risk management planning efforts.
  • Prevent large-scale damage.
  • Become proactive in preventing problems and recovering from incidents, rather than reactive to damage and disruption.
  • Reduce downtime and increase recovery time.
  • Keep important activities running during disruption.
  • Deliver quality products consistently. 
  • Provide dependable service. 
  • Prove you’re a reputable supplier.
  • Prove your resilience to all stakeholders.

Experts also assert that ISO 22301 can be a simple and effective continuity tool. “All these ISO standards, they’re like hidden gems because of how fast they can get you up to speed without having to reinvent the wheel,” says Mart Rovers, President of IT consulting firm InterProm . 

Mart Rovers

“I cannot emphasize enough how within reach this standard is. Anytime people hear the word ‘ISO,’ they think, ‘Oh, that's for large organizations. Oh, that's way too formal. It's too much. It's overkill.’ I understand where this is coming from because the word ‘standard’ itself is scary for many organizations. However, the size of organization really doesn't matter. The things you should be doing in ISO 22301, you can do at a smaller scale,” says Rovers. 

Some also hesitate at the thought of certification. Both Nichols and Rovers stress that certification is not necessary for every enterprise. Although certification may be a condition of doing business for some companies, those who don’t need certification can still gain advantages from following ISO 22301. 

In weighing the pros and cons of ISO certification, Rovers suggests buying a copy of ISO 22301 , and then copying and pasting each sentence that contains the word “shall” into a spreadsheet (these sentences represent the requirements you must follow). From the spreadsheet, consider whether full ISO adoption and certification are too complicated for your organization. Regardless of your decision, you can always use the spreadsheet to conduct a self-audit.

ISO 22301 in Action

The following image provides a small sample of the possible outcomes to business continuity management.

How a Management System Helps Business Continuity

For those familiar with other ISO standards, the management system component of ISO 22301 might be a new concept. Rovers describes management systems as follows: 

“The best way to explain a management system is to imagine opening up an old watch. It has these spinning wheels, these gears. In the case of an ISO standard, you're looking at a number of requirements to put that watch together with all these spinning wheels. That watch is a coherent system. You take out one of those gears, and then the watch fails. 

“A management system for continuity follows the same idea — every requirement that the standard asks for represents one of those gears. And every requirement serves a distinct purpose (otherwise, it would not be a requirement). If you don't meet a particular requirement, the watch, so to speak, may not function as it could or should. These ISO requirements are not just there to keep you busy.”

ISO 22301 and PDCA

Each segment of the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle for continuous improvement corresponds to at least one ISO 22301 clause. Organizations can use ISO 22301 to test continuity procedures, review outcomes, and implement updates or fix problems in a continuous cycle that leads to an increasingly resilient business continuity system.

PDCA for ISO 22301

ISO 22301 and Maturity Models

A maturity model measures an organization’s ability to pursue continuous improvement in key areas. ISO 22301 does not have a maturity model.

As Rovers explains, “It was never the intent of ISO 22301 to be a maturity model. You either meet all the requirements of the standard, or you don’t. You could say that by not meeting the requirements of the standard, you’re not mature. Or better said, your business continuity management practices are not mature.”

BCM Lifecycle ISO 22301

The business continuity management (BCM) lifecycle represents industry best practices and some of the core requirements of ISO 22301. These practices offer a solid foundation for resilience, while offering flexibility to adapt to changes in the organization. 

Guided by leadership, these are the key activities for the lifecycle:

  • Conduct a business impact analysis and risk assessment.
  • Establish a business continuity strategy.
  • Establish and implement business continuity procedures.
  • Exercise and test the procedures regularly before a disruption occurs.

BCM Lifecycle ISO 22301

ISO 22301 Audit Checklist Template (Excel)

ISO 22301 Audit Checklist Template

Use this detailed checklist to determine if your business continuity plan aligns with ISO 22301 standards. You can use the template whether you’re applying for certification or simply pursuing a continuity management plan. 

Download ISO 22301 Audit Checklist Template

Excel  | Smartsheet

ISO 22301 Self-Assessment Checklist

ISO 22301 Self-Assessment Checklist Template

This self-assessment checklist is divided into sections that correspond to clauses in ISO 22301. Use it to confirm whether your business continuity system meets the requirements for leadership, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation, and continual improvement.

Download ISO 22301 Self-Assessment Checklist Template

Excel | Word |  PDF

ISO 22301 Implementation Guide

ISO 22301 Implementation Guide Template

This guide states the essential information from ISO 22301 in plain English. For best results, read it with the full standard, which is currently available for free online to support the COVID-19 response. 

Download ISO 22301 Implementation Guide Template

Excel | Word | PDF

ISO 22301 Simplified Cheat-Sheet

ISO 22301 Simplified Cheatsheet Template

Use this simplified cheat-sheet to understand the basic elements of creating a business continuity plan. The template walks you through the process of determining critical aspects of your organization, writing the recovery plan, and exercising the plan to ensure proficiency. 

Download ISO 22301 Simplified Cheat-Sheet Template

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Policy Template

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Policy Template

A business continuity policy describes the processes and procedures an organization needs in order to function well daily, including in times of disruption and crisis. This policy template includes space for BCMS objectives, a leadership description, a policy outline, and any certification details.

Download ISO 22301 Business Continuity Policy Template

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Template

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Plan Template

Use this template to create a business continuity plan. Describe the results of your risk analysis and business impact analysis, detail your disaster recovery and continuity procedures, and list key contacts and important assets. 

Download ISO 22301 Business Continuity Template

Word |  PDF

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Sample

The Community Nonprofit Center of New York made available this business continuity template to support the response to coronavirus. Find space to detail responses to minimal and critical emergencies, a risk matrix template, and lists for information about insurance, critical assets, and responses to disruptive events.

For other most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates please read our  "Free Business Continuity Plan Templates"  article.

Disaster Recovery Plan Templates

After you perform a risk analysis and business impact analysis, consider writing a disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery plan templates , available in different formats, provide an easy-to-use structure for documenting continuity plans. Download templates specialized for IT, payroll, small businesses, and more.

To learn about the difference between recovery plans and continuity plans, visit our "Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Their Differences and How They Work Together" article.

ISO 22301 Versus ISO 27301

ISO 27301 provides requirements that organizations use to ensure their information and communications technology (ICT) continuity, security, and readiness to survive a disruption. The standard is often staged with ISO 22301 because both are based on similar management system approaches.

The full name of this standard is ISO 27301 - Information Technology - Security Techniques . Originally published in 2011, it is soon to be revised.

“Both [ISO 27301 and ISO 22301] ask for top management involvement and commitment, both ask that you have the right resources, that you have documentation management, that you do performance evaluations, and that you make improvements,” explains Rovers. 

They differ in the focus of the risk assessment: ISO 27001 addresses security, whereas ISO 22301 addresses business continuity. “Each area has different risks, but the approach to the risk management assessment and mitigation follows the same steps. There's enormous overlap.”

IT security continuity has significant relevance in the remote work environment. For example, while using your work laptop at home or signed into the work network, what happens when someone innocently plugs in a thumb drive that infects your laptop and corrupts the network? Both ISO 22301 and ISO 27001 work together to prevent such incidents and mitigate problems that occur.

For additional resources, visit " Free ISO 27001 Checklists and Templates ."

General Requirements Across Management System Standards

Some ISO requirements are commonly stated across the management system standards, which include ISO 22301; ISO 9001 , Quality Management; ISO 20000, IT Service Management; and ISO 27001, Information Security. Examples of common requirements include establishing objectives for the business continuity management system as appropriate to the organization, obtaining management’s commitment to supporting the system, implementing a documentation management system, conducting internal audits, and pursuing continual improvement. This functional overlap enables organizations to undertake combined audits for these standards.

Historical Foundations of ISO 22301

The concept of business continuity was borne out of the IT boom of the 1980s and 1990s. Public and private organizations realized the need to ensure continuity of service and key supplies and to mitigate the effects of disruptive events. The first formal standard reflecting these concerns was the United Kingdom’s British Standard (also known as BS) 25999, which introduced the management system concept to the business continuity discipline. 

In 2012, the global standards body ISO released ISO 22301:2012 as the first international standard for business continuity. Based on the contributions and comments of continuity professionals from assorted industries in over 60 countries, ISO 22301 superseded BS 25999. 

ISO’s consensus-based standards, such as 22301, cover practices and industries ranging from quality management, IT service, and food safety to environmental safety and information security. ISO standards aim to increase the quality and safety of many products and services, including most common household items, appliances, and cars. Although large enterprises and manufacturers usually follow ISO requirements and guidelines, organizations of all sizes and types can benefit from ISO principles. 

For ISO 22301, the standard provides a consistent BCMS framework and a universal language among organizations for communicating about continuity and aligning processes.

When they get certified in ISO 22301 and other ISO standards, organizations can demonstrate to management, legislators, regulators, customers, and other stakeholders that they follow good practices. For ISO certification, organizations need third-party verification that they comply with all requirements of a standard. 

“Certification shows you have some level of competence,” explains Rovers. “It shows you take the standard seriously. For organizations buying your goods or services, it can be a compelling reason to choose you.”

Guidance Documents for ISO 22301

For in-depth discussions of aspects of the 22301 standard, ISO offers a series of guidance documents. To those considering pursuing ISO 22301 certification, these documents provide additional insight:

  • ISO 22313 - Security and resilience — Business continuity management systems — Guidance on the use of ISO 22301
  • ISO 22316 - Security and resilience — Organizational resilience — Principles and attributes
  • ISO 22317 - Societal security — Business continuity management systems — Guidelines for business impact analysis (BIA)
  • ISO 22318 - Societal security — Business continuity management systems — Guidelines for supply chain continuity
  • ISO 22330 - Security and resilience — Business continuity management systems — Guidelines for people aspects of business continuity
  • ISO 22331 - Security and resilience — Business continuity management systems — Guidelines for business continuity strategy

What Is the Latest Version of ISO 22301?

The requirement document ISO 22301:2019, Security and resilience - Business continuity management systems - Requirements , was released on October 31, 2019. The update from the original 2012 version reflects changes in management system approaches and clarifies specifications around clause 8.

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Article's content

Business continuity planning (bcp), what is business continuity.

In an IT context, business continuity is the capability of your enterprise to stay online and deliver products and services during disruptive events, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks and communication failures.

The core of this concept is the business continuity plan — a defined strategy that includes every facet of your organization and details procedures for maintaining business availability.

Start with a business continuity plan

Business continuity management starts with planning how to maintain your critical functions (e.g., IT, sales and support) during and after a disruption.

A business continuity plan (BCP) should comprise the following element

1. Threat Analysis

The identification of potential disruptions, along with potential damage they can cause to affected resources. Examples include:

Threat Potential impact
Power outage Inability to access servers
Natural disaster Critical infrastructure damage
Illness Widespread employee absences
Cyberattack Data theft and network downtime
Vendor error Inability to execute integrated business functions

2. Role assignment

Every organization needs a well-defined chain of command and substitute plan to deal with absence of staff in a crisis scenario. Employees must be cross-trained on their responsibilities so as to be able to fill in for one another.

Internal departments (e.g., marketing, IT, human resources) should be broken down into teams based on their skills and responsibilities. Team leaders can then assign roles and duties to individuals according to your organization’s threat analysis.

3. Communications

A communications strategy details how information is disseminated immediately following and during a disruptive event, as well as after it has been resolved.

Your strategy should include:

  • Methods of communication (e.g., phone, email, text messages)
  • Established points of contact (e.g., managers, team leaders, human resources) responsible for communicating with employees
  • Means of contacting employee family members, media, government regulators, etc.

From electrical power to communications and data, every critical business component must have an adequate backup plan that includes:

  • Data backups to be stored in different locations. This prevents the destruction of both the original and backup copies at the same time. If necessary, offline copies should be kept as well.
  • Backup power sources, such as generators and inverters that are provisioned to deal with power outages.
  • Backup communications (e.g., mobile phones and text messaging to replace land lines) and backup services (e.g., cloud email services to replace on-premise servers).

Load balancing business continuity

Load balancing  maintains business continuity by distributing incoming requests across multiple backend servers in your data center. This provides redundancy in the event of a server failure, ensuring continuous application uptime.

In contrast to the reactive measures used in failover and  disaster recovery  (described below) load balancing is a preventative measure.  Health monitoring  tracks server availability, ensuring accurate load distribution at all times—including during disruptive events.

Disaster recovery plan (DCP) – Your second line of defense

Even the most carefully thought out business continuity plan is never completely foolproof. Despite your best efforts, some disasters simply cannot be mitigated. A disaster recovery plan (DCP) is a second line of defense that enables you to bounce back from the worst disruptions with minimal damage.

As the name implies, a disaster recovery plan deals with the restoration of operations after a major disruption. It’s defined by two factors: RTO and  RPO .

disaster recovery plan

  • Recovery time objective (RTO)  – The acceptable downtime for critical functions and components, i.e., the maximum time it should take to restore services. A different RTO should be assigned to each of your business components according to their importance (e.g., ten minutes for network servers, an hour for phone systems).
  • Recovery point objective (RPO)  – The point to which your state of operations must be restored following a disruption. In relation to backup data, this is the oldest age and level of staleness it can have. For example, network servers updated hourly should have a maximum RPO of 59 minutes to avoid data loss.

Deciding on specific RTOs and RPOs helps clearly show the technical solutions needed to achieve your recovery goals. In most cases the decision is going to boil down to choosing the right failover solution.

See how Imperva Load Balancer can help you with business continuity planning.

Choosing the right failover solutions

Failover  is the switching between primary and backup systems in the event of failure, outage or downtime. It’s the key component of your disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

A failover system should address both RTO and RPO goals by keeping backup infrastructure and data at the ready. Ideally, your failover solution should seamlessly kick in to insulate end users from any service degradation.

When choosing a solution, the two most important aspects to consider are its technological prowess and its service level agreement (SLA). The latter is often a reflection of the former.

For an IT organization charged with the business continuity of a website or web application, there are three failover options:

  • Hardware solutions  – A separate set of servers, set up and maintained internally, are kept on-premise to come online in the event of failure. However, note that keeping such servers at the same location makes them potentially susceptible to being taken down by the same disaster/disturbance.
  • DNS services  – DNS services are often used in conjunction with hardware solutions to redirect traffic to a backup server(s) at an external data center. A downside of this setup includes  TTL-related delays  that can prevent seamless disaster recovery. Additionally, managing both DNS and internal data center hardware failover solutions is time consuming and complicated.
  • On-edge services  – On-edge failover is a managed solution operating from off-prem (e.g., from the  CDN  layer). Such solutions are more affordable and, most importantly, have no TTL reliance, resulting in near-instant failover that allows you to meet the most aggressive RTO goals.

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How to create a business continuity plan

Having a plan can mean the difference between recovery and disaster

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While everyone would like to believe their organisation will never run into a disaster, it's essential to plan for it so that your business can come out on the other side - and with our IT architectures becoming more and more complex, it's especially important to have a business continuity plan.

A business continuity plan is a document outlining a business' operations in the event of a disruption such as a data breach or outage.

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More than just a plan for getting IT systems back up, it includes contingencies for every aspect of the business that could be affected, with the aim of keeping the entire ecosystem of critical business functions working. This might include checklists, contact information for plan administrators and backup providers, and steps for short- versus long-term outages.

You will also want to consider having plans for various types of disruptions. The pandemic is one major disruption that comes to mind, and the probability of further pandemics is only increasing. Despite 61% of UK organisations having a business continuity plan in place pre-pandemic, only a third of all organisations had a pandemic-specific plan, meaning many businesses ground to a halt and suffered loss of revenue and/or data breaches.

Even small disruptions can have a costly effect, so having a plan in place can mitigate loss of revenue.

Why have a business continuity plan?

There are a wide range of reasons why an organisation should have a business continuity plan put in place.

Firstly, it is a communication tool. Having a plan in place means that everyone will know what to do in an emergency. In a disaster, if someone doesn't know what role they need to play, the risks aren't going to be mitigated.

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Secondly, it means that your organisation is proactive. When disaster strikes, people will know what to do instead of trying to figure out things as they go along. This also helps manage any negative impact on the company's reputation; it may be difficult to avoid data breaches entirely, but demonstrating preparedness will make clients more understanding.

Four tips for keeping your business secure during mass remote work

Thirdly, having a plan means that you have a good chance of recovering from disaster . When you protect mission-critical parts of a business, there is a good chance of survival and staff morale will be higher for it.

Not only does having a plan increase your chances of recovering from an incident, but it also reduces the likelihood of you having another one. Businesses that don't have a business continuity plan are 32.3% likely to have a data breach at some point over the next two years, but this falls to 23.4% for businesses with a plan, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Finally, a business continuity plan can reduce the time it takes to identify and contain the data breach incident, especially if staff have a structured plan to follow. It significantly minimises disruption if teams are aware what steps they need to take to keep the business up and running.

What's in a business continuity plan?

A plan should provide a roadmap for employees so they know what to do when things go bad. Such a plan should include the following.

Threat analysis natural disasters, such as a flood can destroy IT infrastructure, while a cybersecurity hack can put your network offline but not affect personnel. Bombs could kill people and destroy equipment. It's important to cover what to do for all major possible threats.

How much will a data breach really damage your organisation’s reputation?

Who's responsible when disaster strikes, an organisation should have a list of personnel to contact and what they role in a continuity plan will be. An organisation should also keep contact details of external services, such as police, fire, etc.

Plan a backup it is important to have a backup of important data offsite away from where an organisation is based. There should also be consideration given to backup power supplies. In addition to uninterruptible power supplies, one should also consider what to do if the power will be out for a considerable amount of time.

Alternative comms and operational sites if you have no telephones or internet, you need to plan how you will keep in contact with customers, employees and others. A plan should also cover how and where to set up operations in an alternative location.

Increasingly, organisations are putting in place formal disaster recovery (DR) processes as part of their business continuity plans.

A global study into DR processes in 2018 showed that 39% of companies had an automated DR process in place, up from just 16% in 2017. Using automated processes like this to get your business up and running in the event of a breach is a good way to make significant cost savings.

Managing a business continuity plan

Managing a business continuity plan means keeping it up to date, changing details to ensure they are correct. It is also important to review the impact of new processes, systems and technology on a regular basis and add these to the original plan.

Best data recovery tools 2021: Restore your lost files

Those responsible for the plan should also make sure that all employees that could be affected by a disruption to the business have read and understood the plan, what their role in the implementation is and how the plan will be executed. Even non-essential personnel should be informed about such things as building evacuation measures, as well as emergency locations.

In the event of a breach, the business continuity plan should be reviewed and adapted if necessary to further minimise disruption in the future.

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on  Twitter .

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  • Business Continuity Plan Basics
  • Understanding BCPs
  • Benefits of BCPs
  • How to Create a BCP
  • BCP & Impact Analysis
  • BCP vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Business Continuity Plan FAQs

The Bottom Line

What is a business continuity plan (bcp), and how does it work.

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What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)? 

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.

Key Takeaways

  • Business continuity plans (BCPs) are prevention and recovery systems for potential threats, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks.
  • BCP is designed to protect personnel and assets and make sure they can function quickly when disaster strikes.
  • BCPs should be tested to ensure there are no weaknesses, which can be identified and corrected.

Understanding Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)

BCP involves defining any and all risks that can affect the company's operations, making it an important part of the organization's risk management strategy. Risks may include natural disasters—fire, flood, or weather-related events—and cyber-attacks . Once the risks are identified, the plan should also include:

  • Determining how those risks will affect operations
  • Implementing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
  • Testing procedures to ensure they work
  • Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date

BCPs are an important part of any business. Threats and disruptions mean a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition. It is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel.

Business impact analysis, recovery, organization, and training are all steps corporations need to follow when creating a Business Continuity Plan.

Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic. Business continuity planning is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of major disasters such as fires. BCPs are different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's information technology system after a crisis.

Consider a finance company based in a major city. It may put a BCP in place by taking steps including backing up its computer and client files offsite. If something were to happen to the company's corporate office, its satellite offices would still have access to important information.

An important point to note is that BCP may not be as effective if a large portion of the population is affected, as in the case of a disease outbreak. Nonetheless, BCPs can improve risk management—preventing disruptions from spreading. They can also help mitigate downtime of networks or technology, saving the company money.

How To Create a Business Continuity Plan

There are several steps many companies must follow to develop a solid BCP. They include:

  • Business Impact Analysis : Here, the business will identify functions and related resources that are time-sensitive. (More on this below.)
  • Recovery : In this portion, the business must identify and implement steps to recover critical business functions.
  • Organization : A continuity team must be created. This team will devise a plan to manage the disruption.
  • Training : The continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should also complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies.

Companies may also find it useful to come up with a checklist that includes key details such as emergency contact information, a list of resources the continuity team may need, where backup data and other required information are housed or stored, and other important personnel.

Along with testing the continuity team, the company should also test the BCP itself. It 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 corrected.

In order for a business continuity plan to be successful, all employees—even those who aren't on the continuity team—must be aware of the plan.

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis. It identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers who are well acquainted with the business. These worksheets will summarize the following:

  • The impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and process
  • Identifying when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts

Completing the analysis can help companies identify and prioritize the processes that have the most impact on the business's financial and operational functions. The point at which they must be recovered is generally known as the “recovery time objective.”

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

BCPs and disaster recovery plans are similar in nature, the latter focuses on technology and information technology (IT) infrastructure. BCPs are more encompassing—focusing on the entire organization, such as customer service and supply chain. 

BCPs focus on reducing overall costs or losses, while disaster recovery plans look only at technology downtimes and related costs. Disaster recovery plans tend to involve only IT personnel—which create and manage the policy. However, BCPs tend to have more personnel trained on the potential processes. 

Why Is Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Important?

Businesses are prone to a host of disasters that vary in degree from minor to catastrophic and business continuity plans (BCPs) are an important part of any business. BCP is typically meant to help a company continue operating in the event of threats and disruptions. This could result in a loss of revenue and higher costs, which leads to a drop in profitability. And businesses can't rely on insurance alone because it doesn't cover all the costs and the customers who move to the competition.

What Should a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Include?

Business continuity plans involve identifying any and all risks that can affect the company's operations. The plan should also determine how those risks will affect operations and implement safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks. There should also be testing procedures to ensure these safeguards and procedures work. Finally, there should be a review process to make sure that the plan is up to date.

What Is Business Continuity Impact Analysis?

An important part of developing a BCP is a business continuity impact analysis which identifies the effects of disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses the information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

FEMA provides an operational and financial impact worksheet to help run a business continuity analysis.

These worksheets summarize the impacts—both financial and operational—that stem from the loss of individual business functions and processes. They also identify when the loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts.

Business continuity plans (BCPs) are created to help speed up the recovery of an organization filling a threat or disaster. The plan puts in place mechanisms and functions to allow personnel and assets to minimize company downtime. BCPs cover all organizational risks should a disaster happen, such as flood or fire.  

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15 - 17.

Ready. “ IT Disaster Recovery Plan .”

Federal Emergency Management Agency. " Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis User Guide ." Pages 15-17.

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9 Professional Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Templates

9 Professional Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Templates

Written by: Idorenyin Uko

9 Professional Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Templates

Crises are inevitable in business—be it natural disasters, pandemics, human error, system failures or other unforeseen events. PwC's 2023 Global Crisis and Resilience Survey revealed that 96% of business leaders encountered disruption in the past two years and 76% stated that the impact on operations was medium to high.

As a business leader who wants to stay ahead of the game, resilience should be a top priority. You don’t want to get caught off guard during disruptions—you could lose thousands of dollars or your reputation could take a hit. That’s why it's super important to create a business continuity plan that helps you proactively anticipate and respond to crises.

A well-crafted business continuity plan (BCP) template is your organization's roadmap for surviving unexpected disruptions. It outlines the steps necessary to keep your business operational during and after a crisis.

In this article, we’ll provide nine professional business continuity plan templates to get you started and cover how to create an effective business continuity plan.

Table of Contents

What is a business continuity plan, what should a business continuity plan include, types of business continuity, how to write a business continuity plan, business continuity plan faqs.

  • A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a document that outlines the procedures an organization must follow during a disaster or other significant event that may disrupt business operations.
  • A disaster recovery plan aims to restore IT infrastructure, systems and operations after a crisis. In contrast, a business continuity plan is designed to ensure that essential business functions are available during and after a crisis, including personnel, facilities, processes and technology.
  • There are different types of business continuity, such as operational, technology, economic, workforce, safety, environmental, security, reputation management and regulatory and compliance continuity.
  • Follow these business continuity planning steps to prepare for uncertainties: assemble a team, define your goals and scope, engage key personnel in different departments, identify critical business functions and threats, analyze the impact of each threat and conduct a business impact analysis.
  • Visme provides a wide range of professionally designed templates, AI tools, an online whiteboard, analytics and advanced features for efficient business continuity planning. Create a team account to collaborate with stakeholders, brainstorm and create a plan that is robust and easy to implement and update.

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a playbook that explains the procedures your company must follow to maintain or resume operations in the event of a risk or crisis. These risks may include cyberattacks, civic unrest, human errors, pandemics, natural disasters or other threats.

This plan covers your essential business processes, human resources, assets, business partners and more. It also specifies the systems and processes that need to be sustained and describes how to maintain them to minimize downtime during unplanned events.

With a solid BCP plan, your team can quickly respond to risks and crises, reduce downtime, maintain customer confidence and protect your brand reputation. It also helps your company continue to meet its obligations to customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

A business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan are both essential components of any company's risk management strategy. Together, they are considered business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR).

However, they are not the same!

A disaster recovery plan focuses on restoring IT infrastructure, systems and operations after a crisis, while a business continuity plan covers all aspects of business operations, including personnel, facilities, processes and technology.

That said, a disaster recovery plan is a crucial element for maintaining business continuity. And the action items in your organization's disaster recovery plan should be informed by the business continuity plan.

If you want your business continuity plan to be effective, remember to incorporate these key components.

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  • Business Impact Analysis (BIA): This section should pinpoint the critical business functions—the essential processes and activities that keep your business running. You should also determine business processes that can be interrupted without major consequences.
  • Risk Assessment or Threat Analysis: In this section, identify potential threats or risks that could disrupt these essential processes. These could include natural disasters (floods, fires, etc), cyberattacks, power outages or a global pandemic. Then, prioritize these threats based on their likelihood of occurring and the potential severity of their impact.
  • Continuity Strategies and Procedures: Develop detailed plans for recovering critical business functions after a disruption. This may include communication protocols, data backup and recovery procedures, alternative work arrangements, evacuation plans, emergency contacts, etc. Be sure to address all aspects of business continuity, including people, processes, facilities and technology.
  • Business Continuity Testing and Maintenance: Your plan should include regular testing and maintenance of your business continuity strategy. Business continuity exercises—like simulations and drills—are great for spotting weaknesses and making sure your strategy is effective and reliable. Conduct these exercises regularly and update the plan periodically based on what you’ve learned from them or to reflect changes in your business, technology and the threat landscape.
  • Crisis Management/Recovery Team: In your plan, assemble a recovery team responsible for implementing the BCP during a crisis. Outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member, along with the training and resources required to handle crisis situations. The team should have regular meetings to go over the business continuity plan and identify any adjustments to be made.
  • Employee Training and Awareness: It is essential that all members of the business recovery team receive training so they know what to do before, during and after an emergency. Your plan should highlight the type of training they need, the resources needed to implement it and how to assess its effectiveness.
  • Crisis Communication Plan: Establish internal and external communication protocols during a crisis. Outline who will be responsible for communicating with employees, customers, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders. Also, describe how information will be disseminated—text, email, social media, phone call, etc.
  • Backup or Alternative Work Locations: The business continuity plan should include a list of alternate locations where operations can continue if primary facilities are inaccessible and the details of those locations. Don't forget to list any physical assets, like computers needed at the backup location to keep things running smoothly.
  • Technology : Explain how you’ll maintain access to critical systems like emergency power, data backup and redundant systems in your plan.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Review: Establish a process for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the BCP on an ongoing basis. This includes updating the plan to reflect changes in the business environment, technology or regulatory requirements.
  • Documentation and Documentation Management: Maintain detailed documentation of the BCP, including policies, procedures and contact information. Ensure that this documentation is readily accessible to key personnel and regularly updated as needed.
  • Operational Continuity: This type of continuity plan focuses on ensuring services, processes and infrastructure required for operations continue to function during and after a disruption. Operational continuity helps minimize downtime and financial losses.
  • Technology Continuity: For companies that heavily depend on technology, this continuity plan keeps their IT systems and data (networks, servers, databases and applications) up and running and secure. IT continuity plans typically include strategies for data backup, system redundancy and recovery procedures.
  • Economic Continuity: This continuity plan guarantees that your business will remain financially stable, liquid and profitable in times of disruption. It involves taking steps to ensure the organization is prepared to withstand potential scenarios that may negatively impact your bottom line such as accessing emergency funds, managing cash flow and securing lines of credit.
  • Workforce Continuity: This plan involves having enough employees with the right skills and knowledge to handle the workload, especially during times of crisis. Workforce continuity plans may include company succession planning , cross-training employees, implementing remote work options or leveraging technology to automate specific tasks.
  • Safety Continuity: Safety continuity addresses the well-being and safety of employees during a disruption. This involves guaranteeing their safety, providing support services, creating a comfortable work environment and ensuring employees have the tools they need to succeed.
  • Environmental Continuity: This type of BCP ensures your team can operate effectively and safely in their work environment. Environmental continuity may include identifying potential threats to your physical office or headquarters and developing response strategies to protect against natural disasters, fires or other hazards that could disrupt operations.
  • Security Continuity: Security resilience is about maintaining the safety and security of employees, critical assets and information during disruptions, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, etc. Security continuity strategies include implementing redundant security measures, creating backup systems, identity and access management, securing endpoint devices, regular security awareness training and developing incident response plans.
  • Reputation Management: This plan focuses on protecting and preserving the organization's reputation and brand image during and after a crisis. Reputation management plans include strategies for managing public perception, addressing negative publicity and rebuilding stakeholder trust.
  • Regulatory and Compliance Continuity: This business continuity plan addresses compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards during and after a disruption. These may include strategies for ensuring ongoing compliance, maintaining documentation and addressing any regulatory issues that may arise.

9 Business Continuity Plan Templates

Here are nine business continuity templates you can customize to fit your branding and business planning needs.

1. General Business Continuity Plan

Basic Business Continuity Plan

This lilac-themed business continuity plan is the perfect tool to prepare your company for risks or unplanned disruptions. It has dedicated sections for key contacts, communication guidelines, threat analysis, recovery phases and training and awareness.

By filling out these sections, stakeholders have a set of guidelines and procedures to follow during emergencies. You can adapt it to suit your company’s risk management strategy—no matter your business size or niche.

Each page of this plan is decorated with stunning visuals and graphics that drive visual appeal and hook your audience until the end. This template is customizable—you can edit content, change images, apply custom colors and add or remove pages.

Invite stakeholders to view, comment on or edit this plan in real time or asynchronously with Visme’s collaboration tool . Team members can also leave feedback, reply to or resolve comments.

Use the workflow tool to assign roles or different sections of the plan for team members to work on and manage progress, deadlines and corrections—all in one place.

 2. Business Continuity Plan Flow Chart

Business Continuity Plan Flow Chart

Unlike our previous example, this template is packed with stunning visuals, flowcharts and tables that illustrate your business continuity plan.

This business continuity plan example outlines the different stages of managing hard failure, from impact analysis to risk assessment and preventive measures. You’ll also find information on critical functions and key contacts and resources.

Notice how the first flowchart illustrates the link between different business functions and their threat types. There's also a table that lists the threat type, likelihood and impact. With Visme, you can easily visualize any business process with flowcharts , diagrams , charts , graphs , maps and other data visualization tools .

From a design perspective, this template is incredible. The visual hierarchy is top-notch and beautifully executed. The white text on a dark background creates a striking visual contrast that grabs readers’ attention and guides their eyes to the most important information.

3. Construction Business Continuity Plan

Construction Business Continuity Plan

If you run a construction firm, this business continuity plan has everything you need to enhance your company’s resilience. It outlines all the procedures for responding to different scenarios, ensuring your company can continue operations even during adverse conditions.

This template isn’t set in stone. With our intuitive editor, you can easily adapt it to similar industries, such as architecture, engineering, project management, manufacturing, real estate development and more. This plan accounts for the project transition protocol, stakeholder communication plan, project review status, team support and training and contingency measures to be taken during a crisis.

The fusion of geometric shapes and a contemporary design layout will give your document a dynamic flair. Moreover, the black, white and red color blend creates a visually striking aesthetic.

4. Business Continuity Plan Framework

Business Continuity Plan Framework

Use this business continuity framework to protect your company’s reputation. It demonstrates you have taken proactive steps to ensure operational continuity in the event of a disaster. You can replicate it to address other business continuity types such as technology, workforce, security or safety.

This template features key sections of your BCP framework: introduction and conclusions, key contacts, incident response, resource allocation, review and improvement.

The contemporary design grabs attention with its sleek layout and excellent typography, setting the stage for a fantastic reading experience.

But it's not just about aesthetics. The use of stunning images and visual assets helps illustrate the plan's critical components. Visme has an extensive library of graphics and visual assets, such as 2D and 3D icons , shapes, lines, 3D characters, stock photos and videos to make your BCP engaging and easy to understand.

5. SaaS One Pager Business Continuity Plan

SaaS Business Continuity Plan

Prepare for any emergencies or disruptions, such as application downtime, in your company's operations with this stunning BCP framework. This template—designed with SaaS, tech or e-commerce companies in mind—is here to help you plan for the worst and ensure your business stays up and running.

Not only does it mark the threat level as high, but it visualizes each phase of your BCP, objectives and action plan for each phase in a table format.

With its user-friendly business continuity plan checklist, you can easily prioritize operations and responses, identify critical recovery phases and create a complete restoration plan.

Do you have a draft of your plan in a Google Sheet or Microsoft Excel? Rather than filling out your table manually, you can copy and paste data into your project. You also have the option to embed your table or connect it to live data . Feel free to change the table theme or design, edit headers and cells and more.

6. Cybersecurity Business Continuity Plan

Cyber Security Business Continuity Plan

Use this cyber security business continuity plan to minimize the impact of cyber attacks or other security breaches. It ensures critical business operations can continue in the face of a security incident. With a subtle mix of white and accent colors, this template creates a minimalist look that draws the reader’s eye to your message without distractions.

The document starts with an intro that explains what the BCP is about. It further outlines roles and contact details for key personnel as well as internal and external communication guidelines.

Next up is the threat analysis and risk management plan and contracts for suppliers and partners. The final part of this IT continuity plan explains the recovery phases, procedures for responding to cybersecurity incidents and a training and awareness plan.

Remember to customize this plan to align your company’s branding with Visme’s Brand Design Tool . This sends a message that continuity planning is an integral part of your company's values and operations, rather than just a generic set of procedures.

To do this, just input your website URL; the wizard will pull in brand assets and save them in your brand kit . That way, you don’t have to manually add them every time you create a design. The best part is that you’ll have beautiful, branded templates crafted specifically for you.

7. Healthcare One Page Business Continuity Plan

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Disruptions in healthcare operations can have severe consequences not just for your patients but also to your reputation. Even during a crisis, you can’t compromise on the availability of medical supplies, equipment and critical personnel.

This business continuity plan is the key to ensuring you aren’t caught off guard. It prepares you for events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks or disease outbreaks while minimizing the disruption to patient care.

This one-page business continuity plan analyzes the impact of each natural disaster, along with an immediate recovery strategy and long-term plan—all in a tabular format. With this detailed plan, you can keep critical systems and processes operational and continue to provide essential care and services during and after a crisis or disaster.

Keep stakeholders engaged and enhance their experience with animation and interactive elements like links, popups, hover effects, animated icons, illustrations and special effects. For example, you can link your one-pager to a website or document that contains detailed information about the plan.

8. Nonprofit Business Continuity Plan

Nonprofit Business Continuity Plan

Nonprofits need a continuity plan to continue serving their communities even in the face of adversity. This business continuity plan is designed to minimize the impact of unexpected events so your organization can continue operations and fulfill its mission.

This business continuity gap analysis template thoroughly details the organization’s financial status, cost reduction strategies, fundraising opportunities and grants, communication and transparency with stakeholders and continuous review and revisions of the plan.

If you need help tailoring the content to your project, take advantage of Visme’s AI Writer . Input a detailed prompt and watch the tool generate high-quality drafts, proofread your existing text or modify the tone to appeal to your audience.

9. Roles and Responsibilities Business Continuity Plan

Roles and Responsibilities Business Continuity Plan

This business continuity plan for leadership change is crucial for succession planning . With this template, your organization can continue operations smoothly, even during a transition period.

In this template, you will find the details for key contacts, a transition planning strategy, service delivery continuity and financial stability. Use it as a reference to guide and prepare for unexpected events that could impact leadership or key roles, such as sudden illness or other unforeseen circumstances.

This BCP design template is a stunning work of art. From the color scheme to the layout, every element is crafted to evoke emotions. Each page has beautiful visuals that strike the perfect balance between professionalism and aesthetic appeal.

Download the report in PDF or image format and share it offline with stakeholders. Alternatively, generate a shareable online URL or HTML code to embed it on your landing page or website.

Monitor how your readers engage with your plan using Visme Analytics . Gain insight into metrics, such as views, unique visits, average time and average completion.

A well-crafted business continuity plan (BCP) is your organization's roadmap for surviving unexpected disruptions— big or small.

However, business continuity management is not just about putting together a checklist of actions.

To truly prepare for the unexpected, you must approach BCP development with a proactive, strategic and intentional mindset.

In this section, we’ll break down the steps involved in writing an effective business continuity plan.

1. Assemble a Business Continuity Team

Start by forming a dedicated team responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining your business continuity plan.

Your team should work together to identify potential risks, develop plans for mitigating those risks, test them and be ready to implement them in the event of a crisis. It's important to ensure that the team is diverse, well-trained and has the resources to manage a crisis effectively.

This team should include representatives from various departments across your organization, such as IT, operations, human resources, finance, communications and legal. It’s advisable to have a high-level executive, such as a CEO, COO or CFO, who will not only provide leadership and support but also act as a link between company executives and the rest of the team.

Appoint a dedicated BCP coordinator or manager who will serve as the primary point of contact for the BCP team and coordinate activities across departments. You’ll also need a communications expert to handle information sharing related to the plan. Depending on your company size, you may need to bring in risk management experts, external consultants or advisors.

2. Define the Goals and Scope of the Business Continuity Plan

A well-defined Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should spell out what you aim to achieve, what your plan will cover and specific benchmarks for success.

For example, your goal(s) could be to minimize downtime for critical business functions, protect essential data and IT infrastructure from loss or damage, ensure the safety and well-being of employees during a crisis and minimize financial losses caused by disruptions.

Your scope should discuss the breadth and limitations of your plan. What type of disruption does it cover—natural disasters, cyberattacks, power outages? Which business functions are included—IT, finance or customer service? What level of detail will be provided—a high-level overview or step-by-step procedures?

Defining your goals and scope provides clear direction for the recovery team and ensures that your BCP aligns with the overall business objectives.

3. Engage Key Personnel in Different Departments

For your BCP to work, all different departments in your organization need to get involved and work together. This ensures all aspects of the business are considered and potential risks or vulnerabilities are properly addressed.

Start by mapping your critical business functions and identifying the departments that support them. Within each department, pinpoint key personnel who play a crucial role in those functions.

Then, hold brainstorming sessions with these key personnel using Visme’s online whiteboard . The goal is to learn about their key processes, the systems and applications that support your operations, the potential threats they might face, and to develop recovery strategies relevant to that department. This collaborative approach ensures that resources are allocated to the most critical areas.

4. Identify Critical Business Functions and Threats

After gathering insights from brainstorming or interview sessions, develop a list of your organization's critical functions, processes and activities. These functions will vary depending on the industry, size and nature of the organization.

Once you’ve identified critical business functions, carefully assess and analyze the potential threats that could impact them. Threats can come from various sources, such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, supply chain disruptions, financial crises,  human errors and even more specific threats like losing a key supplier.

5. Analyze the Impact of Each Threat

Next, evaluate how each threat could disrupt your operations, considering factors like data loss, physical damage or employee displacement.

Evaluate the probability that each risk could occur by reviewing historical data, industry reports and expert opinions. Then, evaluate the potential impact of each risk on business operations.

When assessing the financial, operational and reputational impact of each risk, you may want to consider these questions:

  • What is the potential impact on the company's reputation and brand image?
  • How much revenue will be lost during the downtime?
  • What are the potential costs of mitigating the risk?
  • How would the risk affect the company's operations, such as production or delivery?
  • How many stakeholders, suppliers or customers will lose confidence in the company?

Prioritize threats based on their likelihood of occurring and potential severity of impact. This activity will help you prioritize the most critical areas and develop appropriate mitigation strategies.

6. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

The BIA analysis helps you determine the maximum tolerable downtime (RTO) and acceptable amount of data loss (RPO) for each function. It analyzes the critical business functions within your organization, the major resources they utilize, their operational dependencies and the average time required for each function.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) refers to the maximum amount of time that a system, network or application can be down after a disruption or failure before the resulting impact becomes unacceptable.

The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the maximum amount of data loss an organization can withstand in the event of a disaster or system failure.

Every organization has a unique Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). It all depends on the nature of its business, the industry it operates in, any regulatory requirements it needs to comply with and other operational factors.

What's more, different parts of a business can even have different RTOs and RPOs, which is why executives need to set them up based on their specific needs. This analysis helps prioritize your recovery efforts based on what's essential to keep your business running.

7. Develop Recovery Strategies for Each Risk

For each identified threat, develop detailed recovery strategies to ensure critical business functions can resume as quickly as possible.

For example, this might involve workforce redundancy plans, data backup and recovery procedures, alternative communication channels and plans for relocating operations to a backup site if necessary.

8. Document the Plan

Now that you have all the information you need for your business continuity plan (BCP), the next step is to draft it in a user-friendly format. That’s the beauty of pre-made templates—they can help you save time and effort.

Our templates are designed by professionals and include placeholder content that can inspire and fuel your creativity.

To get started, we recommend that you choose one of the templates we’ve shared above and customize it to meet your specific needs using Visme’s intuitive editor. You can easily edit the content, replace images, apply custom colors, input your fonts and logo and much more.

If you’re racing against the clock and need to create your BCP quickly, consider using Visme’s AI Document Generator . Write a detailed prompt explaining what you want to create, choose the design theme and watch the tool produce a plan with ready-made design and content.

If you’re creating BCPs for different risks or processes, duplicate the template and use our Dynamic Fields feature to do that.

Just create custom fields on each plan and you can make changes to multiple documents with a single click.

When drafting your plan, it’s essential to ensure that it is easily accessible to all relevant personnel and outlines the roles and responsibilities of team members during a crisis. That way, everyone knows their specific duties and responsibilities, increasing the chances of a successful response during a crisis.

9. Test and Revise the Plan

A BCP is only effective if it's tested regularly. Conduct tabletop exercises, simulations and drills to test the effectiveness of the BCP, identify weaknesses and ensure everyone understands their roles. Evaluate your company’s response to various scenarios and identify areas for improvement.

The BCP is a living document. Based on the outcomes of testing and exercises, document flaws and lessons learned and use them to update the BCP accordingly. Likewise, review and update it periodically to reflect changes in your business environment, technology or regulatory requirements.

Moreover, regularly train your employees on their roles and responsibilities during a crisis. Ensure they understand how to access and implement the BCP during a disruption. Read this article to learn how to create a successful training program that not only educates but engages your employees.

Q. Why Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Important?

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is important because it helps your organization prepare for, respond to and recover from unexpected events that could disrupt normal business operations.

BCPs outline the procedures and strategies a company should follow during a disaster, such as a cyber attack, natural disaster or any other unforeseen event that could affect the organization's ability to operate normally.

By having a BCP in place, businesses can minimize the impact of a disruption and quickly resume operations, which can help reduce downtime, prevent financial losses and ultimately protect the organization's reputation.

Q. Who Is Responsible for a Business Continuity Plan?

A business Continuity Plan (BCP) typically falls under senior management or a designated team within an organization.

This team is responsible for identifying potential risks and threats that could impact the organization's operations, developing a BCP that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a disruption and ensuring that the plan is regularly reviewed and updated.

In some cases, organizations may choose to hire external consultants or engage with third-party service providers to develop and implement a BCP.

Q. How Often Should You Create a Business Continuity Plan?

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should be created, reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

The frequency of reviews and updates will depend on several factors, including the size and complexity of your organization, the level of risk it faces and any changes to the business environment or regulatory landscape.

Many organizations review their BCPs annually, while others may opt for a more frequent review cycle, such as quarterly or bi-annually. However, you need to update it whenever there are significant changes to your organization's operations, such as introducing new products or services, changes in the workforce or modifications to IT systems.

Q. Why Do Business Continuity Plans Fail?

Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) can fail for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Insufficient planning: Failure to recognize all possible risks and threats, unrealistic assumptions regarding the consequences of a disruption or neglecting the requirements of key stakeholders.
  • Poor communication: Communication breakdown can lead to a poor execution of the plan. Employees may not be aware of their roles and responsibilities or may not have the information required to make informed decisions during a crisis.
  • Failure to Test the BCP: Not regularly testing and updating the BCP through drills, exercises or simulations can result in an inability to recognize weaknesses or gaps in the plan.
  • Lack of resources: A lack of resources, including funding and personnel, can also contribute to the failure of a BCP, as it may be difficult to implement and maintain the plan without adequate support.
  • Overlooking human factors: BCPs that fail to account for human factors, such as panic, fatigue, or misinformation during emergencies, may struggle to manage the psychological and behavioral aspects of crisis response.

Q. How Long Does It Take to Create a Business Continuity Plan?

The time it takes to create a business continuity plan can vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization. Generally, it can take several weeks to several months to develop a comprehensive plan. With Visme’s AI document generator, you can create one in a fraction of the time.

Q. What Are the Six Phases of Business Continuity Planning?

The six phases of business continuity planning are as follows:

  • Project initiation and management: This phase involves identifying the scope of the business continuity plan and selecting a team to oversee its development and implementation.
  • Risk assessment: This phase involves identifying potential risks and hazards that could disrupt business operations and analyzing their potential impact.
  • Business impact analysis: Once potential risks have been identified, the next step is to conduct a business impact analysis to understand the possible consequences of a disruption to different areas of the organization.
  • Design and development of the business continuity plan: This phase is where you create the business continuity plan, which includes detailed procedures and protocols to be followed in the event of a disruption. It also covers all areas of the organization and outlines the roles and responsibilities of each team member.
  • Testing and training: It is crucial to test and train employees on the business continuity plan to ensure that it is effective and that everyone knows what to do in the event of a disruption. This could involve tabletop exercises, simulations or full-scale tests.
  • Plan maintenance and improvement: The business continuity plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it remains effective and up-to-date. This could involve incorporating feedback from tests and exercises, updating contact information or revising procedures based on changes in the organization or external factors.

Streamline Your Planning & Documentation With Visme

A well-crafted BCP is the key to ensuring your business’ resilience and long-term success.

This article provides everything you need to develop a robust BCP that prepares your organization to respond to and recover from various disruptions effectively.

Now is the time to make it count. Visme offers an extensive library of templates, AI-powered tools, an infinite whiteboard, analytics and advanced features to streamline business continuity planning. You can easily collaborate with stakeholders, brainstorm and create a plan that’s not only robust but also easy to execute and update.

Get started on creating your business continuity plan today with Visme. Sign up now to ensure your business is prepared for any unexpected disruptions.

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IT Business Continuity

business continuity plan it department

Businesses have come to recognize that some services of the organization have to be delivered continuously without interruption. Therefore, instead of focusing only on resuming the business in the shortest possible time, the endeavor is to create an IT Business Continuity Plan to ensure that critical operations continue to be functional even during a disaster. The ideal plan would be one in which the client will not be aware of the occurrence of the disaster since client services will continue as before.

What is IT Business Continuity planning?

For an IT Business Continuity Plan to work, it has to be proactively done and not done in a fits and starts. This will ensure that critical services and products are delivered to the client during a disaster. This will ensure that the business retains client goodwill, meets legal obligations and avoids any death or injury. A well designed IT Business Continuity Plan should include:

  • Methods to ensure uninterrupted delivery of critical IT services.
  • Identify the resources needed to maintain business continuity from an IT perspective. This should include resources such as critical personnel, equipment, financials, standby equipment, legal help, alternate infrastructure, alternate accommodation etc.

A good Business Continuity Plan not only will save a business from possible financial hardships, its image and goodwill among clients and stakeholders will be enhanced, since it will be perceived as a business which is proactive in protecting not only its interest but also those of its clients and other stakeholders too.

The importance and necessity of a sound IT Business Continuity Plan

  • It mitigates the risks associated with Natural disasters of all types.
  • Accidents such as fire, explosions etc. which could damage IT infrastructure and cause death and/or injury
  • Sabotage, both internal and external
  • Power outages
  • Communications failure
  • Disruptions in transportation due to various factors, preventing employees from attending work
  • Security issues that can bring down the network
  • Environmental disasters
  • Cyber attacks on the business by hackers and/or criminals

By having a effective Business Continuity Plan in place, a business will ensure that it has the resources and/or the information it requires, to combat the emergency successfully.

Areas covered in a Business Continuity Plan

There are five sections to a typical IT Business Continuity Plan. They are: BCP Governance, Business Impact Analysis, Steps for IT Business Continuity, Readiness to implement IT Business Continuity Plan procedures, and testing and training in IT Business Continuity Plan .

BCP Governance –this details the structure of the committee in charge of the IT Business Continuity Plan. Usually, senior managers and heads of department will be in the committee. Since senior people are in charge, they have the necessary authority to see that the plans are formulated correctly and proper training is given to employees.

Business Impact Analysis – this analysis will identify the organization’s critical services and/or products from an IT business continuity perspective. Depending on its criticality, the service will be ranked. The higher the rank, more attention is paid to it. If possible critical services will have to be continued even in the face of a disaster.

Steps for IT business continuity – this will identify services which have to be delivered without interruption. The Business Continuity Plan will outline the steps needed to achieve this goal.

Readiness to implement the IT Business Continuity Plan – when critical services have been identified, steps as per Business Continuity Plan should be taken to ensure that these critical services keep functioning in the face of a disaster, or at the very least, are restarted in the least possible time.

Testing and training – every Business Continuity Plan will look impressive on paper. It is only by testing the plans will the shortcomings be detected and fine tuning done. Staff should also be involved in the development of the plan. They should be given sufficient training, so that in the event of a disaster, they are able to seamlessly switch over to their new roles as per the Business Continuity Plan.

Hopefully, a Business Continuity Plan may never be used. It is a matchless reserve tool in the hand of IT Managers, to keep critical aspects of the business functioning without interruptions. A business which had diligently set up a IT Business Continuity Plan has taken out impeccable insurance for survival.

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The Role of IT in Business Continuity Planning: A Comprehensive Approach

Every good business owner, board member, and executive knows the importance of business continuity. While you may hope and dream that your business will never face a serious disaster or event that causes widespread business disruption, the hard truth is that you’re likely to deal with one or more of these. Disasters come in many different flavors—natural disasters, cyber-attacks, theft, internal sabotage, and more. Anything that makes it impossible for your employees to do their jobs or that makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for your customers to make purchases or access your services falls under the category of a business disaster. This is why business continuity planning is so important.

The answer to these problems should be in your business continuity plan (sometimes called a disaster recovery plan). These plans contain various hypotheticals and potential disaster events and how your business should address them. They answer questions such as who will be responsible for what, where will employees work, how you will restore services, what will you tell the press, etc. The idea is to have everything mapped out so you aren’t trying to make up a plan on the spot. 

Because so many businesses rely on technology and access to their data, IT plays a major role in business continuity. Let’s take a look at the role of IT in business continuity and you can develop a plan that minimizes disruptions to your data access and other vital IT services. 

a bar graph written in chalk that sas "continuous improvement"

How Business Continuity Planning and IT Go Hand-in-Hand

A large number of the disaster scenarios in your business continuity plan will affect your technology. Some will affect every aspect of your business—an earthquake that hits your office, for example, will impact everything from where your employees will work to what they will do for office equipment. On the other hand, some disasters are centered around IT. A denial of services attack, a data breach, or your servers going down may not disrupt some aspects of the company, but it can bring everything to a standstill. 

Your continuity plan is what will determine how quickly you recover from any of these disasters. Every hour that your business is unable to operate at 100% is an hour that you’re losing money. It will give you an outline of how to get your IT back up and running quickly. Your IT infrastructure is often the backbone of your company. Without access to applications and data, your team often can’t accomplish much. Unfortunately, IT is complex, and many disasters can take down some or all of your system. You may lose access to your servers or have no internet connection. A vital service may go down, leaving you without the ability to process customer payments or provide customers with web access to their accounts.

Your disaster recovery plan won’t necessarily plan for every single type of disaster—it’s simply not possible. For example, how many business owners had a continuity plan for a global pandemic? Before 2020, that really wasn’t on anyone’s Bingo card. Going forward, you can bet most companies will be ready if something like COVID-19 strikes again, but there will be some other type of unexpected disaster that hits instead. The best you can do is have plans that can be quickly modified or used as an outline for building a new recovery plan on the fly. 

Developing Business Continuity Plans that Minimize IT Disruptions

Before you can start including IT recovery in your disaster plans, you need to identify those points in your IT infrastructure that may be affected by a disaster. This starts by determining what your critical IT systems and services are. If you have an online customer web portal that allows clients to manage their accounts and services, it’s a big deal if that portal goes down. This is a critical service. On the other hand, businesses that only maintain a website for online marketing purposes may be less panicked if their site is down for a few hours. It’s not great by any means, but it doesn’t bring your business grinding to a halt.

Once you know your critical IT services, you can look at things that could affect them. Doing a risk assessment will create a list of things that can leave you without access to your data, applications, or hardware. Natural disasters, power outages, cyberattacks, and hardware failures should all be on your list. Keep in mind that your risk assessment may need to include risks to other businesses in addition to risks that affect you directly. For example, what would you do if your cloud provider went down or if your payment processor was the victim of a data breach ? While you have no control over these things, they will affect your customers. 

Now it’s Time to Write Out Your Plans

Once you have a list of critical systems and risks, it’s time to create scenarios and plans for dealing with each of them. This starts by describing what will happen and its outcome. For example, a cyberattack occurs that results in sensitive customer data being stolen. What do you do? Who is in charge? What do you tell customers and when? What third parties, if any, will need to be involved or contacted? Are there any regulations you must follow in such an event? These are just some of the questions you’ll want to ask when creating a plan.

While you can create business continuity plans on your own, this is one area where you might want to involve a third party such as Wooden Spoon. Having a consultant who has worked in multiple industries and with multiple companies can help you create a comprehensive list of potential risks. We’ve seen many different types of disasters, and we will be able to help you create a list of vital systems and potential risks that will ensure you’re prepared for just about anything.

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Test Your Plans

Once you’ve written out a response to a risk, walk through it with your teams and test any part of it that can be practically tested. For example, make certain that your backup drives can be quickly loaded or that you can truly lock down your entire system if you need to. While you may have great theoretical plans, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong when you implement them. Test every plan and make changes if needed to make them as effective as possible. 

In addition to testing plans right away, be certain you review, update, and test plans on at least a yearly basis. You may need to make changes during the year in between tests if you reorganize personnel or make significant changes to your IT infrastructure. If you don’t make these updates, you may find that you have a plan that is only partially, if at all, relevant to your company’s current setup. When you need it most, this outdated plan may not help you at all.

Using Your Continuity Plans to Mitigate Risks

While creating these continuity plans and strategies is the main benefit of these sessions, there is a second benefit that to many is even more important. During your planning and testing phases, you’re likely to find risks related to your IT infrastructure that you could address right away. Why wait for a disaster to upgrade weak security or address the lack of a reliable backup system? By addressing these needs now, you can help avert disasters later on. 

Redundant systems often help you avoid risks associated with data. Having a backup that you can quickly bring online can get you back up and running within hours instead of days. Redundant servers can keep your website up over 99% of the time, preventing customers from noticing any disruptions. Hardware backups can prevent issues that come from a network switch failing, while using software as a service may prevent losing access to important applications should a computer or server crash. 

Once you’ve made these changes, you’ll need to reconvene your continuity team and go through all of your plans again. Some of them may no longer be necessary now that you’ve addressed vulnerabilities or created redundant systems. However, you could find that there are new risks you now need to plan for. You could also recognize even more areas you could improve upon and risks you could mitigate. This is why business continuity is often a never-ending cycle. Even if you get to the point that you’re not updating plans that often, regularly assessing your continuity strategies is still important.

Let Wooden Spoon Help You Prepare for the Worst

Whether it’s a data breach or a wildfire, disasters can strike at almost any moment. When one occurs, it can leave your company at a standstill. If you don’t have a continuity plan, you may be at a loss as to what to do. You might do nothing or do the wrong thing that makes the situation even worse. With business continuity plans, you won’t have to worry about coming up with a strategy on the spot. Wooden Spoon is here to assist you with these plans as well as help you with the daily tasks associated with running your IT. Reach out today to learn more about our managed services and what we can do for you.

Zach Mesel

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Downtime can do serious damage to an organization's bottom line and reputation. Business continuity and disaster recovery -- two closely related practices -- help keep an organization running even in the wake of disaster. This guide explains how BCDR works, why you need it and how to build a BCDR plan for your organization to protect it today and into the future.

Business continuity.

Alexander S. Gillis

  • Alexander S. Gillis, Technical Writer and Editor

What is business continuity?

Business continuity is an organization's ability to maintain critical business functions during and after a disaster has occurred. Business continuity planning establishes risk management processes and procedures that aim to prevent interruptions to mission-critical services and reestablish full day-to-day function to the organization as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The most basic business continuity requirement is to keep essential functions up and running during a disaster and to recover with as little downtime as possible. A business continuity plan is a framework that considers unpredictable events and potential threats, such as natural disasters, fires, disease outbreaks, pandemics, supply chain disruptions, cyber attacks and other external threats.

Although a business continuity strategy is important for organizations of all sizes, it might not be practical for any but the largest enterprises to maintain all functions for the duration of a disaster. According to many experts, the first step in business continuity and disaster recovery planning is deciding what functions are essential and allocating the available budget accordingly. Once crucial components have been identified, administrators can put failover mechanisms in place.

Technologies such as disk mirroring enable an organization to maintain up-to-date copies of data in geographically dispersed locations, not just in the primary data center. This helps data access functions continue uninterrupted if one location is disabled and protects against data loss.

This article is part of

What is BCDR? Business continuity and disaster recovery guide

  • Which also includes:

7 top business continuity certifications to consider in 2024

  • ITGC audit checklist: 6 controls you need to address
  • 12 key points a disaster recovery plan checklist must include

Why is business continuity important?

Downtime is costly and disruptive, making business continuity critical. Threats that can cause downtime, such as cyberattacks and extreme weather, seem to be getting worse. According to Gartner, cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated and exploiting poor cybersecurity threat detection. Therefore, it's important to have a business continuity plan in place that can help an organization maintain its critical functions after an emergency or disruption.

The plan should enable the organization to keep running at least at a minimal level during a crisis. Business continuity helps the organization maintain resiliency in responding quickly to an interruption. Strong business continuity saves money, time and company reputation. An extended outage risks financial, personal and reputational loss.

Business continuity requires an organization to look at itself, analyze potential areas of weakness and gather key information -- such as contact lists and technical diagrams of systems -- that can be useful outside of disaster situations. In undertaking the business continuity planning process, an organization can improve its communication, technology and resilience.

Business continuity might even be a requirement for legal or compliance reasons. It's important to understand which regulations affect a given organization, especially in an era of increased regulation.

What does business continuity include?

Business continuity is a proactive way to ensure mission-critical business operations continue during a disruption or in the event of a disaster. A successful business continuity plan includes the following:

  • Clear and comprehensive guidelines. Business continuity features clear guidelines for what an organization must do to maintain operations. If the time comes for action, there should be no question about how to move forward with business processes. The plan should have contact information, steps for what to do when faced with a variety of incidents and a guide for when to use the document.
  • Defined levels of response. Proper business continuity includes different levels of response. Not everything is mission-critical, so it's important to lay out what is most vital to keep running and what could come back online at later times. It's crucial to be honest about recovery time objectives ( RTOs ) and recovery point objectives ( RPOs ).
  • A flexible response. A business continuity plan should be created to deal with any potential risks. An organization should determine how these risks will affect operations and should use the business continuity plan to outline the implementation of safeguards and procedures in case of a disaster. Testing procedures should also be put in place, along with a detailed process to ensure the plan is kept current.
  • A collaborative and transparent process. The business continuity process includes the whole organization -- from executive management on down. Although IT might drive the process, it's essential to get buy-in from management and other stakeholders and to communicate key information to the entire organization. Everyone should know the basic steps for how the organization plans to respond. An important area of collaboration is with the security team; although IT and the security team often work separately, an organization benefits when the two departments share information.

3 key components of a business continuity plan

A business continuity plan has three key elements: resilience, recovery and contingency.

Resilience. An organization can increase its resilience by designing critical functions and infrastructure with various disaster possibilities in mind; this can include staffing rotations, data redundancy and maintaining a surplus of capacity. Ensuring business resiliency against different scenarios can also help organizations maintain essential services on- and off-site without interruption.

Recovery. Rapid recovery to restore business functions after a disaster is crucial. Setting RTOs for different systems, networks or applications can help prioritize which elements must be recovered first. Other recovery strategies include resource inventories, agreements with third parties to take on company activity and using converted spaces for mission-critical functions.

Contingency. A contingency plan has procedures in place for a variety of external scenarios and can include a chain of command that distributes responsibilities within the organization. These responsibilities can include hardware replacement, leasing emergency office spaces, damage assessment and contracting with third-party vendors for assistance.

Business continuity standards

Table 1 lists the standards in the International Standards Organization (ISO) 223XX series that apply to business continuity and related activities. The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) also provides global business continuity standards and best practices in its Good Practices Guidelines. Those standards and guidelines -- along with several from the U.K., including the British Standards Institute's "Guidance on organization recovery following disruptive incidents" and "Organizational Resilience Framework" -- map closely to the ISO 22301 standard.

A chart listing business continuity standards ISO 223XX series.

Table 2 provides a partial listing of standards, regulations and good practices developed in the U.S. by several different organizations, including ASIS International, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

A table of business continuity and disaster recovery standards.

Business continuity plans should be adaptable

One method of instituting a business continuity plan is to perform a risk assessment of an organization's processes and then build a response plan for each instance of a risk. This can help the organization identify potential risks to the business and prepare for unexpected challenges, ensuring it's adaptable in the event of a disaster.

An organization that builds a more elastic and adaptable business continuity plan will be able to minimize the effects of numerous types of attacks and vulnerabilities. A business continuity plan should focus on resilience and flexibility and detail how to respond to potential cyber and ransomware threats across an organization's access points.

As opposed to assessing and reacting to potential disruptions, a flexible business continuity plan aligns an organization's technology, operations, processes and people -- ensuring the organization can quickly adjust and adapt to an emerging issue while mitigating its potential impacts.

Business continuity vs. disaster recovery

Like a business continuity plan, disaster recovery planning specifies an organization's planned strategies for post-failure procedures. However, a disaster recovery plan is just a subset of business continuity planning.

One of the main differences between the two is that, while business continuity focuses on keeping businesses operational throughout a disaster, a disaster recovery plan places its focus on the process of restoring data and infrastructure access after a disaster.

Disaster recovery plans are mainly data-focused and concentrate on having adequate data backup and storing data in a way that makes it easily accessible following a disaster. Business continuity takes this into account but also focuses on risk management, oversight and planning for an organization that needs to stay operational during a disruption. Business continuity also focuses on providing employee safety measures.

A diagram showing the different layers of business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

Business continuity development

Business continuity planning starts with initiating the planning project. Business impact analysis ( BIA ) and risk assessment are essential steps in gathering information for the plan. They offer the following benefits:

  • Business impact analysis. Conducting a BIA can reveal possible weaknesses as well as the consequences of a disaster on various departments. The BIA report informs an organization of the most crucial functions and systems to prioritize in a business continuity plan.
  • Risk assessment. A risk assessment identifies potential hazards to an organization, such as natural disasters, power outages, cyber attacks and technology failures. Risks can affect staff, customers, building operations and company reputation. The assessment also details what or whom a risk could harm and the risk likelihood.

The BIA and risk assessment work jointly. The BIA provides details as to the potential effects of the possible disruptions outlined in the risk assessment.

An organization should also have a defined RTO and RPO . An RTO defines the target amount of time between a failure and the resumption of operations. The RPO, by comparison, is the amount of data loss that an organization can endure. The RTO and RPO values can change from organization to organization based on several factors, including business and regulatory requirements.

Business continuity management

It's important to designate who will manage the business continuity program should a business disruption occur. It could be one person if it's a small business or a whole team for a larger organization. Business continuity management software is also an option. Software -- either on premises or cloud-based -- helps conduct BIAs, create and update plans and pinpoint areas of risk.

Business continuity is an evolving process. As such, an organization's business continuity plan shouldn't just sit on a shelf. The organization should communicate its contents to as many people as possible. Implementation of business continuity isn't just for times of crisis; the organization should have regular training exercises, so employees know what they'll be doing in the event of an actual disruption.

Business continuity testing is critical to its success. It's difficult to know if a plan is going to work if it hasn't been tested. A business continuity test can be as simple as a tabletop exercise where staff discuss what will happen in an emergency. More rigorous testing includes a full emergency simulation. An organization can plan the test in advance or perform it without notice to better mimic a crisis.

Once the organization completes a test, it should review how it went and update the crisis management plan accordingly. It's likely that some parts of the plan will go well, but other actions might need adjusting. A regular schedule for testing is helpful, especially if the business changes its operations and staff frequently. Comprehensive business continuity undergoes continual testing, review and updating.

What tools can be used in business continuity?

Organizations use a variety of methods and tools to implement business continuity plans, including the following:

  • Backup. This is the process of copying physical or virtual files or databases to a secondary location for preservation in case of equipment failure or a malicious attack. This is one of the simpler processes for implementing business continuity.
  • Backup as a service. A third-party provider backs up data at a secondary location using a private, public or hybrid cloud service.
  • Disaster recovery as a service. In the event of a disaster, an organization moves its computer processing to the third-party DRaaS provider's cloud infrastructure. The DRaaS provider serves as the disaster recovery site when a disaster is declared.
  • Virtualization. Virtualization uses software that simulates hardware functionality, creating a virtual system. The virtual system can back up a working replica of an organization's computing environment.
  • Point-in-time recovery . These are snapshots of an organization's database, which are taken at regular intervals. For business continuity purposes, these snapshots can be stored in a secondary location and can be used to restore data.
  • Cold site . A cold site is a basic infrastructure set up in a secondary location. Cold sites are essentially available space with minimal infrastructure set up in it. This stays true until a disaster occurs and the organization sets up more infrastructure and resources.
  • Hot site. A hot site is a copy of a data center with all the organization's hardware and software running concurrently with its primary site. A hot site provides redundancy, essentially acting as a second data center. When experiencing a disaster, an organization with a hot site will experience minimal to no downtime.

Business Continuity Institute

The BCI is a global professional organization that provides education, research, professional accreditation, certification, networking opportunities, leadership and guidance on business continuity and organizational resilience .

The U.K.-based organization was established in 1994 and includes 9,000 members in more than 120 countries, in the public and private sectors. Business continuity professionals and those interested in the field can use the products and services available from the BCI.

The BCI's objectives and work include raising standards in business continuity, sharing business continuity best practices, training and certifying business continuity professionals, raising the value of the profession and developing the business case for business continuity.

The institute's many published resources include its Good Practice Guidelines document, which offers guidance for identifying business continuity activities that can support strategic planning.

Professional membership in the BCI conveys an internationally recognized status, while certification demonstrates a member's proficiency in business continuity management.

Chapters of the BCI have been established in countries or regions where there's a large community of members. The chapters, which include the U.S., Japan and India, have locally elected officers who represent the BCI in their region.

Business continuity plans vary from organization to organization, depending on the specific risks they face. Learn the top business continuity risks to monitor .

Continue Reading About business continuity

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  • How often should you review a business continuity plan?
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Business Continuity Plan Template

Prepare for business disruption and disaster recovery with digital templates and checklists.

business continuity plan it department

  • Eliminate paperwork with digital checklists
  • Generate reports from completed checklists
  • Free to use for up to 10 users

Use this Business Continuity Plan (BCP) template as an outline for your business continuity plan that will critically assess all aspects of the business and make sure the emergency procedures and equipment are adequate. This business continuity template can help with ISO 22301 compliance and allow business continuity managers and consultants to:

  • Identify key business functions and components to be prioritized for restoration and recovery during an emergency.
  • Add list of processes/equipment most at risk of disrupting business operations.
  • Discuss roles and responsibilities of key personnel and gather confirmation (digital signatures).

Click on the Web or PDF report below to view the business continuity plan example.

business continuity plan template

What is a Business Continuity Plan Template?

A business continuity plan template is a tool used by business continuity managers and IT teams to outline strategies for keeping businesses operational despite emergencies such as extreme weather events, building evacuations, power outages, etc. It identifies high business impact operational areas, assets, and recovery strategies with assigned personnel. Business continuity templates can be used in any industry for IT disaster recovery, continuity of customer-facing operations, and backup of transport and logistics operations.

Why Use a BCP Template?

Business continuity plan templates help organizations protect their business amid a crisis or emergency. This ready-to-use document provides a structured framework, ensuring the plan is comprehensive and no essential detail is overlooked. It is also typically customizable, allowing businesses to modify them according to their specific needs.

  • Seamless Recovery/Restoration Process – In the face of a crisis, time is of the essence. A BCP template expedites the recovery and restoration process by providing a predefined framework. This ensures that businesses can bounce back swiftly, minimizing downtime and preserving essential operations.
  • Proper Documentation – Effective documentation is the cornerstone of a robust BCP. The template guides businesses in creating comprehensive documentation, ensuring that every aspect of the plan is clearly articulated. This not only aids in swift implementation but also facilitates better understanding among stakeholders.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Ensure that the BCP aligns with relevant industry regulations and standards, such as ISO 22301 , NIST SP 800-34, or industry-specific guidelines.
  • Data Protection and Privacy – Address data protection laws and regulations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), to safeguard sensitive information during a continuity event.
  • Legal and Contractual Obligations – Include provisions to comply with legal and contractual obligations, ensuring that the organization’s commitments to clients, customers, and partners are maintained even during disruptions.
  • Health and Safety Regulations – Incorporate measures to comply with health and safety regulations to protect employees and stakeholders during emergencies or disasters.
  • Communication Requirements – Define communication protocols and reporting mechanisms to comply with regulatory expectations for timely and accurate communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Financial Regulatory Compliance – Address financial regulatory requirements to ensure the organization’s financial processes are maintained and comply with relevant laws

What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan Template

Here’s a Business Continuity Plan report example:

Business Continuity Plan Sample PDF Report

Business Continuity Plan Template | Preview Sample PDF Report

BCP serves as a guide for organizations to create an effective strategy for responding to potential business-disrupting events. Here are four key components of a BCP:

Scope & Objectives

States the purpose of the BCP, including specific business functions that should be prioritized for recovery during an emergency. This section should include examples of emergency events that would trigger the response of this BCP.

Operations at Risk

Includes possible risks with key operational functions which would greatly disrupt business and customer continuity. This also involves the magnitude of risk to each function, which will help the BCP committee decide on appropriate preventive actions.

Recovery Strategy

Outlines all the relevant procedures to restore business operations after an incident or crisis. A good recovery strategy includes a realistic recovery timeline and essential emergency resources.

Roles & Responsibilities

Refers to key personnel and their assigned tasks during or after an incident. Each committee member has a unique set of responsibilities to successfully carry out the BCP for each business function.

FAQs about BCP Templates

How often should you update your bcp document.

BCP documents should be updated regularly. If any organizational changes have been made in terms of team structures and operational procedures, the BCP should be updated. A review will be conducted to check if the information in the BCP is still reliable.

Why is it important to conduct regular BCP audits using templates?

Outdated BCPs might result in a loss of customer trust, huge revenue loss, and damage to brand and company reputation. This is why it is crucial for BCPs to remain up-to-date. Regular BCP audits are essential to help evaluate emergency procedures and identify if there are vulnerabilities.

What are the four components of a BCP template?

A business continuity plan template typically includes detailed information about the plan’s scope and objectives, the operations or functions that might be affected and the risks associated with them, recovery strategies for uninterrupted operations, and the specific roles and responsibilities of essential personnel during and after an incident.

Establish a Strong Business Continuity Plan with SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) , the world’s leading digital form mobile software, can help businesses create and prepare a strong business continuity plan more efficiently.  With SafetyCulture as a business continuity software , businesses can switch to a paperless planning process where you can create your own templates, easily assess the accuracy of recovery procedures, and update your plans as needed on your mobile device.W ith SafetyCulture, you can:

  • Create and customize business continuity plan templates using your desktop, iPad, or even on your mobile phone
  • Assign action tasks to key personnel and BCP committee members
  • Maintain business quality control with analytics , uncover leading trends, and be able to identify areas for improvement
  • Generate professional reports to share with your stakeholders in a format of your choice (PDF, Word, CSV)
  • Upskill your employees by deploying bite-sized training courses that doesn’t interrupt your teams’ workday.

To help you get started on your paperless planning, we have created business continuity templates and checklists you can download and customize for free.

Featured Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Templates

It business continuity plan template.

This business continuity and disaster recovery plan template aims to help IT teams and business continuity managers become proactive in preparing for events that could disrupt operations and come up with strategies for disaster recovery.

Business Continuity Plan Checklist

Perform regular audits of your organization’s BCP with a business continuity plan checklist. Whether small or medium business, this checklist can be used to ensure BCPs are up to date and reflect current high-impact operations.

Small Business Continuity Plan Template

Small businesses and other organizations can use this BCP template as a planning tool that can guide them on what to do during crises. This ready-to-use document specifically indicates aspects such as the emergency planning team, plans for coordinating with customers and suppliers, critical operations, and who’s in charge of them, among others.

School Business Continuity Plan Template

This generic school business continuity plan template is especially useful for academic organizations. It is customizable and can be modified to meet the needs of users. 

Business Continuity Procedure Template

Use this generic BCP template to easily provide a continuity plan for you, your team, and your business. To get started, you can specify the overall threat and its risk level, review cycle, response, plans, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

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  • Resource Center

Management, compliance & auditing

  • IT Continuity Planning

Sofiane Chafai

Today most organizations have committed resources, developed policies, procedures, and tools, and set their organization and IT infrastructure to maintain their critical business process (Business Continuity Plan) and recover to their normal activities (Disaster Recovery Plan) as quickly as possible during unforeseen circumstances and major outages.

Having a plan for these situations is not straightforward; the planning tasks are challenging and require several expertise and efforts.

In summary, the following details should be included in the IT continuity plan:

  • IT and business core process list
  • GAP analysis exercise outcome which includes the Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective for each process and component
  • IT architecture
  • IT continuity procedures
  • IT recovery procedures
  • Invocation procedures (call tree)
  • Damage assessment
  • Contact details (staff, vendors, stakeholders, rescue services, hospital, etc.)

The IT continuity plan includes four stages:

  • Initial response
  • Restoration

Initial response includes the first following processes: Notification and plan activation,

Relocation mainly covers staff relocation schedules, logistics, and transportation to the alternate site, activation of the alternate site (IT equipments, telecoms, servers, etc.)

Recovery includes the damage assessment of primary facilities, initiation and completion of recovery tasks

Restoration requires verifying and confirming primary facilities and infrastructure readiness, staff relocation schedules from the alternate site to the primary site, restoring business files, consolidating and archiving incident documentation, returning to business as usual.

In practice, how to build your plan (dos and don'ts)

You need to have a valid business case. Management commitment is probably the first and most important requirement to succeed and have a sustainable IT continuity plan.

Today most organizations have developed business continuity planning and set their IT infrastructure, process, and business model to reduce the impact of natural disasters and outages they might face, but how many have an annual program testing of their plan to identify all areas where improvements are needed?

Companies need to conduct a gap analysis exercise to assess their plan with the standards and best practices in order to identify their weaknesses and develop a roadmap to include all missing elements and take the right steps to implement strategies, so they do not need to start from scratch and do not try to cover all Business Continuity Plan aspects at the same time.

Know your business! The IT continuity plan is a piece of the Business Continuity Plan, hence it needs to be aligned with business strategies and objectives. Wrong or incomplete solutions can waste time and money.

Perform a regular company risk assessment review exercise to ensure all risks are covered and set the plan accordingly. Get more flexibility by outsourcing some IT functions such as the help desk; the company will be less reliant on people in case of contingency, where tasks will be handled through SLA and covered by external vendors. This will help the company to focus on their core business process.

As people are a key element in IT continuity plan, creating a plan that depends on too few qualified people can threaten the overall plan. What if one of those people is unavailable for some reason? You need to identify a pool of employees who are capable of responding in an emergency, and initiate a set of best practices: job rotation, staff mobility in the job contract, a succession plan, and training, to ensure that people are ready to run the plan regardless of their positions or experience in the company.

The IT continuity plan requires a budget that should be included in the annual exercise and company plan. The key point here is to have a proactive approach so management will be aware of the fact that the organization might have to finance the IT continuity plan so appropriate action can be taken.

The BCP should not be an afterthought when preparing the budget. It has to be included in the company plan and discussed. As with the IT continuity plans, management must be aware that the BCP might have to be financed by the organization. External funds may be required.

New trends in technology such as virtualization, mobile devices, cloud computing, and social media need to be assessed.

Many new technologies introduce complexity, so maintaining the IT environment may require skills and resources. Reduce complexity and keep it simple for operational staff to run and eliminate potential sources of human errors.

To reduce costs of having to buy, rent, and maintain alternate facilities, a disaster recovery site, datacenters, etc., organizations should look for mutual agreements with other companies to share IT infrastructure and office desks in contingency situations.

Organizations should also consider leasing or procuring new IT infrastructure (including data communications) and arranging with suppliers to have them carry a contingency stock of IT equipment, software, etc., to be available at short notice.

In contingency situations, phone communication and the primary carrier might be down. Then you will have to plan for multiple communication options and make sure everyone knows the options and has the appropriate phone numbers, web addresses, and emergency contacts to get and stay in touch.

Password protection is a key goal of data security, IDs and password need to be stored in two geographically separate and secure locations and more than one IT staff person should have access to all passwords and codes.

Every major application enhancement, technology infrastructure change, or new service offering should have its own BIA (Business Impact Analysis) and risk management reviewed for applicability, along with its RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) to ensure that change management is embedded during the Business Continuity Plan lifecycle.

The Business Continuity Plan is an ongoing process which will not stop after testing. It has to be maintained and updated as required

Tests will familiarize staff and IT teams with the continuity and recovery process. They will verify the effectiveness of the selected strategies and the readiness of the recovery site, and will identify improvements required to the process and infrastructure.

The recovery tests should be conducted at service level, and should avoid focusing on components such as hardware, systems, and applications. A particular service may require different servers, data on several local drives, or user network connectivity.

Organizations are urged to assign individuals and teams to lead, drive, and run the IT continuity plan. Authority should be given to a crisis management team group to make the process effective and sustainable.

Auditing plans and procedures will enable an impartial third-party review of regulations, laws, standards, and best practices and provide recommendations.

Finally, the business's perception of risk must be changed.

It's no surprise that risk management and continuity planning often end up siloed into separate functional areas. Changing the perception and culture has to begin at the top level with a top-down approach to the following tasks: putting the organization in place; instituting reporting at the top level to avoid any conflict of interest; including continuity management on the board meeting agenda; ensuring that a continuity section is included in every corporate document; initiating policies and procedures to promote and develop internal control and compliance functions; conducting regular risk assessment to determine changes in the organization's risk profile and assess performance; and proceeding with regular audits. "The boss knows best" philosophy must be avoided. Top management must listen to and accept others' thoughts and ideas.

People must be educated through training and awareness programs, brainstorming sessions, and workshops. Use metrics and KPI to assess performance and ensure compliance.

The challenge is to create a situation where people will instinctively look for risk and consider its impact prior to making decision

When you think about processes, setting up new systems, hiring new employees, contracting with vendors, and opening new accounts for customers, you need to think RISK

IT continuity planning trends

Virtualization will make the plan easier by reducing the number of IT assets which need to be maintained, supported, and reviewed. We will have fewer devices to worry about, and the RTO can be reduced by switching quickly to virtual machines from live environment to backup.

Desktop virtualization can enable people and company staff to work off-site, at home through Citrix and DVI, which allow flexibility for the organization to recover quickly and get people on board without having to invest in alternate sites areas, reducing the cost of maintaining a wide alternate site for their employees. This needs to be secure through appropriate tunneling with data leakage protection installed on the machine.

The deployment of virtual machines over the internet can be an alternative to allowing staff access through their personal home computers, making them more productive by using the environment they are familiar with during outages.

As applications (SaaS), platforms (PaaS), or infrastructures are delivered from the cloud, an organization can mitigate and drastically reduce the risk of major or minor disruptions. The drawback for IT is the additional responsibilities involved in managing third parties through an efficient problem management process and services level agreement to ensure that third-party suppliers have resources in place, failover systems, people and processes to maintain the same level of services and guarantee data availability regardless of disruption and outages faced at supplier level.

This exercise can become more complicated in the future. As more and more companies outsource services to the cloud, the process will have to include several suppliers and services for maintaining the plan and proceeding with required testing and audit reviews.

Mobile devices

Getting more mobile devices in the workplace will definitely improve business continuity strategies. It has become easier to communicate during disaster through computer tablets, smartphones, and Blackberries, which gives more flexibility for workforce recovery options by accessing the corporate applications, communicating with coworkers, customers, and vendors from multiple remote locations. More software designed for mobile devices enables users to access information needed during crisis situation, such as status of recovery, recovery site location, list of applications and services available, and, finally, emergency updates.

Social networks

An article published by Forrester in July 2011, "It's Time to Include Social Technology in Your Crisis Communication Strategy," stressed the fact that subscribing to automated communication services is now common and widely used by many professionals. The proliferation of mobile devices and easy Internet access enable the use of social technologies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype as elements of business continuity and recovery strategies.

Organizations should leverage and assess technologies to make their response plan effective. They need to look at which platform is actually used by employees, customers, and vendors. These channels can be used for both communicating and getting information and help from external resources to improve the business continuity and recovery process. The drawback is more uncontrolled spreading of information outside, which can damage the organization's reputation and make the crisis communication process more complicated.

Mr. Sofiane Chafai, CISSP & Prince2 certified Information Security and IT professional with 10 years of exceptional track records in driving projects, high end systems solution implementation in Finance & Tobacco industries. Member of ISC2, he held several position in different organizations, Security Officer for Trust Bank Algeria in charge of the information security program, development and implementation of security policies and setup the Business Continuity Plan for the Bank, North Africa IT Head at British American Tobacco, IT Project Manager & Business Information Security Officer at Citibank Algeria where he successfully implemented Real Time Gross Settlement & eclearing modules on Citigroup core banking system.

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  • Education, training and skills
  • Running and managing a school

Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges

Digital leadership and governance standards.

Find out what standards your school or college should meet on digital leadership and governance.

Good digital technology governance:

  • identifies roles and responsibilities
  • establishes critical processes to manage digital technology
  • ensures that up-to-date information on the school or college’s digital technology is available to support decision making

We refer to hardware, software and digital services as digital technology throughout the following standards.

The job titles in these standards may not fit in your educational setting, but the responsibilities described should be applied to the most relevant person.

You should complete the first 3 standards before moving to the last standard on creating your digital technology strategy. This is so you can successfully build your strategy in line with your school or college’s development plan.

Visit our standards page for more details on how to use the standards to help your school or college meet their digital technology needs.

Assign a senior leadership team (SLT) member to be responsible for digital technology 

Why this standard is important  .

Schools and colleges need a member of their SLT to: 

  • have strategic oversight of all digital technology and how it fits with their development plan 
  • create and manage the digital technology strategy led by the needs of staff and students, not the technology itself 
  • help all staff to embed digital technology that meets staff and student needs 

Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities will help schools and colleges focus the digital technology strategy around their development plan. Without this focus, there’s a risk that: 

  • the use of technology will only meet short-term needs that could potentially lead to additional unplanned costs 
  • schools and colleges will be exposed to safeguarding and security issues 
  • new digital technology will not be compatible with existing technology used by the school or college 

Who needs to be involved 

The headteacher or principal will have responsibility for making sure this standard is met by assigning a SLT digital lead.  

The SLT digital lead is usually someone with teaching experience. They will act as a link between: 

  • technical staff 
  • curriculum leads 
  • the data protection officer
  • the designated safeguarding lead
  • school, college and trust business professionals or the finance team 
  • the trust IT director or equivalent (if applicable) to align with the digital technology strategy 

How to meet this standard 

To meet this standard, the headteacher or principal should appoint someone who is responsible for digital technology. They do not need to be an expert, but some technical knowledge or interest could be advantageous for this role. 

They will be accountable for: 

  • the delivery of the digital technology strategy based on teaching and learning outcomes and organisational needs 
  • encouraging and supporting the use of digital technology across the school or college 
  • reviewing the effectiveness of IT support to inform decision making and taking action, when necessary 
  • identifying and acting on digital technology training needs for staff and students 

Governors or trustees should also consider assigning a digital link role within the governing body or board of trustees.  

When to meet this standard 

You will need to assign the role of the SLT digital lead within your school or college before you can create your digital technology strategy.

  • Keep registers relating to hardware and systems up to date 

Why this standard is important 

A contracts register, asset register and information asset register will help your school or college to: 

  • understand what digital data, equipment and systems you have
  • manage digital data, equipment and systems effectively 
  • keep track of buying and licensing so that schools or colleges can get better value for money when renewing software and hardware 

Not having these registers in place for digital technology could lead to: 

  • budget pressures due to accidental renewal of subscriptions, software and hardware that might not be needed, or are not the best value for money 
  • safeguarding and cyber security issues as software might not be up to date 
  • lost learning and workload burdens if software or hardware is not budgeted for or supported 

To meet this standard, the senior leadership team ( SLT ) digital lead will need to work with the following people: 

  • school, college or trust business professionals or the finance team

To meet this standard, schools and colleges should include digital technology within their: 

  • contracts register 
  • asset register 
  • information asset register 

By including digital technology in these documents, schools and colleges will know what contracts, digital technology and data they have, and when they need to be reviewed. 

Contracts register 

The contracts register includes, but is not limited to: 

  • subscriptions 
  • contracts related to your broadband, IT support and technology provider 
  • a list of your school or college’s approved apps 

It can also capture the value of the contracts which helps to monitor spend and make savings where possible. 

Commercial and procurement information should be updated by the business or finance team, and IT support should update technical information. This contract register must be kept up to date. 

Asset register 

An asset register is a log of all the physical digital technology and tools that are within the school or college and should detail: 

  • what equipment you have 
  • asset numbers 
  • serial numbers 
  • who it is assigned to 
  • where it is within the school or college 
  • when it was purchased
  • how old it is – this may be different to how long you have owned it, as it may be second-hand equipment 
  • when it is due for review so that you can consider a replacement or upgrade 
  • date it was securely disposed of 

The SLT digital lead owns this register and is responsible for making sure processes are in place for IT support to keep the register up to date.  

Information asset register ( IAR ) 

An IAR is a log of the digital data that is held on staff and students and is owned by the data protection officer. The SLT digital lead is responsible for making sure there is a process in place for: 

  • IT support to update the data protection officer on any digital technology data that needs to be included in the register 
  • the data protection officer to use the existing IAR to identify and report any potential changes that may need to be made to your digital technology strategy to the SLT digital lead – for example, if your IAR identified the need for security improvements with your servers 
  • reviewing the digital technology aspects of the IAR  

You should already be updating your registers every time something changes.  

However, the SLT digital lead should review these registers ahead of your next financial planning cycle, and before you move on to the next standard to create your digital technology strategy.  

 Related standards 

The following standards should also be considered when documenting and monitoring your data, equipment, and systems. 

Servers and storage standards 

  • Servers and related storage platforms must be secure and follow data protection legislation  
  • All server and related storage platforms should be kept and used in an appropriate physical environment  

Cyber security standards 

  • Network devices should be known and recorded with their security features enabled, correctly configured and kept up-to-date  

Laptops, desktops and tablets standards 

  • Devices should meet educational needs and support the digital technology strategy   
  • Make sure devices are energy efficient, and they are bought and disposed of sustainably

Include digital technology within disaster recovery and business continuity plans 

You should have a process in place to review and update the disaster recovery and business continuity plans, including those related to digital technology.  

Not doing so will risk: 

  • significant disruption to a school or college in the event of a disaster, such as a cyber attack 
  • unplanned spend from a disaster that was not expected 
  • potential loss of data or a data breach 

This process will help your school or college to continue to operate and provide teaching and learning even during emergencies. This will help prevent lost learning and will also mean that: 

  • staff, students and parents or carers will know what to do and what to expect in an emergency 
  • there will be a clear definition of what a ‘disaster’ looks like for your school or college 
  • you can test your disaster recovery plan to identify gaps within it 

The senior leadership team ( SLT ) digital lead will be responsible for this standard, but will need input from:  

  • the operational team (such as finance, IT support and estate management), teaching and other admin staff to understand risks and any actions that can be taken to avoid them 
  • the designated safeguarding lead, who can advise on safeguarding needs and concerns in the event of a disaster 
  • the data protection officer to provide advice for mitigating data risks and emergency responses 
  • governors or trust leadership who will review, support and challenge these plans and provide sign-off, if required 
  • any outsourced services or suppliers (for example, management information systems, broadband or cloud services) to understand their protocols and include them in plans 

Digital technology should work with your existing business continuity and disaster recovery plans. To do this you should either include digital technology in your existing plans or have a separate plan for digital technology. Both plans need to be reviewed and updated annually or when a significant change occurs.  

Once your plans have been completed, you should create a summary document with top-level details (such as key contacts for when a disaster occurs) to be shared securely with all staff. 

The business continuity and disaster recovery plans, including the summary documents, should be: 

  • printed out to retain hard copies in case of an emergency, such as a cyber incident 
  • kept online in a secure, shared folder location in the cloud, with remote access granted to those in your disaster recovery team 

Disaster recovery plan 

Your disaster recovery plan is a living document to use when a disaster takes place. It should be tested annually (at a minimum) to identify any gaps in knowledge or work needed within your digital technology estate.  

It is a set of rules to follow depending on the disaster and should include details such as: 

  • a definition of what a disaster for digital technology means to your school or college, defined by how long you can function when the disaster takes place 
  • who they are
  • what they are responsible for
  • their contact details 
  • how you will test your disaster recovery plan – for example, simulating data loss or hardware failure 

Business continuity plan 

Your business continuity plan should look at: 

  • assessing risks of digital technology 
  • steps that can be taken to reduce risk 
  • actions that need to be taken if risk occurs and there is a need for recovery 

Insurance companies may ask all schools and colleges for these documents as part of risk management. So, you should already be meeting this standard or be working towards meeting it. 

Related standards 

The following links will also help you to meet this standard. 

Broadband internet standards 

  • Schools and colleges should have a backup broadband connection to ensure resilience and maintain continuity of service  
  • Your business continuity and disaster recovery plan should include a regularly tested contingency plan in response to a cyber attack  

Cloud solution standards 

  • Make sure that appropriate data backup provision is in place  
  • Cloud solutions must follow data protection legislation  
  • Cloud solutions should use ID and access management tools  

Filtering and monitoring standards 

Your filtering system should block harmful and inappropriate content, without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning  

You should have effective monitoring strategies that meet the safeguarding needs of your school or college  

  • Servers and related storage platforms must be secure and follow data protection legislation

Have a digital technology strategy that is reviewed every year

Before you review this standard, please make sure you complete the first 3 standards in this topic called: 

  • Assign a senior leadership team ( SLT ) member to be responsible for digital technology 
  • Include digital technology within disaster recovery and business continuity plans

Creating a digital technology strategy that is aligned with your development plan will help to make sure: 

  • the digital technology used meets the needs of staff and students 
  • your budget, buying decisions and any risks are managed 
  • staff and students receive the training they need to use digital technology safely and effectively 
  • you can assess the impact of digital technology against your strategy 

Not having a strategy in place could lead to: 

  • disrupted learning if the digital technology does not support curriculum delivery 
  • potential compromises to safeguarding  
  • an increased risk of a cyber attack 
  • budget pressures if digital technology systems fail and need to be replaced 
  • buying digital technology that is not suitable for the school or college’s educational vision 
  • a lack of resources (such as the right roles, budget and funding) to support the use and replacement of digital technology  

The SLT digital lead is accountable for this standard and will coordinate and manage the digital technology strategy with input from: 

  • subject leaders, teaching and learning leads, heads of year, and exam officers to understand their teaching and learning needs for both staff and students  
  • IT support, who will assess the existing hardware and software for whether they are fit for purpose and help identify any potential risks and gaps in resources 
  • the operational team (for example the school, college or trust business professional, finance team or IT support) to help support and inform budget planning 
  • designated safeguarding lead and data protection officer to give advice and identify risks and issues related to their roles  
  • the person responsible for special education needs and disabilities to identify accessibility, diversity and inclusion needs 

Your governing body, school board or board of trustees will support and challenge any plans and decisions made on the digital technology strategy.  

To create a strategy, you could: 

  • get input from your own school or college community 
  • speak to other schools and colleges who have been through a similar process 

The SLT digital lead will need to understand the school or college’s development plan to make sure the digital technology strategy supports this. They will also need to know your current digital technology estate. This should include gathering information on: 

  • contracts and assets, including physical and data assets 
  • current and committed digital technology spend 
  • risks, including disaster recovery plan (contingency planning) and business continuity plan 
  • what technology students have access to outside of their school or college 
  • training and development needs for staff and students to be able to meet the vision of the digital technology strategy 

Developing a vision 

The SLT digital lead should develop a longer-term vision for digital technology to support all educational and organisational needs. The vision: 

  • should support the school or college’s development plan and educational vision 
  • should be sustainable and minimise the impact on the environment 
  • could be informed by stakeholders and by visiting other schools and colleges with similar needs to yours 

Creating and managing the strategy 

Once the vision has been finalised, the SLT digital lead should create a minimum 2-year strategy. This will take into consideration the changes in digital technology and the longer-term plans for what might need to be refreshed or replaced.  

The SLT digital lead will also need to: 

  • revisit and review the strategy annually (at a minimum) and amend it in line with any changes 
  • share a top-level summary of the strategy to key stakeholders 

To meet this standard, you will need to have met the previous 3 standards above. Once you have completed those, this standard can then be completed before your next budget cycle. 

The following standards should also be considered when creating your digital technology strategy:  

  • cyber security  
  • filtering and monitoring  
  • laptop, desktop and tablet
  • servers and storage  

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Judges temporarily halt part of President Biden's student debt forgiveness plan

The Associated Press

President Biden speaks at an event about canceling student debt, at the Madison Area Technical College Truax campus, April 8, 2024, in Madison, Wis.

President Biden speaks at an event about canceling student debt, at the Madison Area Technical College Truax campus, April 8, 2024, in Madison, Wis. Kayla Wolf/AP hide caption

TOPEKA, Kan. — Federal judges in Kansas and Missouri on Monday together blocked much of a Biden administration student loan repayment plan that provides a faster path to cancellation and lower monthly payments for millions of borrowers.

The judges’ rulings prevent the U.S. Department of Education from helping many of the intended borrowers ease their loan repayment burdens going forward under a rule set to go into effect July 1. The decisions do not cancel assistance already provided to borrowers.

In Kansas, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled in a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general, Kris Kobach, on behalf of his state and 10 others. In his ruling, Crabtree allowed parts of the program that allow students who borrowed $12,000 or less to have the rest of their loans forgiven if they make 10 years’ worth of payments, instead of the standard 25.

But Crabtree said that the Department of Education won’t be allowed to implement parts of the program meant to help students who had larger loans and could have their monthly payments lowered and their required payment period reduced from 25 years to 20 years.

In Missouri, U.S. District Judge John Ross’ order applies to different parts of the program than Crabtree’s. His order says that the U.S. Department of Education cannot forgive loan balances going forward. He said the department still could lower monthly payments.

3 things you need to know about student loans this summer

3 things you need to know about student loans this summer

Ross issued a ruling in a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on behalf of his state and six others.

Together, the two rulings, each by a judge appointed by former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, appeared to greatly limit the scope of the Biden administration’s efforts to help borrowers after the U.S. Supreme Court last year rejected the Democratic president’s first attempt at a forgiveness plan. Both judges said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona exceeded the authority granted by Congress in laws dealing with students loans.

Bailey and Kobach each hailed the decision from their state's judge as a major legal victory against the Biden administration and argue, as many Republicans do, that forgiving some students' loans shifts the cost of repaying them to taxpayers.

“Only Congress has the power of the purse, not the President,” Bailey said in a statement. "Today’s ruling was a huge win for the rule of law, and for every American who Joe Biden was about to force to pay off someone else’s debt.”

The White House said it strongly disagrees with the judges’ rulings and would continue to defend the program, and use every available tool to give relief to students and borrowers.

In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration “will never stop fighting for students and borrowers — no matter how many roadblocks Republican elected officials and special interests put in our way.”

In a statement posted on the social media platform X, leaders of the Student Borrower Protection Center, which advocates for eliminating student debt, called the decisions “partisan lawfare” and “a recipe for chaos across the student loan system.”

“Millions of borrowers are now in limbo as they struggle to make sense of their rights under the law and the information being provided by the government and their student loan companies,” said the group’s executive director, Mike Pierce.

In both lawsuits, the suing states sought to invalidate the entire program, which the Biden administration first made available to borrowers in July 2023, and at least 150,000 have had their loans canceled. But the judges noted that the lawsuits weren't filed until late March in Kansas and early April in Missouri.

“So the court doesn’t see how plaintiffs can complain of irreparable harm from them,” Crabtree wrote in his opinion.

Both orders are preliminary, meaning the injunctions imposed by the judges would remain in effect through a trial of the separate lawsuits. However, to issue a temporary order each judge had to conclude that the states were likely to prevail in a trial.

Kobach framed the Biden plan as “unconstitutional” and an affront to “blue collar Kansas workers who didn’t go to college."

There was some irony in Crabtree's decision: Kansas is no longer a party to the lawsuit Kobach filed. Earlier this month, Crabtree ruled that Kansas and seven other states in the lawsuit — Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Lousiana, Montana, Nebraska and Utah — couldn't show that they'd been harmed by the new program and dismissed them as plaintiffs.

That left Alaska, South Carolina and Texas, and Crabtree said they could sue because each has a state agency that services student loans.

But Crabtree said that lowering monthly payments and shortening the period of required payments to earn loan forgiveness “overreach any generosity Congress has authorized before.”

In the Missouri ruling, Ross said repayment schedules and “are well within the wheelhouse” of the department but the “plain text” of U.S. law doesn’t give it authority to forgive loans before 25 years of payments.

Missouri also has an agency that services student loans. The other states in its lawsuit are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma.

  • student loans
  • student loan debt

Student-loan payments will be paused for 3 million borrowers after federal judges blocked debt cancellation and cheaper bills through Biden's new repayment plan

  • The Education Deparment is placing 3 million student-loan borrowers on administrative forbearance.
  • It's a result of recent court rulings that blocked key parts of the SAVE plan, including debt relief and lower bills.
  • The department will also be taking down online applications for income-driven repayment plans to avoid inaccurate information.

Insider Today

After federal courts blocked key parts of President Joe Biden's new repayment plan , the Education Department announced additional steps to help borrowers during this time.

On Monday, two separate rulings from federal judges in Kansas and Missouri placed preliminary injunctions on key provisions in the SAVE income-driven repayment plan . These included blocking a shorter timeline for student-loan forgiveness and new provisions set to go into effect on July 1, including lower monthly payments for undergraduate borrowers.

The Justice Department appealed both decisions and while courts have yet to make a final decision on the fate of the SAVE plan, relief is temporarily blocked. An Education Department spokesperson told Business Insider that as a result of the rulings, the department will place about 3 million borrowers with payment amounts greater than $0 on administrative forbearance, during which they will not owe any payments, and interest will not accrue.

Related stories

Additionally, the department is taking down all online applications for income-driven repayment plans and loan consolidations to ensure borrowers do not receive inaccurate information during this time. These changes are expected to take about four to six weeks, and borrowers can continue to submit paper applications for income-driven repayment programs or SAVE, which servicers will continue to process.

"President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Cardona remain committed to fixing a broken student loan system and making college more affordable for more Americans," a department spokesperson said in a statement. "They will not stop vigorously defending the SAVE Plan, the most affordable repayment plan in history, and will continue to fight for this long-overdue relief, no matter how many times Republican elected officials and their allies try to stop them."

The department will directly communicate these changes to impacted borrowers in the coming days.

The lawsuits in question were filed earlier this year by a group of GOP state attorneys general who argued the relief through the SAVE plan was an overreach of Biden's authority and harmed their states' tax revenues.

Both judges ruled that elements of the SAVE plan that have already gone into effect can remain in place, but any forthcoming relief — like continued batches of borrowers qualifying for loan forgiveness — cannot be implemented as the legal process progresses.

Following the rulings, some advocates and Democratic lawmakers called on the Education Department to place impacted borrowers on forbearance or implement another form of relief, given the confusion that could result from the injunctions.

"This damning and harmful lawsuit will only throw struggling borrowers further into chaos, deny them the student debt cancellation they demand and deserve, and prevent them from purchasing homes, growing their families, and so much more," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said in a Tuesday statement. "The Biden Administration must continue to take immediate action to ensure borrowers receive the student debt cancellation they were promised."

Watch: Why student loans aren't canceled, and what Biden's going to do about it

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Judges Block Parts of Biden’s Student Loan Repayment Plan

A part of the SAVE plan that would have cut monthly bills for millions of borrowers starting on July 1 was put on hold.

President Biden gestures to an audience, with a large U.S. flag and a crowd of people behind him.

By Tara Siegel Bernard and Zach Montague

Two federal judges in Kansas and Missouri temporarily blocked pieces of the Biden administration’s new student loan repayment plan on Monday in rulings that will have implications for millions of federal borrowers.

Borrowers enrolled in the income-driven repayment plan, known as SAVE, are expected to continue to make payments. But those with undergraduate debt will no longer see their payments cut in half starting on July 1 , a huge disappointment for borrowers who may have been counting on that relief.

The separate preliminary injunctions on Monday are tied to lawsuits filed this year by two groups of Republican-led states seeking to upend the SAVE program, a centerpiece of President Biden’s agenda to provide relief to student borrowers. Many of the program’s challengers are the same ones that filed suit against Mr. Biden’s $400 billion debt-cancellation plan, which the Supreme Court struck down last June.

“All of this is an absolute mess for borrowers, and it’s pretty shocking that state public officials asked the courts to prevent the Biden administration from offering more affordable loan payments to their residents at time when so many Americans are struggling with high prices,” said Abby Shafroth, co-director of advocacy at the National Consumer Law Center. “It’s a pretty cynical ploy in an election year to stop the current president from being able to lower prices for working- and middle-class Americans.”

The preliminary injunctions freeze parts of the SAVE plan until the cases are decided.

In a statement, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said the Biden administration strongly disagreed with the court decisions. “Today’s rulings won’t stop our administration from using every tool available to give students and borrowers the relief they need,” she said.

Eleven states led by Kansas filed a lawsuit challenging the SAVE program in late March in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. The next month, Missouri and six other states sued in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Both suits argued that the administration had again exceeded its authority, and that the repayment plan was a backhanded attempt to wipe debts clean.

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Law Practice Magazine

The Big Ideas Issue

Preparing Your Practice for Succession

Ruby lichte powers.

Jul 01, 2024

  • Succession planning ensures continuity and stability in a law firm.
  • It involves creating a plan, evaluating the firm's current position, and considering growth, merger, or exit strategies.
  • Key aspects include financial stability, client satisfaction, and leadership continuity.

Preparing for the future demonstrates a firm's resilience and foresight. Recognizing that the desired outcome shapes the journey, lawyers must navigate the complex process of succession with precision and care. It is crucial to allocate time and effort to contemplate personal and professional aspirations for the future.

Recognizing the necessity of an exit strategy is pivotal in the life cycle of a law firm. It embodies foresight and strategic planning, empowering lawyers to steer the course of their professional trajectory. An exit strategy transcends mere closure of a chapter; it safeguards the firm's legacy, ensures continuity for clients and lays a clear path for future leadership. It also brings personal peace of mind, ensuring that one's efforts translate into a lasting impact, both professionally and personally. It involves gracefully concluding one chapter, paving the way for subsequent stages of professional and personal pursuits. If done with foresight, it can maximize the financial return on investment of their work for the parting attorney.

With this context in mind, the discussion on the significance of succession planning gains even greater relevance. Preparing the practice for seamless succession, whether through growth, merger or eventual strategic exit, starts with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of its current position and potential future trajectories. During this reflective phase, it is crucial to evaluate not only tangible assets and status but also intangible values and characteristics that define the essence of the practice. This comprehensive approach ensures that the succession plan aligns with both the business objectives and the essence of the practice. Initial steps of assessment and planning set the stage for a smooth transition, whether expanding the practice or gracefully transitioning away from it.

Step One: Create a Plan

The first step in preparing the firm for seamless succession involves creating a plan. There are two primary scenarios: growth and expansion, which involves scaling the firm's operations and increasing market presence; or transition and exit, which focuses on smoothly handing over responsibilities and ownership to new leaders or planning for the eventual closure of the firm. Before charting the desired course, conducting a comprehensive audit serves as a crucial foundation. This critical evaluation unveils the firm's status and illuminates the optimal path. It encompasses more than financial aspects; an audit unveils team strengths, process efficiency and client satisfaction, providing a holistic view of the firm's health and prospects. Auditing guides the firm toward the necessary adjustments for growth or transition.

Growing and Expanding: Paving the Way for a Seamless Transition

Growing and expanding your practice extends beyond numerical metrics; it involves reinforcing its fundamental aspects. Expanding by merging with other firms can introduce fresh perspectives, enrich knowledge and expand the clientele. However, successful mergers require a strategic approach, focusing on financial stability, cultural alignment and long-term synergy. Technology plays a crucial role in this process; integrating systems is as essential as aligning cultures and visions. It is vital not to prioritize immediate gains over a well-thought-out merger plan.

In the realm of growth, innovation and adaptation play pivotal roles. As the legal landscape evolves, your practice should evolve accordingly. This may entail embracing new technologies, exploring untapped markets or even reshaping your firm's services to address emerging legal demands.

Opening Another Office: Calculated Expansion

Expanding your footprint by opening satellite offices can be an exhilarating yet challenging endeavor. It demands a deep understanding of the new market, careful planning and a substantial commitment of resources. This move requires not only logistical preparation but also an understanding of the nuances of the new location. Understanding local regulations, market demands, and community dynamics; having regular interaction with the satellite offices; practicing cautious budgeting; and developing a solid marketing strategy are essential to transform this opportunity into a triumph.

Buying: The Fast Track

Buying an existing practice offers a shortcut to growth, instantly providing an established clientele and operational framework. Still, this route is filled with responsibilities and risks. Comprehensive due diligence, understanding the seller's future role and ensuring client retention are important. Additionally, post-acquisition integration is a critical period. It demands meticulous attention to melding different cultures, systems and expectations to create a cohesive and coherent entity. Embrace the “earn-out” method for a predictable financial transition, in which payments are structured over a specified period and are based on predetermined criteria such as revenue targets, while also focusing on “the sale after the sale” and fostering strong relationships with the acquired clientele. The earn-out method is a financial arrangement in mergers and acquisitions where the buyer makes additional payments to the seller based on the future performance of the acquired business. The continued engagement with clients ensures customer satisfaction and cultivates loyal client relationships. 

Selling Your Firm: Leaving on a High Note

Making your firm attractive to potential buyers or successors is like preparing a home for sale. Organize your financials, prepare a detailed sales agreement and consider the nuances of selling your firm in parts if needed. Also, consider the emotional aspect of this transition. Clear and compassionate communication with your team about the future can alleviate uncertainties and foster a positive environment during this period of change. Remember––how you exit is as crucial as how you have led.

Exiting or Stepping Away: The Graceful Goodbye

Deciding when and how to step away from your firm requires a profound introspection of your goals and financial needs. Whether it's a well-planned sale, a generous giveaway or a necessary closure, your exit strategy should reflect your legacy and life's work. It's also about crafting a narrative that honors your contribution and ensures that the values and principles you've instilled in the firm continue to guide its journey forward. For solo practitioners, the path may seem more straightforward, but it's no less significant. For larger firms, the transition involves ensuring leadership continuity, client retention and handling financial intricacies with finesse.

Large Versus Small Firms: Tailoring the Transition

The scale of your firm informs the nuances of your succession plan. Larger firms must focus on leadership transitions, retaining client relationships and navigating partnership agreements. In contrast, smaller firms might engage in a more personalized approach, where the emphasis lies on maintaining the unique culture and personal touch that defines their practice. Solo practitioners enjoy flexibility but face the challenge of charting a personalized exit path. Despite the size, the transition should be handled with strategic planning, empathy for all stakeholders and a keen eye on the future.

As you stand at the crossroads of your professional journey, remember that preparing for succession is not just an administrative task but a strategic endeavor that ensures your legacy and the continued success of your practice. This journey is not just about the end goal but about crafting a legacy that resonates with your values, benefits your community and inspires the next generation of legal professionals. Embrace growth opportunities, plan meticulously, and when the time comes, exit with grace and confidence, leaving behind a firm that's not just surviving, but thriving.

Step Two: Start Preparing

Proactive succession planning ensures that the firm can continue to operate smoothly even in the absence of key leaders or partners. This continuity enables stability, instilling confidence in clients and employees.

The legal landscape is continually evolving, requiring firms to adapt and innovate. By preparing for succession, firms can respond effectively to changing client needs, regulatory requirements and industry trends. Whether through internal development or external partnerships, having a clear succession strategy enables firms to capitalize on growth opportunities. By acting and starting to prepare for succession now, firms can position themselves for growth, mitigate risks and uphold their commitment to clients. “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” Start your succession planning well in advance of when you need to make it happen. Otherwise, if the succession were to become necessary unexpectedly, you would likely not have enough time to execute a successful one without having a plan in place. On the positive side, if you have done your thinking in advance, you can pounce on an opportunity as soon as it presents itself.

  Ruby L. Powers is the founder of Powers Law Group, P.C., a Houston-based, full-service immigration law firm and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law.  Ruby is a graduate of the University of North...

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  22. Free Business Continuity Plan Templates

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  27. Judges temporarily halt part of President Biden's student debt

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