Organizations nowadays are very particular about the application of business continuity procedures due to the need for 24x7 operations. Any business disruption is directly related to revenue loss. As a result, organizations now set up teams that specialize in business continuity planning (BCP)
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Useful BCP resources
Many companies regularly opt for BCP audits from external agencies to validate their business continuity preparedness. Organizations also go in for business continuity certifications, because many of their clients demand these as a pre-requisite before entering into a contract. Here are a few best practices that can be followed while preparing for a BCP audit.
- Formulate a business continuity awareness team
Create a business continuity awareness team to lead business continuity awareness campaigns among employees. This team will keep track of employees who have attended the awareness sessions and new recruits. Business continuity awareness sessions should be made mandatory for every employee of the organization. Each employee must undergo the business continuity awareness session on a bi-annual basis.
- Create a business continuity template document
A business continuity template document should be created with details of the business continuity procedures in place, along with emergency contact numbers and emergency services. This template should be updated regularly and circulated among all the employees so that everyone in the organization is aware.
- Carry out internal audits
Business continuity awareness team shall carry out internal BCP audits and improve on the findings. Business continuity awareness team should refer the online templates made public by auditing organizations and base their BCP audits on those templates. BCP audits should be carried out for every business unit.
- Have a business continuity spokesperson for each BU
Select a spokesperson from each business unit. This is critical to ensure that the business continuity procedures can be communicated to every business unit.
- Conduct mock drills
Carry out business continuity test mock drills every quarter to validate the organization’s business continuity readiness—improve upon any shortcomings. These mock drills are really helpful in clearing the BCP audits.
- Perform third party BCP audits
Before going for the actual BCP audit by a certification agency, it’s better to opt for an audit from an external audit agency. Have their inputs regarding the business continuity readiness. Any noticed shortcomings can be addressed before the actual external BCP audit.
- Ensure management awareness
Often, the management is not fully aware of the actual business continuity procedures. They are not able to answer questions from the BCP auditors. Management should also take active part in business continuity awareness sessions.
- Communicate external BCP audit dates well in advance
Dates of the external BCP audit shall be communicated through the organization well in advance. This is essential to ensure that every member of the organization is prepared for the BCP audit.
If the organization is spread across multiple geographies, it’s a best practice for business continuity teams to collaborate with each other. They can share the practices in their respective geographies and improve upon business continuity procedures. Shortcomings found in the audit in one region can be addressed before the audit at the other.
About the author: Anuj Sharma is an EMC-certified and NetApp-accredited professional. Sharma has experience in handling implementation projects related to SAN, NAS and BURA. He also has several research papers on SAN and BURA technologies published globally.
This was first published in April 2012