US Bankcard Services Industry Blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SMB’s Assistant: Business Continuity and Resumption: Series Summary

So as we all witness the disasters currently afflicting our world, we cannot help but think about ourselves, our loved ones and our precious possessions. We also think about how we could plan for catastrophic events affecting our businesses. As we discussed there are plans and procedures that could make disasters less disastrous These plans are Business Continuity Plan and Business Resumption Plan which are all part of a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).

As we outlined in our previous blog on Business Continuity Plan (BCP), there are certain fundamentals that we all must realize. The most important is: disasters are real and happen to real people. Before disaster strikes, you should consider the following for your business and its well-being: Basic BCP Checklist

  1. Develop a plan: what is priority; what is preparedness and how do you implement;
  2. Protect personnel – how do we evacuate, how do we negotiate, how do we train;
  3. Notification system: can you contact family, customers, suppliers and even competitors easily;
  4. Protect company assets: Do you have a strong box; are your valuables and important documents safe or easy to travel;
  5. Business machines: is data regularly backed-up; is there power back-up; are the machines insured; are credit card machines and registers prepared;
  6. Inventories: Are they accurate and up-to-date; is it insured; are there back-up suppliers;
  7. Location: Is there an alternative place, virtual or real, that would allow for a skeleton operation to continue;
  8. At USBSI we have a plan and we want to share the aspects with you.

And we had followed up blog concerning Business Resumption Plan (BRP) which addresses the restoration of business processes after an emergency, but unlike the BCP, lacks procedures to ensure continuity of critical processes throughout an emergency or disruption. Development of the BRP should be coordinated with and BCP.

Basic BRP Checklist

  1. List the major functions or activities of your business or organization.
  2. Determine which activities are "time critical" business functions.
  3. Assign a priority to each of the "time critical" activities you have identified.
  4. Develop a planning objective for each activity.
  5. Determine the minimum needs for initial response.
  6. Obtain senior management approval of the essential functions, priorities and planning objectives you have identified
  7. Delegate planning assignments to the staff that carry out the essential activities on a day-to-day basis
  8. Write a detailed plan. Consolidate all sections of the plan into a business resumption plan for your entire business. The plans for each division, department, etc. should be assembled to form the business resumption plan for your business as a whole.
  9. Communicate the plan to employees.
  10. Store and keep copies of the plan in a secure off-site location away from your main office so it will not be impacted by the same event that disrupted your business operations.
  11. Test the plan. Conduct a test of the plan in a realistic fashion and with ample warning to all employees that the plan is being tested.
  12. Review business resumption plan on a regular basis. Update it to reflect changes in activities, procedures, performance, etc.

The morale of the story is you cannot prevent the future, but you can prepare for it.

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