Business continuity planning is one of the most important activities worth implementing in organizations. This is regardless of size or industry under which an organization falls. Most failing businesses come up with solutions to disasters only when they strike. Business continuity plans enable businesses to prepare effectively for crises before they occur. With such initiatives, businesses are prone to fast recover from disasters.
When drafting a business continuity plan, a company must write a business continuity policy document. The policy document provides a framework for setting business continuity objectives. It also outlines requirements for developing the business continuity plan. These essentials could be the legal, regulatory or contractual. The policy must also include the scope, limitations, and exclusions to be implemented in the business continuity plan. In essence, a business continuity plan policy makes up a much wider business continuity management policy of an organization.
Basics of a business continuity policy
When writing a business continuity policy, there are certain key elements that have to be addressed. These include resilience, recovery and contingency planning. Each of these services elaborated below can be provided by a Toronto IT Company such as Fusion Computing Limited.
Resilience is the ability of an organization to provide its crucial services or products even during a crisis. When writing a business continuity policy, always ensure your organization’s core functions and infrastructure are designed with the possibility of a disaster in mind.
This refers to the ability of your organization to restore its business functions after a disaster rapidly. In your business continuity and disaster recovery policy, clearly define the recovery time objectives (RTO). These include various IT infrastructure and systems you own. Remember to focus on their order of recovery in case of a disaster.
This is the process of preparing for highly improbable events not been captured in the usual business plan. It describes the measures for containing highly unlikely events. Disasters that even though unlikely, have catastrophic consequences to an organization.
A business continuity policy template
There are two options when writing a business continuity policy. You can either craft a business continuity template from scratch, or adopt a standard business continuity plan policy template. The latter is designed by an experienced third party. Either of these two options is valid depending on your preferences. Here we are going to describe a simple business continuity policy template. The template addresses the most vital issues without going into too much detail. You can find a more detailed version of the template here. It encompassed:
In this section, the writer justifies the importance of the business continuity policy in the organization. The introduction states the fundamental reasons for having the policy.
Purpose and Scope
Here the objectives and scope of the policy are outlined.
Business continuity policy statement
The statement of the policy is written here in clear and unambiguous terms. A good example of a business continuity policy statement would be something like. “It’s the purpose of this policy to ensure the continuity of the organization’s activities, systems, and processes. This includes enabling it to resume its normal operations as soon as possible in the event of a disruption. This policy takes into account the effects of any delay in the organization’s quality of service, reputation, and finances.”
Here, the writer states the people who are responsible for approving and implementing the policy in the organization. It also outlines those who will enforce penalties in case of non-compliance.
Verification of compliance
This section states the assessments and tests that verify if the business continuity strategies are in compliance with set policies.
Consequences for non-compliance
Here the consequences/ penalties are clearly stated for those who fail to follow set policies.
Any extra information that is relevant to the policy and its implementation is added here. This may include a list of contacts for further inquiry or more details on specific policy sections.
Business continuity policy sample
Below is a simple but effective business continuity policy example just to give you some extra guidance when writing your own policy.
Company X is committed to providing the best possible service to its clients. This includes maintaining the best possible relationship with its employees, suppliers, partners, and shareholders. To ensure the smooth flow of its activities, Company X has developed the following business continuity policy. This is in support of a holistic business continuity plan. A plan that will enhance disaster preparedness and general company survivability.
Purpose and Scope
The objective of this policy is to safeguard the organization. This will be achieved by ensuring its activities are kept at normal following any crisis.
This policy applies to the entire organization including its subsidiaries and offices worldwide.
Company X recognizes the importance of an active and fully supported business continuity program for its survivability. This calls for the commitment of each employee, department, and partner in the implementation of this policy.
Mr. X is designated as the corporate head of the implementation of the business continuity program. He will work in liaison with other team members in the resolution of issues related to the implementation and enforcement of the business continuity plan.
Verification of Policy Compliance
Compliance verification will be managed by the business continuity team. Other relevant departments are to ensure the provisions of the policy are verified semi-annually. Detailed verification activities will be defined by the team and shared to the whole organization.
Consequences for non-compliance
Failure to adhere to the policy within the stipulated timelines will lead to the termination of your contract with the company.
Relevant additional information can be added here as deemed fit by the organization.
The sample above can be used together with a business continuity management policy sample for a more comprehensive approach to risk management.
A well-written and researched business policy is essential for the proper implementation of your organization’s business continuity plan. Hopefully, this article provides you with a convenient starting point for creating and implementing your own policies.