Business Continuity Toolkit
You can learn more about how we process your personal data by reviewing our privacy statement .
About this Toolkit
A business continuity program is an important component of an organization’s risk management strategy. An effective business continuity program requires organizations to identify risks that might disrupt operations and then plan alternative measures to ensure personnel are protected and assets are functional if those risks were to occur. Our Business Continuity Toolkit outlines the steps necessary to develop a business continuity plan tailored to your organization. The toolkit’s plan template, procedure worksheet, and impact analysis template will help you ask the right questions, explore scenario potentials, and engage essential personnel to ensure business resiliency.
- Business Continuity Plan Best Practices Checklist (PDF)
- Business Continuity Plan Template (Word Doc)
- Business Continuity Procedure Worksheet (Excel Sheet)
- Business Continuity Impact Analysis Template (Excel Sheet)
- Business Continuity Tabletop Exercise Template (Word Doc)
Projects to help home and business owners protect their property from damage caused by natural disasters.
- Winter Weather
- Plan for Severe Weather Emergencies
- Disaster Planning with OFB-EZ
- Condo Building Vulnerabilities
- Maintenance for Your Building
- How to Reopen Your Building After It’s Been Closed
- Prepare Your Business for Winter Weather During COVID-19
- Protect Vacant Businesses
Prevent Business Disruption With a Business Continuity Plan
The OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ) toolkit helps small businesses take important steps they need to keep functioning in the event of a major disaster or even a small disruption. The goal is to continue to perform the most critical operations, which will help reduce short- and long-term losses to your bottom line.
Get the Toolkit
Know your risks.
PDF | Word
You can’t plan for disruptions if you don’t know the risks your business faces. Consider the greatest risks/threats specific to your business operations.
Know Your Operations
Knowing what critical functions are required to keep your business humming is critical to recovery. Identify and rank the business functions and processes pivotal to the survival of your business.
Know Your Employees
Connecting with your employees before, during, and after a disruption is critical. Collecting key information can help you recover quickly.
Know Your Equipment
What’s important for your business to operate? Identify key pieces of equipment that are critical to your business function and ability to regain normalcy. Consider how to move or protect this equipment before disaster strikes.
Know How to Reduce Potential Disruptions
Are your operations, processes, and/or building unique to your business? Identify your business’s potential obstacles and define capabilities to help you recover more quickly.
Know Your Key Customers, Contacts, Suppliers, Vendors
Having contact information for key people in your business operations is important to getting your business running again during recovery. Also, consider backup options if key pieces in your supply chain are also impacted by disaster.
Know Your Information Technology
Technology is vital for nearly all business operations so it’s important to understand the role it plays in your business. Identify key information and back it up.
Know Your Finances
Are you financially prepared for costly interruptions? If not, now is the time to plan and prepare. Begin a reserve fund now and make sure you are adequately insured.
Know How to Test Your Plan
It’s one thing to build a plan, but it’s also important to test this plan periodically so you know it works. Make sure you are practicing your plan with employees every 6–12 months, or any time there are changes to your business.
Know Where to Go for Help
Build ties with your community and outside agencies who can help you recover quickly from a disaster. Maintain communications with community leaders, public safety organizations (such as fire and police departments, and emergency medical services), government agencies, utility companies, and others.
Get Mobile App
Updated Version Coming Soon
OFB-EZ Mobile guides users through an easy process to create a recovery plan that will help even the smallest business recover and re-open quickly after a disaster. The app includes several helpful planning tools, such as evaluation checklists to help business users understand their risks, and forms for users to enter and store important contact information for employees, key customers, suppliers and vendors.
“Having a plan allows us to stay focused on our work, knowing that we already thought it through and can keep business going when something happens.”
“It creates peace of mind knowing we won’t be caught off guard and unprepared in the case of an emergency.”
Alison Bishop Head of People Operations Spry Health
What is OFB-EZ?
OFB-EZ is a free business continuity tool designed to help even the smallest businesses focus on planning for any type of business interruption, so they can quickly re-open and resume operations following a disaster.
The OFB-EZ tool helps small businesses take the steps they need to keep functioning in the event of a major disaster or a smaller disruption. The goal is to continue to perform your most critical operations, which will help reduce short- and long-term losses to your bottom line.
Additional benefits are that you will be contributing to your community’s resiliency by keeping your employees on the job and your goods and services available to your customers. The suggested planning exercises in the online tool are a great way to build teamwork, and make sure that all of your employees know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Who should use OFB-EZ?
OFB-EZ is designed for the small business owner.
How does OFB-EZ work?
Business owners can download the free OFB-EZ toolkit and create their own business continuity plan using ten modules. After completing the modules, business owners should make multiple copies of their plan and store them both at their business and in a safe, off-site location.
The OFB-EZ toolkit will enable small businesses to:
- Identify the business activities that are essential for continued operation during a disruption;
- Deal with risks faced by the organization; and
- Create an easy-to-use recovery plan tailored to the individual business, providing confidence if the worst occurs.
Multiple, fillable forms can be combined to create one complete document which can be:
- Printed and distributed to staff,
- Saved to your hard drive,
- Saved on a password-protected flash drive,
- Saved to the cloud,
- As well as many other options.
Do you need to know anything about creating a business continuity plan to use OFB-EZ?
No. This unique, easy-to-use tool does not require any previous experience with or knowledge of business continuity planning.
- Pingback: Business Continuity & Preparedness Resources – El Paso Trade
- Pingback: Maintaining business continuity with data archiving solutions - DIGISTOR
- Pingback: Business Continuity Planning And Wonderful Wednesday 330 - Startup And Small Business Consultancy | Coaching | Writerpreneurship | SMM | ThExtraordinariOnly
- Pingback: 3 Crucial Considerations for Increasing Business Security - WebDesy
- Pingback: Prepare Your Workplace during National Preparedness Month - SafeWorks Illinois
- Pingback: How to Survive Your First Recession (or Any Other Disaster) as a Freelance Copywriter – Digital Marketing Training Academy
- Pingback: A Message from ChampCohen - ChampCohen Design
- Pingback: Guarding Against Data Breaches | Iowa Insurance Institute
- Pingback: How to Survive Your First Recession (or Any Other Disaster) as a Freelance Copywriter – EasyWebTrafficForYou.com
Comments are closed.
- Privacy Overview
- Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
In most organizations, Disaster Recovery Planning is the quintessential complex, unfamiliar task. Disasters happen so rarely that recovery operations are the opposite of routine. What's more, the myriad interconnected data, application and other resources that must be recovered after a disaster make recovery an exceptionally difficult and error-prone effort. Even if you have never built a Disaster Recovery plan before, you can achieve great results.
All Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Planning efforts need to encompass how employees will communicate, where they will go and how they will keep doing their jobs. The details can vary greatly, depending on the size and scope of a company and the way it does business. For some businesses, issues such as supply chain logistics are most crucial and are the focus of the plan. For others, information technology may play a more pivotal role, and the Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan may have more of a focus on systems' recovery.
But the critical point is that neither element can be ignored, and physical, IT and human resources plans cannot be developed in isolation from each other. (In this regard, Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning have much in common with security convergence.) At its heart, Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning processes are about constant communication.
The Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is that tool which can be used as a Disaster Planning Template for any size of enterprise. The Disaster Planning Template and supporting material have been updated to be GDPR,CCPA, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA compliant. The template comes as both a Word document, a static fully indexed PDF document, and as an electronic book in .epub format. The Disaster Planning and Business Continuity Planning Template include:
- Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Template (WORD and PDF)
- Ransomware guidelines that meet all mandated compliance requirements
- Business and IT Impact Analysis Questionnaire
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Audit Program
- Pandemic Planning Checklist
- Vendor Partner DR/BC Questionnaire
- Full integrated IT Infrastructcure Policies
- Electronic Forms
Preparation for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity in light of mandated requirements has two primary parts. The first is putting systems in place to completely protect all financial and other data required to meet the reporting regulations and to archive the data to meet future requests for clarification of those reports. The second is to clearly and expressly document all these procedures so that in the event of a SOX audit, the auditors clearly see that the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan exists and appropriately protects the data and assets of the enterprise.
Key Topics Covered:
1. Plan Introduction
1.1 Recovery Life Cycle - After a "Major Event"
1.2 Mission and Objectives
1.3 Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Scope
1.6 Key Plan Assumptions
1.7 Disaster Definition
1.9 Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity and Security Basics
2. Business Impact Analysis
2.3 Analyze Threats
2.4 Critical Time Frame
2.5 Application System Impact Statements
2.6 Information Reporting
2.7 Best Data Practices
3. Backup Strategy
3.1 Site Strategy
3.2 Backup Best Practices
3.3 Data Capture and Backups
3.4 Communication Strategy
3.5 Enterprise Data Center Systems - Strategy
3.6 Departmental File Servers - Strategy
3.7 Wireless Network File Servers - Strategy
3.8 Data at Outsourced Sites (Including ISP's) - Strategy
3.9 Branch Offices (Remote Offices & Retail Locations) - Strategy
3.10 Desktop Workstations (In Office) - Strategy
3.11 Desktop Workstations (Off-Site Including At-Home Users) - Strategy
3.12 Laptops - Strategy
3.13 PDA's and Smartphones - Strategy
3.14 Byods - Strategy
3.15 IoT Devices - Strategy
4. Recovery Strategy
4.2 Escalation Plans
4.3 Decision Points
5. Disaster Recovery Organization
5.1 Recovery Team Organization Chart
5.2 Disaster Recovery Team
5.3 Recovery Team Responsibilities
5.3.1 Recovery Management
5.3.2 Damage Assessment and Salvage Team
5.3.3 Physical Security
5.3.5 Hardware Installation
5.3.6 Systems, Applications, and Network Software
6. Disaster Recovery Emergency Procedures
6.2 Recovery Management
6.3 Damage Assessment and Salvage
6.4 Physical Security
6.6 Hardware Installation
6.7 Systems, Applications & Network Software
7. Plan Administration
7.1 Disaster Recovery Manager
7.2 Distribution of the Disaster Recovery Plan
7.3 Maintenance of the Business Impact Analysis
7.4 Training of the Disaster Recovery Team
7.5 Testing of the Disaster Recovery Plan
7.6 Evaluation of the Disaster Recovery Plan Tests
7.7 Maintenance of the Disaster Recovery Plan
8. Appendix A - Listing of Attached Materials
9. Appendix B - Reference Materials
10. Change History
For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/qy9ym8
ResearchAndMarkets.com is the world's leading source for international market research reports and market data. We provide you with the latest data on international and regional markets, key industries, the top companies, new products and the latest trends.
ResearchAndMarkets.com Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager [email protected] For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900
ISO 22301 - Business continuity
Year of publication: 2019 | Edition: 1
A free publication about ISO 22301, Security and resilience – Business continuity management systems – Requirements , the International Standard for implementing and maintaining effective business continuity plans, systems and processes.
* Shipping costs will be charged
- ISO 22301:2019 Security and resilience Business continuity management systems Requirements
Buy this publication
This may also interest you.
Got a question?
Check out our FAQs
Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00 (UTC+1)
Keep up to date with ISO
Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news, views and product information.
- Publications and products
- ISO 22301 - Business continuity …
Business Continuity Testing Kit
By testing your organization's continuity plans, you will better prepare employees for potential interruptions and identify any gaps in your plan. In this kit, you'll find:
- The Ultimate Guide to Business Continuity Testing
- Business Continuity Testing Checklist
- How Testing Your BCP Identifies Gaps
- Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise template
- Information on Preparis Incident and Exercise Manager
Ready to create a culture of preparedness through exercising and testing? Contact us today .
Business Continuity Lessons Learned from COVID-19
The State of Business Continuity 2022
How to Put Your Business Continuity Plans into Action
Interested in all things continuity planning?
Sign up for our newsletter
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan that Works: A 5-Step Guide
Businesses rarely get advance notice when disaster strikes. Without a plan of action, an organization can struggle to recover, or worse, go out of business for good. The good news is that organizations can help protect themselves from the consequences of disaster by developing a business continuity plan (BCP). This type of plan will give you the best shot at success after an unanticipated event.
Follow this step-by-step guide to create a reliable plan that works. With a little creativity, dedication and planning, your organization will be on its way to a safer future in no time.
Topics Covered in this Guide
Click any of the following links to jump straight to the topic you’re looking for.
Business Continuity Planning 101
What is a business continuity plan?
What is an “emergency situation”?
What does a business continuity plan include?
Why do business continuity plans matter, 5 steps to building a business continuity plan.
Step 1: Form your business continuity management team
Step 2: Conduct a business impact analysis
Step 3: Identify resources needed with a GAP analysis
Step 4: Explore and implement recovery strategies
Step 5: Test results, present recommendations and make improvements
Business Continuity Planning 101: Your Questions, Answered
Before we begin, let’s look at the basics of business continuity planning. The following Q&A will help you gain a better understanding of this process and its importance.
A “ business continuity plan ” (BCP) is a process that outlines the potential impact of disaster situations, creates policies to respond to them and helps businesses recover quickly so they can function as usual. A BCP is generally created in advance of a disaster and involves the company’s key stakeholders. The main goal of a BCP is to protect personnel and assets, both during and after an emergency.
What is an “emergency situation” in regards to a business continuity plan?
An emergency situation is an event where business cannot proceed under normal circumstances. This could consist of a natural event, like a fire, flood or tornado, but could also consist of scenarios such as a power outage, bomb threat, compliance breach, intruder or active shooter , cyberattack, employee injury or a change in the chain of command. No matter the situation, businesses should review potential threats and devise a BCP to ensure that operations proceed should a threat become reality.
Business continuity plans are complex and differ from company to company. You’ll want to tailor your plan to your organization’s specific needs. Here are some general examples of what a BCP may include .
Business continuity plans are an important part of any business. Threats, disruptions and disasters can lead to a loss in revenue and higher costs, which in turn can affect profitability. Businesses can’t always rely on insurance alone, as insurance doesn’t always cover every cost associated with the incident.
A proactive plan can also benefit a business in these three ways :
- The business will feel more prepared to handle the unexpected.
- The business will have a plan to continue providing acceptable service after the disaster.
- The business will better preserve its corporate reputation, image and revenue stream.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes to create a response plan. If your organization does not yet have an effective business continuity plan, now is the time to create one. The effort involved is well worth your time and will give your company the best chance at survival after an unexpected event. Here are the five steps involved in establishing a basic business continuity plan for your organization .
Step 1: Form the business continuity management team.
Your organization’s business continuity team implements and executes the business continuity plan. The makeup of your team is dependent upon the size of your company and how you plan to roll out the program. At a minimum, your business continuity team should include a manager, assistant manager and administrative assistant from each department.
These individuals will prepare standards for the project, train additional team members and identify processes to make the project flow smoother.
If your organization is medium or large in size, you’ll want to include additional personnel on the team and disperse responsibilities accordingly. The following list contains individuals in your organization who may provide crucial insight to your business continuity plan:
Every organization is different, but in general, your business continuity team should have at least one representative from each department. This way, you’ll gain the greatest insight into your company’s risk management needs. Ensure your team consists of enough people to lay the groundwork for the project, coordinate training, build disaster plans and identify the focus of each segment of the plan.
Step 2: Conduct a business impact analysis.
Once your team is assembled, the second step of business continuity planning is understanding the operational, financial and physical risks to your company should a disruption occur. You can determine these types of risks through a “business impact analysis” (BIA).
At its core, an impact analysis helps organizations identify specific risks and threats to operations, financial performance, reputation, employees and supply chains. A BIA is a great starting point for risk identification and assessment .
Have your team brainstorm a list of risks and threats to your business. Use the following list of risk examples to aid your team in discussion.
Once you’ve created a list of potential risks to your organization, discuss how these risks could affect operations . For instance:
- What safeguards and procedures will your organization need to mitigate these risks?
- How will your organization test these procedures to ensure they work?
Business impact analyses are complex and typically require a comprehensive questionnaire to gather the information you’ll need. We’ve assembled a sample business impact analysis questionnaire , which will help you better identify critical business processes, interdependencies among stakeholders, supply chain dependencies, minimum time needed to recover operations and minimum staffing required to support business as usual.
Once you’ve received the completed questionnaire responses, review them and conduct follow-up interviews to validate information and fill any knowledge gaps.
Step 3: Identify resources needed with a gap analysis.
By now, your business continuity team has conducted an impact analysis, which identified and documented potential risks to your company in the wake of disaster. Your analysis may have revealed discrepancies between the resources you have and the resources you still need. This is where your team will want to conduct a “gap analysis.”
A gap analysis identifies a company’s recovery requirements versus its current resources. It also reveals recovery options and agreed-upon strategies.
You’ll also want to identify critical resources you’ll need to recover from a disruption to business . Resources are required to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations. They can come from within the business or be provided by third parties. Resources may include:
- Your employees
- Your office space and furniture
- Technology (including computers, communication equipment, software and data)
- Electronic and hard copy records
- Production facilities, machinery, equipment and physical assets
- Inventory (including raw materials, finished goods and goods in production)
- Utilities (including power, natural gas, water, sewer, telephone and internet)
- List of current vendors and suppliers
- Third-party service providers
It’s important to note that not all resources can be replaced immediately following a loss. Therefore, your business continuity team will want to identify any resources you’ll rely on within minutes, hours, days and weeks following an incident. After your gap analysis in concluded, you’ll be ready to explore and implement recovery strategies.
Step 4: Explore and implement recovery strategies.
Knowing risks to your organization is important, but knowing how to react and recover is essential to bouncing back after an unanticipated event. Step four of business continuity planning does just this; it identifies recovery strategies for your business and describes how to implement them.
Once your business is impacted and financial losses begin to grow, it can be difficult to recover without a plan. To illustrate, discuss the following question samples with your team:
- If our facility or its equipment becomes damaged, how will we continue to meet the demand for products or services?
- Do we have a way to get HR, manufacturing, sales and support personnel up and running after a disaster so we can continue making money?
- If our facilities are impacted by a natural disaster, will employees work from home or at an alternate location?
Concerns such as these will be addressed in your business continuity plan. For each disaster scenario compiled in your business impact analysis, discuss any questions and concerns you may have regarding the circumstance. Document decisions in a flexible, circulating document.
Next, you’ll want to identify crucial partnerships, third parties and vendors involved in a disaster situation. Businesses rely on a wide variety of vendors to get the job done and help their facilities run more efficiently. They may collaborate with preferred contractors, inspectors, architects, plumbers, electricians, painters, mechanics, cleaning services and cleaning supply companies, all of whom may come in handy should damage occur to property. Your BCP should list applicable contact names, numbers and sets of information so they are easily accessible in an emergency. Read more on vendor management best practices here.
Finally, you’ll want to take the time to discuss emergency response planning . Does your organization have an emergency response team? Who will serve on this team? How will responsibilities be allocated amongst team members?
Emergency response teams serve many purposes. They facilitate safety and security in an organization, but also collaborate with local emergency personnel to ensure they have up-to-date floor plans of facilities. Floor plans are crucial in an emergency, as they provide accurate egress plans in case of a fire, medical emergency, active shooter or another crisis. If you don’t have a documented emergency response team, download the “ Emergency Response Planning Checklist ”.
Did you know?
Accurate floor plans and building data are crucial elements of business continuity planning. This information must be shared with local emergency personnel so they know how (and where) to access your building during a crisis. The good news is that a data collection service and location-based space and asset mapping software work in tandem to deliver the following.
- Verify, update and digitize your existing facility floor plans
- Recreate your facility’s floor plans if none are available
- Collect room names, room numbers, room types, floor types and number of exterior doors per room
- Record square footage of each room
- Locate all electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and fire and life safety equipment within a room
- Take a photo of asset name plates
- Record asset make, model, manufacturer and serial number
- Associate pertinent information to a single asset such as emergency shutdown procedures and O&M manuals
- Collect and manage data for any new assets that are purchased or placed into service
A data collection contractor will expedite the implementation process by using cutting-edge technology to ensure accuracy and efficiency. The final deliverable is up-to-date floor plans, a cloud-based record of assets and an electronic documentation repository for O&M manuals, vendor information and historical work orders. Click here to learn more about the power of facility management software in business continuity planning.
Step 5: Test results, present recommendations and make improvements.
A business continuity plan is never truly finished, since an organization’s risks and requirements are never set in stone. Rather, they change and adapt as the business grows. It’s always a good idea to test your business continuity plan to make sure it is effective, observe results and make recommendations for improvement. Here are a few ways to audit your business continuity plan.
- Assess your organization’s current policies, processes and procedures. Has anything changed since the plan was written? Does the plan reflect these changes? If not, make appropriate updates to the plan.
- Document any new gaps discovered. Are there any additional resources your team needs to mitigate risk? Discuss these needs with leadership.
- Formulate recommendations to improve. Bring these recommendations to the team, then brainstorm the pros and cons associated with each recommendation.
- Conduct training and awareness programs for stakeholders. Your business continuity team will require continuous training to stay up-to-date on the latest protocols. You may also want to host corporate awareness programs, orientation exercises, emergency responder training or emergency communication exercises.
- Conduct testing and document results. Do so through functional and technical practice training, program testing and business continuity audit processes. Note strengths and deficiencies of the plan.
Get Started: Here’s a Free Business Continuity Plan Outline
The subject of business continuity is expansive. With so many resources available on the internet, it can be difficult to know where to start. AkitaBox makes it easy; we’ve assembled a sample Business Continuity Plan Outline to get you started on the right foot. This outline will give you a better understanding of what information you should include in your business continuity plan, as well as what order you should follow.
You may also want to read about the benefits of facility management software for business continuity management. Start by reading the top nine features the best facility management software options have . You’ll learn more about location-based space and asset mapping, document storage, work order association, preventive maintenance planning and more.
Former marketing content copywriter for AkitaBox.
What Others Are Reading
Assessment software comparison: akitabox vs. paragon, 4 ways to reduce building maintenance and operations costs, understanding value: why cheaper isn’t always better for facility software, ai insights: why the facilities industry needs to give a damn about ai, 5 ways to make your building more environmentally friendly, improving data visualization in facility assessments, subscribe to the akitabox blog, be the first to receive the latest in facility management information, trends, and thought leadership.
- Request a Demo
- Request a Quote
- AkitaBox Capture The ultimate facilities data collection tool
- AkitaBox FCA Fully digital, streamlined facility condition assessment capture
- AkitaBox Platform Asset and maintenance management plus occupant portal
- AkitaBox Capital Management Asset condition and failure probability tracking
- AkitaBox Inspections Easy-to-use inspection software for improved compliance
- AkitaBox Connect AkitaBox-Procore integration for seamless construction handover
- Architecture, Engineering, & Construction
- Higher Education
- K-12 Education
- Commercial Real Estate
- About AkitaBox
- Why AkitaBox
- Onboarding & Support
- Frequently Asked Questions
- AkitaBox Partner Program
- Emergency Planning
Business Continuity Plan
Unlike the comprehensive emergency operations plan, which describes the way the University will respond to an incident on campus that impacts our normal operations; the business continuity plan provides information and guidance on how to restore critical operations following a significant campus incident. As good stewards of Loyola’s mission, departments need to be ready to meet the challenges of any disruption by evaluating, mitigating, and planning their specific responses to a variety of possible scenarios. This preparation is known as business continuity planning.
SharePoint is a web-based tool adopted by the University that is used to store each department’s business continuity plan. This program will store disaster recovery information and materials that can be accessed quickly in order to return to normal operations as soon as possible during and after an emergency.
All campus departments are required to have a completed business continuity plan. Plans must be uploaded to the SharePoint site (access restricted to BCP managers).
To assist offices with their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) development, we have created several resources to help.
- Business Continuity Planning – FAQ – this guide contains a list of frequently asked questions to help your department develop a business continuity plan
- Business Continuity Plan Template – this is a template that will allow you to organize information so that you can input it into your department folder within SharePoint
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has training available on Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations planning:
- IS-546.a Continuity of Operations Awareness Course
- IS-547.a Introduction to Continuity of Operations
If you have questions or need information on how to create your BCP or upload it to SharePoint, please contact Tom Hettleman in Environmental Health & Safety at extension 1120 or [email protected] .
- Emergency Information (Current Alerts)
- Hazard Information
- Greyhound Alerts
- Employee Emergency Reference Guide
- Emergency Evacuation
- Evacuation for Persons with Disabilities
- Shelter in Place
- Parent Information
- Personal Emergency Kit
- Public Safety
- Environmental Health and Safety
- Submit a Work Order
What Is A Business Continuity Plan? [+ Template & Examples]
Published: December 30, 2022
When a business crisis occurs, the last thing you want to do is panic.
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.
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.
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.
8. Test the plan for gaps.
Of course, you should immediately test your plan.
Start with communicating with those that play a critical role in your continuity plan. After they know what their involvement is in the plan, conduct a mock recovery test and put the plan into action. Make note of any gaps that arise during this process.
9. Revise based on your findings.
After testing is complete, correct any flaws you've uncovered throughout the process.
Continue testing and implementing changes until you're satisfied with the outcomes. However, it is important to be aware that business changes will likely require updating the plans you have. Given this, it's important to keep testing your plan to ensure it's up to date with your business needs, and you're properly prepared for any type of crisis.
Now that you've learned everything there is to know about business continuity plans, use the following template to start creating one for your organization.
How often should a business continuity plan be tested?
Your business continuity plan should be reviewed at least twice per year. You should review the plan and test it to make sure it's up-to-date with your current business processes. The larger your organization is, the more complex your systems are going to be, meaning you'll want to review your business continuity plan more frequently to ensure there aren't any gaps.
As you add new systems, departments, leaders, and technology to your business, make it a part of your standard operating procedure to update the business continuity plan as well so that all the bases are covered.
The following schedule is recommended to maximize the reliability and validity of your plan, while also minimizing the amount of time you're putting into plan review.
1. Review your checklist twice a year.
Your teams should review the elements of your business continuity plan bi-annually to make sure all the responses still apply to your current status. In addition, you'll use this opportunity to ensure that each response aligns with your desired business goals.
2. Conduct emergency drills once a year.
Just like schools have fire drills, your organization should have emergency drills to prepare your staff for the steps that are laid out in your business continuity plan. This will also help when a real crisis occurs because they will have practiced the steps before.
3. Hold tabletop reviews every other year.
All stakeholders that are involved in your business continuity plan should meet every other year to discuss it. The review doesn't need to take too much time and doesn't require physically running through the steps, but it can help you uncover red flags that may otherwise go unnoticed without testing.
4. Conduct a comprehensive review every other year.
Unlike the tabletop review, the comprehensive review takes a deep dive into the plan. It should look closely at cost-benefit analyses as well as recovery procedures to ensure everything is up-to-date with current business operations.
5. Mock recovery test, every two to three years.
This is an in-depth test in which your continuity plan is put into motion to test for any weaknesses or mishaps. Since this test is time-consuming, it shouldn't occur frequently, but it will ensure all internal stakeholders are confident in the plan.
No matter what type of business you are operating, you need to be constantly considering the possible threat of a crisis. If you want to be able to effectively manage them, then it's essential that you have a business continuity plan in place to tackle difficult or unexpected situations.
Let's go over some examples of scenarios that would require a business continuity plan that will help you understand why your business needs one.
Business Continuity Plan Examples
1. business continuity plan example for external product outage.
Don't forget to share this post!
Social Media Crisis Management: Your Complete Guide [Free Template]
De-Escalation Techniques: 19 Best Ways to De-Escalate [Top Tips + Data]
Situational Crisis Communication Theory and How It Helps a Business
What Southwest’s Travel Disruption Taught Us About Customer Service
Showcasing Your Crisis Management Skills on Your Resume
What Is Contingency Planning? [+ Examples]
What Is Reputational Risk? [+ Real Life Examples]
10 Crisis Communication Plan Examples (and How to Write Your Own)
Top Tips for Working in a Call Center (According to Customer Service Reps)
Top 5 Crisis Management Skills for Business Leaders (& How to Apply Them)
Manage, plan for, and communicate during a corporate crisis.
100% Free CRM
Nurture and grow your business with customer relationship management software.
Free Business Continuity Plan Templates
By Andy Marker | October 23, 2018
In this article, you’ll find the most useful free, downloadable business continuity plan (BCP) templates, in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats. Customize the templates to fit the needs of your business, ensuring you maintain critical operations at all times.
Included on this page, you’ll find a business continuity plan template , a small business continuity plan template , a business continuity framework template , and more.
Business Continuity Plan Template
Download Business Continuity Plan Template
Word | PowerPoint | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this template to document and track your business operations in the event of a disruption or disaster to maintain critical processes. With space to record business function recovery priorities, recovery plans, and alternate site locations, this template allows you to plan efficiently for disruption and minimize downtime, so your business maintains optimal efficiency. This template is available for download in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats.
Additionally, you can learn the definition of a business continuity plan, the steps involved in business continuity planning, as well as about the business continuity lifecycle in our article about business continuity planning .
See how Smartsheet can help you be more effective
Watch the demo to see how you can more effectively manage your team, projects, and processes with real-time work management in Smartsheet.
Watch a free demo
IT Service Continuity Plan Template
Download IT Service Continuity Plan Template
This template is geared specifically to IT business operations and aims to maintain IT processes despite any possible harmful disruption. Use this template to document recovery objectives, teams, and strategies in order to accurately capture all facets of the continuity plan needed for an IT team. This template is available in both Word and PDF formats.
Business Continuity Framework Template
Download Business Continuity Framework Template
Word | PowerPoint | PDF
This template outlines the structure involved in creating a business continuity plan. It provides an easy, comprehensive way to detail the steps that will comprise your unique BCP. Use this template to plan each phase of a typical BCP, including the business impact analysis, recovery strategies, and plan development. This template can serve as an overall framework for your larger BCP plan.
Business Continuity Program Template
Download Business Continuity Program Template
Similar to the business continuity plan template, this template documents the steps involved in maintaining normal business operations during an unplanned disruption or disaster. Using this template, you can plan out the critical elements needed to continue business as usual, including recovery priorities, backup and restoration plans, and alternate site locations. This template is available for download in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats.
Business Continuity Procedure Template
Download Business Continuity Procedure Template
Much like the business continuity framework template, this template helps users create a thorough, streamlined BCP by detailing the procedure involved in creating and maintaining a plan, as well as implementing one. Use this template to document everything from a business impact analysis to plan development, plan testing, and exercises. Download this template in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or PDF to get started.
Business Continuity Plan Template for Nonprofits
Download Business Continuity Plan Template for Nonprofits
In the event of a disruption in business that affects your nonprofit organization, use this template to document a business recovery strategy, identify alternate business locations, and effectively plan for inevitable business downtime. This template is available for download in Microsoft Word and PDF formats.
School Business Continuity Plan Template
Download School Business Continuity Plan Template
Plan for disruptions in regular school activities and operations in the event of emergency or crisis with this helpful template. This template, designed with schools, colleges, and universities in mind, allows you to prioritize operations and responses, identify important phases of recovery, design a restoration plan, and more.
Small Business Continuity Plan Template
Download Small Business Continuity Plan Template
Record your business recovery priorities, identify alternate site locations to conduct business, create recovery teams, and assign recovery responsibilities to specific team members with this continuity plan for small businesses. Ensure that you are able to maintain critical processes and minimize downtime so your business can keep moving forward.
SaaS Business Continuity Plan Template
Download SaaS Business Continuity Plan Template
Use this business continuity plan template to keep your SaaS business productive and efficient, despite any unforeseen events or disruptions. With space to record everything from recovery procedures and strategies to relocation strategies and alternate site locations, you’ll be able to keep business moving and remain productive during a crisis or disruption.
Business Continuity Plan Template for Medical Practices
Download Business Continuity Plan Template for Medical Practices
Identify risk strategies for specific areas of business, like clinical, finance and operations, and IT, designate specific recovery strategies, and prioritize the most important, mission-critical operations for your medical practice with this complete business continuity plan template.
Business Continuity Plan Template for Healthcare Organizations
Download Business Continuity Plan Template for Healthcare Organizations
Some businesses, like healthcare organizations, rely on critical processes and procedures to maintain productivity and keep both patients and staff safe. To ensure these processes are followed — even during a business disruption — use this business continuity plan template to identify all potential risks, create mitigation plans, and assign tasks to key team members.
Activities to Complete Before Writing the Business Continuity Plan
Certain steps can help you prepare to write a business continuity plan. See our article on how to write a business continuity plan to learn more.
Common Structure of a Business Continuity Plan
Every business continuity plan should include certain common elements. See our article on how to write a business continuity plan to learn more.
Tips For Writing Your Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity experts have gathered time-tested tips for business continuity planning. See our article on how to write a business continuity plan to learn more.
Make Better Decisions, Faster with Smartsheet Dashboards
Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change.
The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- 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.
Pete Rathburn is a copy editor and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance and over twenty years of experience in the classroom.
Investopedia / Ryan Oakley
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.
- 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 IT 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 identified and 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. Accessed Sept. 5, 2021.
How to Start a Business
Government & Policy
- Terms of Service
- Editorial Policy
- Your Privacy Choices
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Everything that you need to know to start your own business. From business ideas to researching the competition.
Practical and real-world advice on how to run your business — from managing employees to keeping the books.
Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it.
Entrepreneurs and industry leaders share their best advice on how to take your company to the next level.
- Business Ideas
- Human Resources
- Business Financing
- Growth Studio
- Ask the Board
Looking for your local chamber?
Interested in partnering with us?
Start » strategy, business continuity : how to make your small business more resilient by planning ahead.
Can your company operate under challenging circumstances? Establish a business continuity plan, so you know the answer is yes.
Business disruption costs your company money. It can result in lost revenues and extra expenses. The worst part is that potential threats can come anytime and anywhere. A natural disaster or sudden illness can leave your company without a leader, supplier, or office space. A business continuity plan (BCP) ensures your organization can function during a crisis.
In 2020, more than 50% of companies worldwide didn’t have a business continuity plan. While many have since implemented one, others lag behind. Learn what a BCP is, how it benefits your company, and how to start.
What is a business continuity plan, and who needs one?
A business continuity plan is a written document that outlines the steps your organization takes during an emergency. On a basic level, your BCP explains who handles essential business operations and highlights time-sensitive tasks. You assign each person a role and describe operational processes so that you can fill empty positions with another team member or new employee as needed. It should be updated regularly and accessible to all staff in digital and paper forms.
All companies benefit from having a business continuity plan, even solo entities. After all, if you are a solopreneur, who will communicate with your clients if you can’t? Also, corporations in some industries must create a BCP. For instance, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires member firms to keep plans according to Rule 4370 .
[ Read more: 5 Types of Organizational Structures for Small Business ]
Core components of business continuity plans
Although business continuity plans vary according to industry and company size, most include similar sections. A solopreneur without employees will have a less extensive guide than an entrepreneur with multiple locations and a large staff.
Your business continuity plan may include the following:
- A list of roles and responsibilities.
- Communication protocols for staff, vendors, and customers.
- An outline of critical functions like payroll and revenue operations.
- Your strategy for assessing risks, testing your plan, and updating it.
Assessing threats and having an actionable plan gives your company a competitive edge.
Business continuity vs. disaster recovery
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) helps your company move forward after an incident. It’s focused on returning to business as normal. In contrast, a business continuity plan prioritizes keeping your store open and running regardless of the circumstances. A DRP is often part of a more extensive business continuity plan; alternatively, it can be a stand-alone document. The key to creating a resilient business is having both strategies in place.
[ Read more: How to Write an Emergency Preparedness Plan ]
How small businesses benefit from having a BCP
Assessing threats and having an actionable plan gives your company a competitive edge. It ensures that you’re prepared to handle anything that comes your way while reassuring your customers, employees, and suppliers that your business will remain open during trying times.
Here are a few ways business continuity planning benefits your company:
- Increases organizational awareness: Going through the planning process can alert you to insurance issues, unknown risks, or supply chain concerns . It also encourages your staff to take their roles seriously and understand what’s expected of them.
- Reduces financial risks: Having strategies to resolve employee, supply chain, or location problems can decrease downtime, allowing you to continue to generate revenue during an emergency.
- Prevents customer dissatisfaction: Communication issues and business disruption can lead to clients turning to your competitors. Remaining operational means you can fully support customers in their time of need.
- Improves employee relations: Instability can lower worker retention rates. A BCP shows your staff how and when you will communicate during a crisis. Also, you can engage them during the process to demonstrate their importance to your small business.
Getting started: BCP tips and resources
Ready.gov provides top-notch resources to help you throughout the business continuity planning process. Along with guides and templates, you can view training and testing information or learn how to complete a risk assessment.
Check out free business continuity plan templates from the following agencies:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.
CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here .
Interested in a small business membership?
Find out how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can help your company grow and thrive in today's rapidly-evolving business environment. Connect with our team to learn how a small business membership can benefit your bottom line and help you achieve your goals.
Subscribe to our newsletter, Midnight Oil
Expert business advice, news, and trends, delivered weekly
For more business strategies
How to outsource everything: a guide for overwhelmed small business owners, the secret to long-term business success sometimes it's throwing your business plan away, 9 top resources for veteran-owned businesses.
Welcome to CO—
Designed for business owners, CO— is a site that connects like minds and delivers actionable insights for next-level growth.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062
Looking for local chamber, stay in touch.
Free Business Continuity Planning Kits
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is best described as the planning and preparation that will keep your business afloat during any operational emergency. Business owners need to plan for the threats and risks their company faces, and implement safeguards to protect the business in case of disaster.
Registered members have access to a free Business Continuity Planning (BCP) kit, ebooks and webinars created with our partner Inoni and, for more complicated cases, we provide a BCP service at a special discounted rate.
Although you know the risks (flooding, cyber-attack, terrorism to name a few), the effects these have on you are often unique to your business. There is no standard response. Your business is complex with many highly interconnected and synchronised components known only to you, so rebuilding it (whilst continuing to operate) is rarely easy or straightforward, even with help.
- Business Continuity Planning helps your business survive a major disruptive event
- Insurance doesn’t cover all aspects of Business Continuity risk, since it can’t cover any issues arising from a slow response
- Build timescales to ensure your IT gets back on track as quickly as possible in case of major disruption
- Coordinate emergency response with your business recovery at the same time in case of a dangerous event such as fire or flood
- In case of damage or destruction to infrastructure, your facilities managers will have a plan in place to either relocate or rebuild quickly
- Finally, getting up and running again soon after an sends a powerful messages to your customers, reassuring them that they will never be left uncertain or under-supplied if the business suffers disruption
Why is this useful?
Any business could face an unexpected, significant event that has the potential to put them out of business. By putting together a plan you are ensuring that should the worst happen, you know exactly who is responsible for what and there is no panic as to how you will cope.
Putting together a plan can seem daunting, but this kit helps to break it into manageable chunks and, if you are feeling overwhelmed, Inoni are offering exclusive discounts on BCP software and services to guide you through the process and make it even simpler.
Read about how we implemented our Business Continuity Plan when our offices flooded.