How to create a business continuity plan – with free template

Comprehensive BCM (business continuity management) measures are essential for responding effectively to a disruption and providing a minimum acceptable service during a disaster. A crucial aspect of BCM is the development of an effective BCP (business continuity plan).

What is a business continuity plan?

A BCP consists of the processes and procedures an organisation needs in order to continue operating during a disaster and recover as quickly as possible. All of this information is put into a document, which is regularly tested, developed and improved on to make sure the organisation is prepared. The BCP is often considered the heart of a BCMS (business continuity management system).

Who should have a business continuity plan?

All organisations, no matter their size, should create a BCP.

Every organisation is at risk of a disruptive incident. Nearly half of UK businesses suffered a cyber attack or security breach last year alone.

Failure to plan could have disastrous consequences for your organisation, potentially resulting in your organisation being unable to recover.

What should a business continuity plan include?

  1. Purpose and scope

Details of the plan should be provided and any exclusions must be explained.

  1. Responsibilities

Persons with authority during and after an incident must be assigned roles.

  1. Plan invocation

Details of how and when the BCP will be invoked.

  1. Developing the BCP

Information in the plan must be understood by and accessible to everyone in the organisation.

  1. Communications

How, and under which circumstances, the organisation will communicate with employees and their relatives, key interested parties and emergency contacts.

  1. Stakeholders

Provide information relating to essential stakeholders, including their contact details.

  1. Document owner, approver and change history record

The business continuity manager is the owner of the BCP and is responsible for ensuring that the procedure is reviewed and tested regularly.

  1. Change management

The document must be published in a place that is available to all members of staff, especially those directly involved in the BCP, and in all appropriate formats (digital, hard copy, etc.).

Benefits of a business continuity plan

Creating a BCP will make it easier for your organisation to cope in a crisis and minimise the disruption for you and your customers. It also demonstrates to customers and investors that your business is prepared for anything, thereby gaining their confidence and giving you a competitive edge.

A BCP can also reduce or even avoid the risk of losing revenue if you are hit with a disruption. Returning to business as usual as quickly as possible minimises the time that your organisation is unable to operate and therefore unable to generate revenue.

Organisations that aren’t prepared often appear incompetent. This can damage their reputation and brand image, putting many people off associating with them, which could lead to a loss of customers.

Use our free business continuity plan template

To help you with your BCP, we’ve created a free downloadable template.

This template outlines what should be included in a BCP that has been tailored to your organisation.

Download the template now >>

To find out more about business continuity and how you can implement a BCMS in your organisation, speak to one of our experts today.